Choose Your Fighter | Tai Tuivasa

Get to Know the Topps UFC Universe

Date: Mar 14, 2024
Author: Andreas Hale
Topics: Fighter Profiles, Tai Tuivasa, UFC
Length: 542 Words
Reading Time: ~3 Minutes

Tai Tuivasa is the epitome of the phrase: Looks can be deceiving.

The robust Australian heavyweight with wicked knockout power has every right to be feared by anyone who steps inside the Octagon to face him. However, his jovial personality and penchant for celebrating every victory with a “shoey” (drinking beer from one’s shoe) have made him one of the more beloved figures in the UFC. 

Topps UFC Tai Tuivasa

Tai Tuivasa of Australia celebrates after winning his heavyweight fight against Derrick Lewis via a second-round knockout during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Unfortunately for his opponents, they have to deal with one of the hardest hitters in the heavyweight division, and they don’t get to experience all the enjoyable things about Tuivasa until after they are subjected to his devastating power. 

Before putting on a pair of MMA gloves, Tuivasa was a rugby player in Sydney, Australia. At 17, the acclaimed athlete signed with the Sydney Roosters pro club and appeared to be heading toward a career as a professional rugby player. He surprisingly quit the club not too long after joining, citing a gambling addiction that cost him $20,000 in a single night. Many questioned his future after an abrupt career change, but Tuivasa has made the right choice.

Tuivasa pivoted to punching people in the face for a living as he tried his hand at both professional boxing and mixed martial arts. By the end of 2016, he had a 5-2 record with three knockouts as a pro boxer and a 6-0 with six first-round knockouts as a mixed martial artist. 

It’s not difficult to assume which path he’d take moving forward. 

Leaving boxing behind, Tuivasa signed with the UFC and began his tenure with the biggest MMA promotion in the world by going 3-0 with two more first-round knockouts. 

Topps UFC Tai Tuivasa

At age 25, he was on the fast track to contending for the UFC heavyweight championship, but a few bumps in the road lay ahead. Tuivasa would suffer the first loss of his professional career against former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and end up on a three-fight losing streak. But he returned to his winning ways with a phenomenal five-fight winning streak, with all victories coming by way of knockout, taking out the likes of Derrick Lewis and Greg Hardy along the way. 

Although he would lose his next three fights, there is no questioning the excitement level whenever the Octagon door shuts behind him before a fight because it’s highly likely that someone will get knocked out. Since debuting in the UFC, eight of his nine wins have come by way of knockout. Five of those knockouts have taken place in the first round. He’s also fifth among active heavyweights with five Performance of the Night bonuses, and his average fight time of 6 minutes and 54 seconds is the fifth shortest in the division. 

He’s not necessarily going to be there for a long time, but it’s almost certain that it’ll be a good time whenever “Bam Bam” laces up the gloves.

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