It’s been quite the year for Nathaniel ‘The Prospect’ Wood and on December 29 it could be capped off in style in Las Vegas.

The mixed martial artist from Carshalton will head to the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada to fight on the UFC 232 undercard, the event headlined by two of the organisations biggest stars, Jon ’Bones’ Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.

“I’m living the dream,” said the bantamweight.

“It’s been a great year, and now I’m getting ready to fight on a huge card.

“It’s amazing for the UFC to put me on that platform to showcase my skills, although I’m a little bit gutted I’m missing Christmas dinner as I’m making weight.”

Wood admitted he was disappointed when learning his initial opponent, Frenchman Tom Duquesnoy, had pulled out through injury, but insisted he was keen to fight on the card.

“It’s gutting, it’s a fight I’ve wanted for such a long time, but it’s part of the fight game I guess.

“I’ve been training for such a long time for this date, so the last thing I’d like to do is get my friends and family to fly out to Vegas when I’m not even competing so they’re (the UFC) looking for a replacement.”

Quite the Year

The former Cage Warriors champion whose record stands at 14 wins and three defeats, reflected on the near perfect year to date which saw him submit Jonny Eduardo in the second round of his UFC bow in New York. That result also saw him pick up the $50,000 ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better performance at the start of the year, getting a knock out in under a minute was great to retain my title, then to get signed with the UFC was a dream come true and to get the win my UFC debut the way I did was perfect.”

Trained by Brad Pickett and fighting for Team Titan, Wood revealed it could be a blessing that Duquesnoy pulled out of the bout this early, as a potential top 10 fighter could replace him allowing Wood to stake a claim for a shot at the belts.

“There isn’t a fighter I don’t fancy my chances against, I train hard, have great coaches around me, and I’m confident in my ability and skillset.

“If they give me a top 10 fighter I’m confident I’ll win, so if that puts me in the top 10 I’ll be looking at getting a title shot, hopefully in the next year.”

“At Cage Warriors I was the main event, but the fanfare I got with the UFC was similar and I was bottom of the list (fightcard). I want to become a bigger name and get a shot at that title.”

Home Comforts

With Christmas day celebration out of the question, Woods said he’d be looking forward to seeing his friends and family when he returns to hopefully celebrate a win and New Year’s at his local social club.

“I did look at how much it’d cost to stay a few extra nights on New Year’s Eve in Vegas, but the prices went from £1,000 to £5,000 a night, that’s not happening.

“So I’m flying back the next day, new year’s eve. The social club in Cheam that sponsor me, they always play my fights, so I think I’ll go there to see everyone and celebrate with friends and family.

“I’ve had a huge amount of support from everyone in the UK, it’s been fantastic.”

Woods said that in the new year he’d look at going on holiday with his partner, and after the busy 2018 the man has had, who could blame him?!