“When it’s all said and done, I want to be remembered as one of, or even, the best Welsh MMA fighter there as ever been!”
JACK “TANK” SHORE
From conquering the Cage Warriors bantamweight division, to dominating on his UFC debut in Denmark, there’s no surprise that 24 year-old Jack Shore has been labelled as the next big thing to come out of Britain. With former UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy being one of many to suggest he can become the next superstar in the sport, and that Jack can be the one who can give Wales its first UFC world champion.
It has been a huge 12 months for Jack, this time last year he had just continued his undefeated form after beating Weslley Maia to go 9-0, and had his sights set on a showdown with prolific wrestler Mike Ekundayo for the vacant cage warriors bantamweight title.
After comfortably beating Ekundayo, and then defending his bantamweight title, Jack and his team decided now was the time to move into the UFC, and it wasn’t the first time he had been offered to fight in the organisation. At 3-0 the UFC had come knocking on the Shore camps door, with Jack chomping at the bit. With more experience to gain inside of the cage, Jack and the team decided the best move was to stay with Cage Warriors for the time being to continue his education.
“It wasn’t that tough of a decision,” Jack says. “My coaches and manager always have the final say on my next move, so they took over. It was without a doubt the right decision.”
This was something that his father and coach, Richard shore, reiterated. Richard describing the decision as “a really good apprenticeship for him, so when he (Jack) was to go to the UFC, he would go in with a bang. We feel that the decision has been justified after that debut performance.”
Jacks debut performance in Copenhagen proved that his experiences under the bright lights of Cage Warriors had given him the foundations to perform on the UFC’s big stage, and not get caught up in the occasion.
Nohelin Hernandez, a dangerous striker coming out of the American kickboxing academy in California, would be another brilliant fighter to be bested by the former Cage Warriors champion, as Jack went in looking like a UFC regular as he wore his opponent down. “Camp was perfect. We pushed harder than before and prepared very specifically,” he says. “I trained with the same coaches and team as always. I have 100% faith that they can take me to the top of the game.”
Jacks faith proving to be right, as a thorough training camp for the fight the key to victory, leaving no stone unturned to produce, arguably, one of the most dominant UFC debut performances that a British fighter has produced. Jacks grappling proved too superior as he received no answer from Hernandez as the Welshman worked the opening to find the space for a submission victory, via a nasty neck crank. Having done all of the hard work in the build up to the fight, he couldn’t have been more pleased with how the tactics paid off, with the order of the bout going exactly to script. “The fight went perfect,” says Jack. “The game plan was to wear him down and use my striking to set up the takedowns and look to pressure and finish on the ground.”
Praising the atmosphere in Copenhagen, not to forget a special mention for his welsh following, the crowd at his first UFC event proved to be a memorable one.
“The atmosphere was unreal, all the local fans were loud too. I was first fight of the night but the noise felt like a main card fight,” says Jack. “I can’t thank my fans enough; they’ve played a massive part in my career. When people talk about my fights and say how good the atmosphere is, it’s all down to my fans. They’re a crazy rowdy bunch, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
With Jacks barmy Welsh army already making plenty of noise, the big debut win has further validated the hype around the Welshman. Now set up for a big year, Jack looks to remain undefeated and turn more heads as he outlines his hopes for the next 12 months.
“Hopefully a few more UFC wins and finishes,” he says. “Pushing closer to being one of the top contenders is the aim”.
The expectation surrounding Jack is almost non-existent in is mind, as he continues to follow his familiar trend and look at things with an old head on young shoulders.
“Obviously the hype has helped push me to where I am, but I don’t read too much into it, I stay grounded and humble.” All the blood, sweat and tears invested into every fight is nothing short of worthwhile, as the motivation lies in getting his hand raised for his team. A typically humble response from a very grounded man, regardless of the limelight starting to shift towards him as his career continues to gather more momentum.
“Winning a fight is just a reward for months of hard work and sacrifice by myself, my coaches and my team,” he says. “Winning and doing everyone proud always keeps me working hard and motivated.”
The hard work has paid off for Team Shore; the transition from Cage Warriors to the UFC has fortunately gone as flawlessly as Jacks MMA career so far.
“Cage Warriors always treated me well and looked after me,” says jack, “but when you’re with the UFC, you can tell you’re in the premier league of MMA. They can’t do enough for you from the minute you arrive, until the minute you fly home.”
Jack looks at home amongst the elite of MMA, a sense of accomplishment for the Welshman, and a feeling that the dream he has worked towards for so long is finally becoming reality. The MMA path set out for Jacks journey had a scent of inevitability about it, with the bright lights of the octagon always the fateful destination.
“ For as long as I can remember I’d always dreamed of being a professional MMA fighter and fighting in the UFC. It’s something I’ve worked towards all my life,” he says. “I’m glad it’s paid off for me and my coaches.”
Teamwork makes the dream work, and the understanding between Jack and his coaches seems to be one of the pieces to his success. The watchful eye of dad, Richard, plays a key part of the coaching team and provides the elite skills of Jack with the grounded environment he continues to learn in.
A family feel with Richard and the team will always mean a professional eye is critiquing Jack, with the fortune of his dad having the emotional investment to monitor his physical and mental state.
Jacks admiration for his coaches truly shows the family unit they have built at Shore MMA.
“ I’d like to thanks my coaches; Richard Shore, Carl Parker, Gary Lockett, Kru Hehem, Greg Callow And Darrell James, and all my teammates at Shore MMA,” Jack says.
His admiration’s also lie elsewhere, but for a fellow fighter that Jack is hopeful he will meet in the octagon further down the line. “One of my favourite fighters ever is Frankie Edgar,” he says. “So who knows, maybe that fight could happen down the line now he’s moving to bantamweight.”
Bigger and better fights will certainly come calling more frequently for Jack and his team, in what is expected to be a massive future for this rising star. The optimism and momentum for greater things is apparent now more than ever, as Richard (Jacks father) announced the opening of Shore MMA Gym. “This new facility has got 144 squared metres of matted area, a strength, conditioning and fitness centre, full sized competition cage all under one roof,” he says. “The reason we’ve gone for it now is because it is the right time to go for it with Jack having such a good debut in the UFC, which has bought a bit of attention to us.”
This A-grade facility at their disposal will give the Shore camp the ideal hub to continue to develop more world class fighters like Jack, as well as offer its services to people of all abilites. “The local community will have somewhere to train in a world class facility, hopefully getting others involved will help grow the business. I’d love to do this all the time and hopefully inviting people of all levels and backgrounds to become involved will help us to focus on this full-time.”
Richard has credited Jacks approach to the sport after an excellent UFC debut, a big reason behind his growth and unbeaten career so far. “The nice thing is that he always wants to learn, we’ve had people in the past who have tasted a little bit of success and then don’t want to take any information on board from the coaches,” Richard says. “Jack constantly wants to learn, he’s never out of the gym. He had a couple of days off after the fight due to an infection, but he’s been back training 2 or 3 times a day ever since.”
“His desire to improve is brilliant. You’ve never got to chase him up about training – the fact of the matter is that he loves it. The old saying is “If you find a job that you love, then you’ll never do another days work in your life,” and he knows he’s been lucky in that respect.”
The sky is the limit for Jack “Tank” Shore; a passionate team, a tremendously talented fighter, a growing following and the Shore MMA Gym to springboard on from. The bantamweight division better stay wake, as this welsh tank has the arsenal to fire its way to the very top of the division.
Watch Jack shore Documentary HERE
Jack would like to thank his girlfriend, family, friends and army of supporters. Also sponsors and his team for their continuous commitment: Batch Plant, DJC Build, Refuel Nutrition, Tatami, Candour Talent
Read more on Candour Talent HERE