Belfast's Joe McColgan will fight for the vacant Cage Warriors lightweight World title next week in England.
McColgan will take on Wales' unbeaten 155er' Mason Jones at London's Indigo at the O2 for Europe's most coveted MMA title.
Both lightweight contenders were left without opponents after Rafael Macedo and Danilo Belluardo both withdrew from the card earlier this week due to injury.
Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan confirmed on Friday afternoon that both will throw down for the promotions lightweight strap.
YOU COULDN'T WRITE IT.
With both of their previous opponents withdrawing from #CWLONDON at late notice, Mason Jones (8-0) and Joe McColgan (6-2) will instead face off for the Lightweight Title recently vacated by Jai Herbert.
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) March 13, 2020
Due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak, McColgan isn't sure the fight card will go ahead but says his sole focus is on Mason Jones and making the 155lbs weight-limit for the bout.
McColgan spoke with Off The Ball's Niall McGrath earlier this morning to speak about the fight set for Cage Warriors 113.
"In terms of the Coronavirus, that's something that's outside of my control. When you look at all the other countries around the world, everywhere is going into lockdown.
"MMA events are being cancelled but there are two that seem to be remaining; two main sporting events that seem to be going ahead, that's UFC and Cage Warriors. Everything else seems to be shutting down.
"And you're even hearing on the news that they are talking about putting bans on multiple events, so there is uncertainty around the event if it goes ahead, or if it goes ahead it might be behind closed doors but as I said, that's a massive unknown and completely outside anyone's control, so I'm focusing on the fight, the task at hand, the things that I can control - and that's my mentality towards the fight and my weight-cut," added McColgan.
Fight Academy Ireland's McColgan says the CWFC World title is something he's dreamed about since he signed for the Irish-owned promotion back in 2017.
McColgan says he has nothing but respect for Jones and is excited to take out one of the top fighters in Europe. He believes the matchup will be one of the best in promotional history.
"I've always said that he's the #1 contender. He's on a tear at the moment, he's taking out good fighters. I'm so glad it's him because if you go in and take that world title against him then that proves that you are the best; that proves that you're the best guy in Europe - and that's exactly what I'm out to do.
"Ever since I got into the sport I've been after the top guys. I haven't shied away from the top fighters, and this is no exception. I'm coming out and I'm going in for the kill, this is going to be a war for the ages,' said "Fat Joe".
He believes years of hard work are paying off, and that he'll soon be on his way to the UFC after he beats Jones for the vacant title.
"It's been 10 years of hard work, and now I feel as though I'm getting what I deserve. From day one, the minute I set foot in Cage Warriors, the minute I signed that contract, I've been calling for the World title. Even when I'd only two fight under my belt I was calling for the likes of Chris Fishgold.
"This is everything I've worked towards for the past ten years, every ounce of blood, sweat and tears I've put into this"@JoeMcColgan_ aiming for UFC Dublin card with @CageWarriors lightweight title win next week against Mason Jones
📻⬇️ ( @niallmcgrath4) #UFC #CW113 pic.twitter.com/byDufxTUqt
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) March 14, 2020
Jai Herbert was the former champion but had to vacate the belt after signing for the UFC earlier this year. Herbert is scheduled to face Mark Diakiese at UFC London next week.
McColgan says there's only one place he'll be going after he wins the CWFC title, and that is the UFC.
"I think when anyone gets the Cage Warriors World title it's obvious where they are going. They are destined for the UFC."
The Queen's University Belfast graduate says it would be a no-brainer for the UFC to offer him a contract on their return to Dublin in August but says that's not even in his thoughts until after he wins the vacant gold.
"I think in my instance, and the whole situation with the UFC coming to Dublin - when I get that belt there's no doubt in my mind that my next fight will be in the UFC. I don't think I'll even need to defend it and that's on the basis that all my fights are exciting fights.
"Fat Joe" was involved in one of the best fights in Cage Warriors history against Medhi Ben-Lakhtar, a fight that was voted CWFC fight of the year for 2019.
He believes his record in exciting fights and willingness to fight anybody on the roster will be an advantage if UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard come looking to acquire his services.
"I'm an entertaining fighter and my record speaks volumes. I'm 6-2-1 but look at the guys I've faced, the guys I've beaten, fought, they're all top-level opposition."
Should Joe McColgan win the title, he would be the first Irish fighter to lift a Cage Warriors World title since Conor McGregor won the same title back in 2012 against Ivan Buchinger.
"The fact I'll be the Cage Warriors World champion, and the UFC will be in Dublin - they'll have to put me on that card but I'm not thinking about that right now. I've a massive task in hand - that's Mason Jones. I'll start thinking about the UFC once that world title is wrapped around my waist."
Cage Warriors 113 takes place on March 20 at Indigo at the O2.
The event will air live on UFC Fight Pass.