The city of Spokane, Washington, with its population a little over 200,000, sits just below the Canadian border, nestled in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
Surrounded by some of the most scenic sights nature has to offer, Spokane seems tailor-made for people who love the great outdoors.
It may also soon be home to the next ONE Welterweight World Champion.
On Saturday, 17 November at ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM, Tyler McGuire (11-0) a mixed martial artist from the “Lilac City,” will challenge Swedish striker Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam (10-4) for the ONE Welterweight strap.
It has been a whirlwind year for McGuire who is an active Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force.
At the start of 2018, the 32-year-old was competing on his local, regional circuit, appearing in front of crowds that numbered in the hundreds as opposed to the thousands that attend ONE Championship events.
Unbeknownst to McGuire, his increasingly impressive performances had brought him to the attention of the world’s largest martial arts organization.
After the eighth first-round win of his career, McGuire was snapped up by ONE’s talent scouts and found himself scheduled for a July bout with seasoned veteran Luis “Sapo” Santos.
It was a case of sink or swim for the American when he made his promotional debut in at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER, against one of the most imposing athletes in the welterweight division.
Santos is known for both being dangerous on the ground and terrifying on the feet, but McGuire nullified the Brazilian with a slick submission game to earn a unanimous decision victory.
The win proved to McGuire that he had the skills to match it with the best the world has to offer.
“The win over Sapo was a huge moment of validation for me that I belong on the world stage,” McGuire said in a recent interview.
“I had fought some tough guys on the regional scene, some who's records don't give credit to their talent, but I really didn't know where I stood in terms of the top tier of mixed martial arts.
“To win in every area of the fight gave me confidence that I do in fact belong here [ONE Championship].”
McGuire’s dominant performance ensured the only match that made logical sense following his win over Santos would be a title bout.
“My friends and family have been telling me for years my time would come to win a title on the world stage.
“I like to keep myself in check and never really bought into it. I still refuse to let it sink in that I have a title shot.
“I am simply approaching this fight as any other fight and like always, may the best man win!”
McGuire has never faced anyone with striking as sharp as Kadestam, but he is not letting the Swede’s reputation divert his attention away from his preparation.
“I feel that I am on track for a great performance in Jakarta.
“I understand his strengths but I really feel by focusing on what I want to do is more important, as really it comes down to execution.
The bustling metropolis of Jakarta with its nine million inhabitants and kinetic energy is the polar opposite of the McGuire’s hometown. However, he is excited by the prospect of putting on a show to remember for the local fans.
“It's surreal to me that people want to pay me to travel to another country and compete against world-class athletes.
“My first trip to Southeast Asia was in July, and it was incredible.
“The people and atmosphere at these events is electrifying, and I love every moment of it.”
If McGuire thought that the atmosphere was electric for his debut, he should steel himself because the energy levels amongst the fans on Saturday 17 should be off the charts.
Title bouts generate an almost tangible excitement amongst the fans in attendance next Saturday will no exception.
“It's an amazing time to be a part of ONE’s exponential growth,” McGuire said when talking about being part of ONE.
It's a statement that every athlete on the roster and every fan who follows ONE would most definitely agree with.