FOR someone then fighting for the first time outside of the Philippines and making his UFC debut, Jenel "The Demolition Man" Lausa was a picture of a fighter who was simply ready to rise to the occasion. If he had any form of nerves, it didn't show at all. Using his superior striking game, he dominated Yao Zhikui and earned the unanimous decision win in their flyweight showdown at UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Brunson in Melbourne, Australia, back in November.

Lausa notched his first win inside The Octagon and now rides a 5-fight winning streak in professional mixed martial arts (MMA). It also bookended a good year for Lausa in the world of combat sports. He won a regional MMA title earlier this year and a Philippine boxing title prior to his UFC call up. After his successful debut in the world's premiere MMA organization, Lausa says, he wants to make the most out of the opportunity.

It has been a huge dream to get into the UFC and as he continues to fight, he hopes to be an inspiration to others-especially those from his hometown of Concepcion, Iloilo.

Lausa narrates that people from his hometown aren't strangers to the concept of fighting -- it's what they do every day to make ends meet -- something he himself lived through.

"Life there is tough and I had to work a lot of odd jobs to survive. I pretty much did everything, I became an embalmer's assistant, a pallbearer and worked different kinds of jobs in the farms," the 28-year old UFC fighter recalls.

It was through his journey of odd jobs that led him to discover boxing, and later on, MMA, first as a hobby, until his natural athletic gifts prompted coaches to get him to fight full time for both sports. Now that he's fighting in the UFC, Lausa wants to make the most of what he says is an opportunity of a lifetime and continue to work hard to keep improving in the sport.

While he's still waiting for his next fight to be booked, Lausa keeps on working on his skills with a possible training stint in the US on the horizon to further improve his grappling game.

"I'm trained as a striker, so I'm confident about my punches and kicks but I've kept an open mind since I started MMA. I keep working on my jiujitsu and wrestling with my coaches. You can't predict fights and it's best to be a complete fighter," he says.

Lausa also understands that if he keeps winning fights, he could open doors for more Filipino fighters to get into the UFC. This early, he hopes to inspire people who come from humble beginnings like him that everything's possible if you work hard for it. Specifically, he wishes to uplift the spirits of those who live in his hometown of Concepcion, Iloilo through his fights.

"Nothing is impossible. We all have dreams and if you work hard for it, you'll get there. Like myself, I'm working hard for my goals and now that I'm in the UFC, I'll keep doing my best to achieve them," he says.

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