Dana White known as Cameron Saaiman ‘the long run,’ and he needs to show it at UFC 282

Dubbed by UFC president Dana White as “the future” of the game, 21-year-old Cameron Saaiman (6-0-0) is on a mission to show him proper on his debut at UFC 282 in Vegas on Dec. 10.

The South African, a protégé of Dricus “Stillknocks” du Plessis and coach Morné Visser, will struggle Steven Koslow (6-0-0) in a bantamweight bout after securing his UFC spot with a Contender Collection win over Josh Wang-Kim, through KO/TKO at 2:52 of Spherical 3.

This prompted White to say: “Dude you are impressive. For 21 years old, the way you kept your composure in there … absolutely a professional man. Your new nickname is ‘The Future’.”

Saaiman was the youngest energetic male UFC fighter till then-17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr. (now 18) gained a contract a month later. Rosas Jr. may also be making his full UFC debut on Dec. 10, towards Jay Perrin.

The South African instructed ESPN: “It’s an absolute compliment and it’s an honour to be called that by the boss man himself.

“If something, I feel it added a variety of motivation, as a result of since I began as knowledgeable, I turned professional once I was 18 and there was a variety of criticism due to that and I needed to show myself each single time.

“All I’m going to do on Dec. 10 is just prove Boss Dana right. I’m going to prove him right and I’m going to show people that I am indeed the future.”

Explaining how he fell in love with blended martial arts, the Pretoria-born Saaiman stated: “My father actually worked for Carnival City, which hosted the EFC events — the local events here in South Africa.

“He was a mission supervisor there and I really simply occurred to be there with him at his work and that is principally how I fell in love with the game. I watched a couple of fights after which I went to my father and instructed him: ‘I wish to do that. That is actually cool.’

“As a 12-year-old kid, you can get tired of many sports. I did skateboarding for about a week and a half before stopping that, so I really jumped around doing a lot of sports, but this one really stuck.”

Being taken below Du Plessis’ wing took Saaiman’s love for the game to new heights and the pair will struggle collectively at UFC 282 — the primary time South Africa will likely be represented by a couple of fighter at a UFC occasion. Du Plessis will likely be up towards Darren Until within the middleweight division.

Though they’re shut now, Saaiman revealed that it took time for 28-year-old ‘Stillknocks’ to really change into keen about mentoring him.

Saaiman defined: “I had a great sponsor — Q4 Fuel was an absolutely amazing sponsor that helped me since I was a kid, just helping with basic equipment and stuff like that. I didn’t come from a very financially strong background, so having a sponsor helped in terms of paying for equipment and competition fees. It was an absolute blessing.

“When their enterprise was seeking to sponsor a much bigger staff, they really gave me a possibility then to shift gyms. As a part of the enterprise deal, they’d sponsor the health club, however Dricus needed to coach me.

“I think at some stages, especially at the beginning, he didn’t really want to do it, but it was a massive asset to the team. We quickly developed a coach-student relationship — and then later [a relationship as] training partners and friends.”

For each South African MMA and the UFC bantamweight division alike, the occasion in Vegas might signify a ceremonial passing of the baton.

“It’s an absolute honour [to fight with du Plessis]. I think that’s the first time ever that South Africans are not only one guy on the main card, but a team of two going to the UFC to represent not only South Africa, but Team CIT. I’m very fortunate,” Saaiman stated.

“We’ve been having a great year. In terms of our team’s momentum, it’s been absolutely amazing. I really am looking forward to showcasing our skills and showing what we have left. I think we did that well in the Contender Series, but I think we can do it even better now in the UFC debut.”

As regards to Koslow, a fellow UFC debutant who’s 4 years his senior, Saaiman spoke with respect, however actually not worry or deference.

“He is a great opponent,” Saaiman stated of his opponent, who hails from Jacksonville, Florida.

“Obviously, he has a good ground game, but the result will stay the same. My hand will be raised come fight night.”