Nevis’ Collin Huckbody is one step away from fulfilling a lifetime dream.

Huckbody was selected to compete in the Dana White Contender Series, an American mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion used to scout talent for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Huckbody will battle Kyron Bowen in a middleweight (185 pounds) fight at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Aug. 25. All five bouts that night will be televised on ESPN+.

Winners in this fourth season of the Contender Series are eligible to sign contracts with the UFC, which is the largest MMA promotion company in the world and features some of the highest-level fighters in the sport on its roster. In the previous three seasons of this 10-week series of televised fights, 80 winners were signed to UFC contracts.

The 25-year-old Huckbody became a professional MMA fighter in March of 2017 and has a 7-2 record, winning his last four fights. Five of those victories were by submission with his only losses to current UFC middleweight Bevon Lewis and Legacy Fighting Alliance veteran J.P. Saint Louis. Huckbody is currently ranked No. 1 in Minnesota and is the North Star Combat middleweight champion. Bowen will enter this battle with a 9-4 record and seven-fight winning streak. Bowen is currently ranked No. 1 in Arkansas and is the MMAX FC welterweight champion. Huckbody and Bowen are two of 18 middleweights competing in the series.

In only three years, Huckbody has quickly climbed up the MMA ladder.

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“I’ve wrestled since the age of 4 and took my first MMA fight right when I graduated high school, so I’ve been consistently fighting two or three times a year for seven years now,” said Huckbody. “I have one of the best management teams (Iridium Sports Agency) in the fight game. With my credentials, I had what the UFC was looking for.”

Huckbody isn’t taking this opportunity lightly. He trained with the best in New Mexico and Minnesota in preparation for this fight.

“I sought out the best training partners and coaches available. I flew out to the legendary Jackson Wink MMA gym for three weeks in Albuquerque. I stayed in the fighter dorms training two to three times a day and was coached by Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljon,” said Huckbody. “Then I did the other half of my training camp in Minnesota under my head jiu jitsu coach Brock Larson, who has played a big role in my success.”

Bowen will prevent a tough challenge for Huckbody as one of these fighters will see a winning streak end and a potential UFC contract delayed.

“He’s on a seven-fight win streak, holds a belt on the regional scene, is ranked No. 1 in Arkansas and is somewhat of a crafty striker,” said Huckbody. “I plan to go in and put heavy pressure on him from bell to bell until he breaks. I’m planning a one-sided beatdown with me swinging the hammer, however I will be ready to face any adversity needed to get the win.”

A win against Bowen in this scheduled match consisting of three five-minute rounds could give Huckbody a spot on the national MMA scene with a contract fighting in the globally popular multi-billion-dollar UFC enterprise. The UFC has awarded eight contracts out of 10 winners in the first two weeks of this season’s Contender Series.

“I’ve always felt I had the tools to get to the next level, but I had to meet my vision halfway by surrounding myself with the best coaches and training partners possible to make that a reality,” said Huckbody. “It would be a huge step in my life being able to make a living fighting for the UFC and have a platform to do good in the world for the good of all. I just want to thank anyone who has ever believed in me on this wild journey that is fighting. So many times people have asked me when I was going to give up, but I stuck with it and continued to grind. Now here I am.”