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Zac Pauga talks with UFC.COM before the start of The Ultimate Fighter season 30.
The Ultimate Fighter

Get To Know Heavyweight Zac Pauga | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes

Find Out More About The Ultimate Fighter Season 30 Contestant Zac Pauga

Meet Zac Pauga:

 

  • Record: 5-0
  • Birthplace: Denver, Colorado
  • Fighting out of: Denver, Colorado
  • Age: 34
  • Weight class: Heavyweight
  • Stat: 1 win by KO

 

Welcome to the UFC APEX, and congratulations on making it onto the 30th season of The Ultimate Fighter! How does it feel to be here?

It feels great. I put a lot of hard work into this. I’ve only been in MMA for a short amount of time, but I’ve put in the work, and it’s exciting that it’s paying off.

How would you describe your fighting style to those who haven’t seen you fight?

I’m really well rounded. I’m a guy that came up in MMA, and I don’t have a background in any single fight art. But I started learning from the best coaches and fighters in the world, so I’m a complete mixed martial artist.

You’ve been training in MMA for a handful of years now. You train with the world class Elevation Fight Team in Colorado, do you believe that will give you an advantage over your opponents in this tournament?

You know, it’s everything. I’ve been here before. I’ve been to the APEX six times. I’ve seen fights in there. I’ve sparred with Curtis Blaydes, sparred with Alistair Overeem, getting them ready for fights. No one else here has that kind of experience.

Get To Know Heavyweight Zac Pauga | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
Get To Know Heavyweight Zac Pauga | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
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Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re also teammates with Mohammed Usman, who will also be one of the people you’ll be competing against on the show.

Me and Mohammed have trained together a lot. I know him really well, and he’s good. He’s who I see as my biggest competition.

What will be the biggest challenge you think you’ll give your opponents this season?

Other than just the experience, it’s going to be the pace and the cardio. I am coming up from light heavyweight, but heavyweights kind of do one thing. They’re big and they throw heavy. I don’t think they’re going to be ready for the pace.

Is there any one coach that better suits your style?

That’s a good question. I actually think Amanda suits my style more. She’s got heavy hands, but also grapples and is really well rounded. But if I had to choose, I’d like to be on Peña’s team. I kind of like the attitude and the fire she brought to their last match.

Do you think there will be any challenges to living in the same house as people you’re competing against?

Maybe for some of those guys. I see guys are already kind of eyeing each other up and down. You know, this is my third professional sport and it’s just a job. It’s something I’m used to. It’s something I’m ready for. There’s not going to be any issues for me.

Why do you believe that you’ll be the one to win this season of the Ultimate Fighter?

Because I’m the best fighter here. I’m the most prepared and I’m the most experienced, as far as life goes.