Mac 'Big' Laursen, who trains with Teofista Boxing, is back in ring preparing to defend his Battlefield Fight League (BFL) MMA welterweight championship 10 months down the road.

He's determined to prove he's the real deal and that he's ready to advance to the contender series.

In early May, he dethroned defending champion Dejan Dejan Kajić of Vancouver, B.C. It was his sixth consecutive professional win. He's only lost once, in his debut bout.

He's currently ranked 9th in welterweight in Canada, fifth in Western Canada, stands 6'2" and was 169.2 lbs. at his last weigh-in.

"It's cool to have the title," says Laursen. "It shows all the hard work I put into this fighting game, all the sacrifices I made, all the commitment I made has paid off.  It just showed me I can go far in the sport and dance with these guys."

"I feel like I've got a target on my back. At first, I thought winning this would get me to the contender series, but honestly, I want to defend my title once." 

He'll be fighting Ashton Carlton, of Spokane, WA, who won the RMF on the same card in May. Big isn't taking the challenger lightly.

"I want to show that I'm a true champion. You're not a real champion until you defend your belt once. Fighting a young, hungry guy like Ashton Charlton shows I'm ready for the big step in this game."

mac 2Big training at the Teofista Boxing gym in Bearspaw.

Those preparations have included foregoing his recent 30th birthday celebration  

"I didn't do anything. After this fight, I'm going to enjoy it, but right now I'm putting in the effort. I'm feeling the cardio. I'm feeling everything. I've got about 10 months to go before this fight, and I'm going to put everything into it." 

Big completes his boxing training under Eric de Guzman, head coach of Teofista Boxing. They first met when Big was a 15-year-old amateur boxer. He went on to train in Muay Tae and then MMA before they were reunited.

"One time in Vegas, I was hitting pads with him, and it just clicked.  I work so well with Eric. I listen to him and he's such a great coach. I'm so glad to have him in my corner."

"When I warm up with him, he gives me the confidence I need and shows me I have the best hands in the world."

mac 3Big's belt is held high during a training session at the Bearpaw gym. Besides training there with some other rising contenders, he assists younger members develop their skills.

Laursen completed some of his training here in Cochrane and made sure he took time to work with the younger members.

"Yeah, I give all these kids advice. I try to work with everyone. Eric works for me, and he gives back to the community. I want to give back to the community as well. I want to help out all these kids."

Teofista has recently moved out of the Lions Event Centre and is looking for a new location in town. In the meantime, Laursen and the other 75 boxers will continue to train out of their main gym in Bearspaw.