An undefeated amateur cage fighter who learned his skills in Huddersfield is preparing for one of his biggest fights.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter George Smith, 22, will take on Justin Burlinson at Halifax’s North Bridge Leisure Centre on Saturday for the vacant FSC European Middleweight Championship.
George, who has trained at gyms in Lockwood and Slaithwaite, has a background in judo, having taken it up aged five before going on to compete nationally.
His opponent on Saturday is the United Kingdom’s number 1 ranked amateur middleweight.
George now trains at SBG in Manchester, part of the MMA academy which is home to cage fighting legend Conor McGregor.
A year ago George switched from judo to mixed martial arts, a combat sport in which competitors can kick, punch and grapple their way to victory, often by a submission or by knockout.
After victories in his first six fights – and no losses – George has picked up many supporters across Huddersfield as well as sponsorship from local businesses, including local firms Cooper-Close Electrical Contractors and Westgate Barbers, Huddersfield.
The former British junior judo champion is now determined to make a name for himself as a cage fighter.
He’s training seven days a week in Manchester to prepare for Saturday’s fight.
“I’m fighting a guy who has won 13 and lost 1. My record is six wins and no losses. I am trying to get bigger and bigger fights and then turn pro.”
George, from Shelf, near Halifax, is being supported by mum and dad Andy and Louise Smith and sister Annie, 24. Dozens of his friends and supporters will be watching this weekend’s fight.
Modest and softly spoken, he is not your stereotypical cage fighter; there are no tattoos and his nose isn’t flat.
And ahead of fights he remains calm and composed.
“I don’t get intimidated or scared.
“If I perform I know I can win. My opponent is just a person with two arms and two legs.”
“I am a nice person but I do have a ruthless streak which I use to finish fights.”
Outside of the cage, he doesn’t look or act like a fighter and doesn’t have the ego that some fighters are known for.
“I hate any kind of confrontation and I never liked street fighting. I don’t have tattoos and I don’t go drinking.”
He weighs around 83 kilos (about 13 stones) and is 6ft 3in tall with long limbs which he see as one of his biggest assets.
If his skills are the result of genetics, he puts it down to his late granddad, Donald Fish.
“He did boxing and judo and was a fighting man. He died a few years ago on May 20 - the day of this weekend’s fight. He would be proud of me.”