It’s been almost two years since he donned the gloves and entered a professional fight. A lot has gone on over that time period—a police investigation, countless nights in the gym. His life just hasn’t really been the same since the last time he fought.

The upcoming fight is taking place close to home. It’s literally almost in his backyard. Things are looking great to this being a successful return.

It has been a long time coming. An injury three weeks out from his first fight in what seems like an eternity doesn’t even stop him from going out and doing what he does best.

That’s Adrian “The Hunter” Pang, and his is a story about a long journey.

“I never go into a fight unprepared. People talk about ring rust, and I can tell you that it’s a very real thing. I have experienced it before, but this time around I went into the fight feeling pretty good and actually fought [Jai] Bradney with a torn meniscus in my right knee,” Pang revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I tore it at the start of June, but I went in and I still trained every day. I couldn’t do any kicks or anything in training, but I was still in there working hard in the gym because I know what it takes to win. I didn’t tell anybody outside of my gym about the injury, and I could have just as easily pulled out of the fight, but I’m not like that.”

Pang (L) (Scott Clark/Sherdog)

Instead, Pang fought…and won. On that June evening, Pang overcame his injury and scored a TKO victory over Bradney with only 11 seconds remaining in the first round.

“Bradney and I fully expected the fight to be a three-round war,” Pang said. “We thought that we would be bashing each other to a decision, so I was happy to go out there and win against a top opponent who I respect. I could have gone out and told the world over and over again about how good I was after beating a top-level guy like Jai, but I didn’t. I did the job and moved on, and like always I put on an exciting fight.”

But the one thing that Pang’s arduous journey taught him was where the real importance lies.

“Straight after my fight, I was back on Monday, building cabinets,” Pang admitted. “Life is about the important things. I didn’t go out and get all hung up on a win. I have built a successful life with my business, my gym and with my family, and I have been a pretty good fighter at the same time too.

“You see a lot of these guys who train and train and do nothing else, and then they have nothing to fall back on. Once you have a family, your priorities certainly change, and mine changed for the better.”

Pang has been considered arguably the best fighter based in Australia who competes in the lightweight division. The long-standing belief is that he should be included on the UFC’s roster of Australian fighters. However, it’s not something that he has actively sought.

“Would I fight in the UFC if they called me and asked me to fight on the Brisbane card? Absolutely. I’d fight anybody that they put in front of me,” Pang exclaimed. “I don’t care who it is, I would do it with no problems in the world. I’m not really going out there and trying to fight everybody and anybody just to get signed though. I have been fighting for 12 years, and I know which fights I should take and which I should let go.”

Some critics expected Pang to struggle in his return to action after a two-year absence. He was able to prove those people wrong, as he often has throughout his career. This time, he was able to do it in highlight-reel fashion.

Pang (Scott Clark/Sherdog)

“There were people out there that doubted me and were saying that I hadn’t fought in a couple of years so there was no telling how I would go. I showed everyone I still have it. I don’t need to prove anything to anybody anymore,” he admitted. “I have been doing this for long enough and I am still around fighting. Over the years, I have seen so many of these UFC-wannabe guys come and go, and at the end of the day I will always be in the gym, every day of the week, because I love fighting, not because I wanna be on TV or because I want to be famous.

“I’m still happy doing what I am doing. I was supposed to be fighting on Adrenalin in October, but because it was canceled, I won’t be fighting again this year unless it’s an opportunity that’s too good to say no to. Having a fight taken away from you sucks, but at the same time it helped me realize what was important. If I was relying on that fight to pay my bills, I would have been screwed. At least this way I can take the right fights at the right time and continue to build on my legacy as a fighter.”

It’s been a long journey for Pang. With each new win, he continues to build on his skills as a professional fighter. No matter whom he competes against and no matter what corner of the globe, that final destination of having his hand raised is one exciting journey.

Adrian would like to thank Fairtex and Australian Sports Nutrition, along with everybody at Integrated MMA (Dan Higgins, Steve Compton and Tony Green). Follow Pang on Twitter: @adrianpangmma

Top Photo: Adrian Pang (top) (Scott Clark/Sherdog)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.