Taking the ZT Heavyweight Tournament prize, Rob Broughton has cemented his place as the UK’s best fighter. Earning an impressive submission win over UFC veteran Neil Wain in the second round, Broughton then went on to face James Thompson in the semi-final bracket.
Having faced Thompson before, ground and pounding the Pride FC veteran into defeat in the third round, Broughton this time scored a big KO victory over his opponent to progress to the finals of the Tournament. Joe Vedepo, a late replacement for the injured Martin Thompson, had made it through to the finals as well with a quick submission win over Miguel Bernad and a TKO victory in the semi-finals. However, the American had sustained an injury in his bout with Oli Thompson, who was then given the chance to come back into the tournament and face Broughton.
“My hands were a bit sore going against Oli,” explained Broughton, adding, “There is always room for improvement. You can always do better. It was the toughest, hardest thing I have done in my life but I am happy.”
Defeating two top tier domestic fighters plus one of the fastest rising talents in the UK in one night is no mean feat. However, whilst the prize money eased some of Broughton’s efforts, he has had to sacrifice a lot to get himself into the shape he needed to win so convincingly. His job has had to be put to one side and the training he has undertaken at the Wolfslair has introduced him to a whole new level of effort.
“The training at the Wolfslair is totally new to me. It is a different world but I have found my feet and I am really happy,” Broughton says. “I am looking to drop some more weight as well. I have been talking to the guys at the camp and I want to come out faster. I felt great during the tournament so I want to keep that going.”
Whilst the wins over James Thompson and Neil Wain have solidified Broughton’s place as the best heavyweight, it gave him a chance to show his well rounded skills and impressive cardio. “People said the first time I beat James was a fluke but I took that fight on a week's notice. James has definitely improved from the first time but I proved I was better.”
However, Broughton’s thoughts on Neil Grove are less generous.
“This was a competition to found out who is the best. Why not come and prove it then? I beat Grove before and I’d have beaten him again.”
Broughton’s next thoughts now though are not directed towards domestic fights. He is in talks with his management with hopes to take his destructive brand of submission prowess and heavy handed striking to international promotions. Hoping that the UFC or Strikeforce have been paying attention to Broughton’s big run of victories, he is upbeat as he helps Michael Bisping prepare for his UFC 110 encounter. “I’ve got my fingers crossed that some-one has taken notice.”