Cage Warriors 94 takes place this coming weekend (June 16th) from the Lotto Arena in Antwerp, Belgium with newcomer Jai Herbert stepping on to foreign soil when he makes his promotional debut.
Herbert is 5-1 as a professional having made his last four appearances under the BAMMA banner going 3-1 in the process. His sole loss came to upcoming BAMMA lightweight title challenger Rhys McKee back in 2016. Herbert will take on Netherlands’ Edri Karatas (9-4) who has made his last four appearances on Belgium’s regional circuit.
I caught up with Jai Herbert ahead of his Cage Warriors debut to get his views on the fight and what he has planned going forward.
“I’m excited to fight on Cage Warriors! It’s one of the best promotions and platforms in Europe. I’m looking to make a big statement in the lightweight division this year” Herbert told me when I asked how he felt about signing for the promotion.
Herbert has set up camp in Birmingham with Team Renegade who are currently producing some of Europe’s best MMA talent. He is happy with his preparations and how camp has gone leading up to the fight.
“Fight camp has gone fantastic. As you know I am now fighting out of Renegade and I’ve had some world class sparring/training partners for this camp which has really pushed me to another level. I’m feeling physically in the best shape I’ve been…my weight is on point, feeling ready to go”.
I asked Jai what the recipe was that made Renegade such a popular and successful base for UK talent at the moment.
“Renegade has got top-level coaches headed by Tom Breese who currently fights in the UFC. The team has some of the top fighters in the UK meaning we have a good mix of training and sparring partners at a really high level. It’s a professional, hard-working atmosphere and there are people to look up to and motivate you there”.
Herbert’s opponent, Erdi Karatas, is currently riding a 4 fight win streak with 3 of those wins coming inside the distance, and with all 5 of his own wins coming by stoppage, he is expecting an entertaining affair when the two come to blows despite not knowing a great deal about his opponent.
“(I have) just seen his record, seen a few of his fights to get a feel for his style but that is it really”.
“I see it being an exciting fight” Herbert stated. “My opponent is a tough guy but I see my skill and fitness taking over and me ending the fight in the second round”.
I asked if there was a name in mind if Herbert gets his hand raised this weekend, and despite refusing to look passed his opponent, he will be keeping an eye out for the result of the lightweight title fight between Paddy Pimblett and Soren Bak in Liverpool in September
“I’m not looking past this weekend. I like to stay 100% focused on each fight, but obviously, I’ll have my eye closely on the lightweight title fight coming up”.
Cage Warriors has been a fantastic launch pad to a career in the UFC over the last few years and with that in mind, Herbert laid out his career plans and where he sees himself in the next 2 years.
“In 2 years time, I see myself with the Cage Warriors title and in the UFC!”.
In doing so, Herbert would join the likes of Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy, Conor McGregor and more recently Nathaniel Wood in making the switch to MMA’s premier organisation and despite insisting he is taking things one step at a time, it is clear that Jai Herbert knows what he wants and is fully focused on the task at hand.
Cage Warriors goes down on Saturday, June 16th from the Lotto Arena in Belgium.