To see Young fight is to watch an athlete proud of his Maori heritage and he fights with that at the front of his mind. It will be the same at UFC 260, where he takes on Omar Morales. This time, though, his self-expression starts during his walk out, as he’ll make the stroll to the Octagon to the tune of his own song.
“For me, fighting isn’t just about fighting,” Young told UFC.com. “It’s about trying to represent my culture because I’m a Maori boy, and my culture has been quite oppressed for the last 150 years, and now it’s coming to the fray, and a lot of Polynesians are excelling all around the world through music, through fighting like myself, through business, all these crazy things. So, I want to use not only my fighting vehicle, but I’m going to use music because music is a massive part of our culture.”
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Young said he worked on the song with his younger brother, his friend and an Australian music producer. Together, they created a song with a sound unique to Australia and New Zealand, and Young said he’s eager to represent himself musically before he does so physically.
When the physical part starts, though, he’ll be fully locked-in on Morales and bouncing back from his last fight, a first-round knockout loss to Ludovit Klein on Fight Island last September. Myriad factors shifted in the days before that fight. His original opponent, Nate Landwehr, pulled out of the bout in the weeks leading up to the bout, and Klein hit the scale four pounds over the lightweight limit. Still, while the loss wasn’t what Young wanted, he was able to take some positives away.