Canada has a middleweight prospect to root for during the upcoming season of Contender Series, which airs on ESPN+ for the first time since the show’s inception.

Aaron Jeffery has been fighting since 2013, has fought in two divisions, and captured his first professional MMA title in March. Now, he looks to achieve his goal of fighting in the UFC when he faces Brendan Allen in Las Vegas, Nevada this summer.

“I think that’s on the bucket list for most fighters, is to get a professional title, so it’s cool to have that.”

In his most recent outing, Jeffery defeated Jo Vallée via fourth-round stoppage to claim the BTC middleweight championship. After making his debut at 185 pounds against TJ Sumler in 2016, it has been evident Aaron found a new home, one with less weight cutting involved. “Getting down to 170 was an 8 or 10 week dieting period and I was just miserable and no body wanted to hang out with me,” said Jeffery. Now he enjoys being able to eat, since the thought of dieting doesn’t happen until 10 days out from the fight.

Before the move up in weight, Aaron wasn’t entirely sure about fighting at a heavier weight. “Maybe I thought I was undersized,” said Jeffery. “I always feel like I’m a smaller guy.” After three fights at 185, he feels, “appropriate for the weight class” and ready to take on the division’s best. Jeffery has been undefeated since his move to middleweight and looks to cease Allen’s hype, earning a UFC contract in July.

Canadian fighters are bred different.

While training, Jeffery obtained a Medical Sciences Degree with a Sports Nutrition Certificate from Brock University. “Doing two things that I loved was not such a hard path to take,” said Jeffery. He also trained with the wrestling team often, surrounding himself with Olympic-caliber knowledge.

Although no longer a student, Jeffery still works with the team to continue sharpening his skills. The 26-year-old prospect also trains with some of the best mixed martial artists Canada has produced, many who have helped sharpen his skills during fight camps.

Fighting out of Para Bellum MMA with Lyndon Whitlock, Rory McDonell, and Chris Prickett, Jeffery also trains with former UFC ranked middleweight, Elias Theodorou, and TUF 23 winner, Andrew Sanchez. He hopes to one day add his name to the list of Canadian UFC fighters, although never truly recognizing his place and presence in Canadian MMA.

“I never considered it a whole lot until I see people posting about stuff and it always gets brought up that I’m Canadian. I’m thinking about it more now, it’s important.”

Aaron plans to live in Canada his entire life, putting his gym on the UFC map. Tristar Gym is also only a short drive away. With such resources easily accessible, and his knowledge both in and outside of the cage, Jeffery is destined for greatness in the sport he grew to love. He wants to make a career out of MMA, not be “one of the guys who gets to the UFC, wins, loses, gets cut, and teaches at a gym as a former UFC fighter.”

It’s BTC Champion vs LFA Champion.

Many fighters get the Contender Series call after capturing a professional MMA title. This is also proven to be the case for Aaron, who takes on the reigning LFA middleweight champion, Brendan Allen. Having only lost to UFC fighters, Allen is a step up in competition for Aaron. “He’s a tough kid for sure, he’s fought a lot of good guys, got a lot of wins on his records,” said Jeffery. “I think it will be a good, tough fight for sure.”

Ready for his debut, Aaron’s mindset compliments his in-ring abilities. He understands that the only thing different, is the stage in which the fight is taking place. Para Bellum is latin for, “if you wish for peace, prepare for war,” and Jeffery is preparing for his biggest challenge to date, on a show known its finishes.

Aaron quit his job working at a cardiology clinic two months ago and is now training full-time. Although MMA was never the plan, becoming a world champion on this biggest stage is now the goal, and Jeffery’s UFC journey begins July 16th.

Listen to our full interview with Aaron Jeffery, on The Scrap’s official SoundCloud:

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Joel Torres is a co-owner of The Scrap and its current CEO. Torres is obsessed with MMA and holds a Masters of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology from University of Southern California. Make sure to follow Joel on Twitter (@joelisacoolkid).