Aaron Chalmers has revealed he knew he was addicted to MMA after he was thrown into his first sparring session.
The reality TV star turned MMA fighter makes his Bellator debut on Friday night, a year on from his pro debut.
Chalmers has bagged three first-round stoppages since then and caused quite the stir among the MMA community.
Many have labeled the former Geordie Shore star nothing more than a traveling circus, and Chalmers has faced intense criticism for the quality of opponents he’s faced.
Despite the backlash, Chalmers is about to fight on one of the biggest MMA fight cards to ever come to the UK and the Newcastle native remembers the moment he knew he could be a fighter.
‘If I have a bad session I beat myself up about it,’ Chalmers told Metro.co.uk.
‘It makes us angry when I have a bad session, but that’s what brings me back in.
‘I think “F*** this, I want to get back into”, and then the next day I want to do better.
‘When I first started I had never sparred before and they put us in with a lad who was f****** a really good stand-up. And he literally battered me.
‘The next day I was back in the gym and my coaches said that’s what they wanted to see because some people don’t come back.
Chalmers' Fight Prediction
‘Some people just think “Nah, it’s too hard.” So you either want more or you just leave it. And I want more. That’s why I am where I am today.’
Bellator 200 is a historic event for the MMA promotion and Chalmers will share the spotlight with the likes of Gegard Mousasi, Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Phil Davis.
Originally the card was headlined by Roy Nelson versus Mirko Cro Cop, but an injury to the Croatian forced both of the heavyweights to withdraw.
Regardless of the late reshuffle, Chalmers cannot quite believe how far he has come in just 12 months.
‘It’s a dream come true,’ Chalmers admits.
‘No one knew what was going to come of it, I didn’t even know what was going to come of it.’
He added: ‘What keeps me motivated is that I enjoy it so much. I enjoy going to training in the morning and learning.
Bellator 200 Fight Card
Rafael Carvalho vs. Gegard Mousasi
Michael Page vs. David Rickels
Aaron Chalmers vs. Ash Griffiths
Mike Shipman vs. Carl Noon
Anastasia Yankova vs. Kate Jackson
Phil Davis vs. Linton Vassell
Anatoly Tokov vs. Vladimir Filipovic
Daniel Crawford vs. Pedro Carvalho
Charlie Ward vs. Martin Hudson
Kevin Fryer vs. Costello Van Steenis
Charlie Leary vs. Tom Green
Kent Kauppinen vs. Walter Gahadza
Jahreau Shephard vs. Marcin Zywica
Mike Ekundayo vs. Tom Mearns
Amir Albazi vs. Iurie Bejenari
‘From my first fight to this fight, the amount I’ve come on in a year, in my eyes, is unbelievable.
‘Me ground game, at first I didn’t have any but I still submitted Greg Jenkins in my first fight.
‘Every training session I feel myself getting fitter, faster, stronger and I keep getting better. I’m just enjoying the process and take it as far as it will go.
‘I’m on one of the biggest shows in the world and have the chance to fight all over the world, so why wouldn’t I stick at it?’
Chalmers will face Ash Griffiths at Bellator 200, a fighter who is on a three-fight losing streak and missed weight.
There has been heat between the pair for the entire fight week, with Griffiths calling Chalmers a ‘clown’ and slamming his credentials as a legitimate fighter.
Chalmers is used to the criticism and expects to silence his haters once again when he steps in the cage.
‘One thing that pushes me is people saying I can’t do this and that, I’m not an MMA fighter,’ he said.
‘I just think if you put your mind to it you can literally be whatever you want to be. If you work hard enough, who’s to stop you from doing anything?
‘I work hard and I’m reaping the benefits.’
To purchase tickets for Bellator 200 go to Ticketmaster or The SSE Arena Wembley