South Shields MMA fighter Shaj ‘Superman’ Haque reckons penning a new promotional deal is his ticket to the big time.
And the 26-year-old, who fights out of Fighting Fit Muay Thai & MMA gym on Boldon Lane, is keen to prove he is the best flyweight on the planet.
Haque, who has a professional record of nine wins and two losses, recently signed a promotional deal with Moscow-based mixed martial arts outlet Fight Nights Global.
It is a deal which will promote him on to the world stage, having previous fought under the Cage Warriors banner.
As well as that, this is the type of deal that could see the Chichester lad set himself up for life financially.
But cash is just one of many incentives for Haque.
Having proven his worth on the European stage, he’s desperate to show the world just how good he can be.
“I believe I am the best flyweight in Europe, now is my time to prove I can conquer Asia and Russia, too, where the sport is massive,” said Haque.
“Financially, this is also the chance for me to earn serious money.
“Every time I have fought I have spent more in the build up, with training, etc, than I have ever earned at the end of a fight.
“This time, should I get a few wins under my belt, I could make life-changing amounts.
“It is a very exciting move for me.”
Bouts on the Fight Nights Global card are one of the biggest tickets in the MMA game.
They are often seen as a gateway to the likes of Bellator or UFC, on which global superstars such as Connor McGregor ply their trade.
So for 11-year fight veteran Haque, this is no small step up in levels.
Another change will be the fact Haque will now almost certainly have to fight abroad, something he has done just once in his pro career, with the promoters only ever staging events in Russia, Tajikistan, Georgia, Slovakia and Belarus in recent times.
“I have fought once abroad before – in Jordan – but I lost that,” said the fighter, referring to his unanimous decision defeat to Paul Marin in the King Hussein Boxing Arena, Amman, in October, 2013.
“I would like to think I am a lot more experienced now and have learned from my experiences of fighting away.
“It was not easy to get what you needed in the build up to the fight. This time will be different.
Haque’s debut on the promotion could come before the end of May, prior to Ramadan.
His coach Feruz Hussain, said: “Some of the biggest fighters in the world have been on this promotion. It really is big time.
“It is huge news for Shaj. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.”