Langley’s Tristan Connelly, moments before his hand was raised in victory at UFC Fight Night 158 in Vancouver (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

VIDEO: Langley City fighter Tristan Connelly is on hold during the COVID-19 outbreak

‘I’m just trying to be patient” says rising UFC star

If there is an upside to having his next fight cancelled, it may be that Tristan “Boondock” Connelly finally has some time to explore Langley City, his home for the last year-and-a-half.

And the 34-year-old gets to spend time with his wife Jen, waiting for their first child to arrive.

Other than that, waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to ease so he can return to fighting “sucks,” Connelly told the Langley Advance Times.

“You don’t get that many chances to compete,” he observed.

Connelly made the most of his first big chance, when he was a last-minute addition to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Vancouver in September of last year, an underdog matched against a bigger, flashier opponent in the person of Brazilian Michel Pereira.

As UFC Fight Night 158 turned out, Pereira had some flashy moves, but didn’t have the ability to outlast a determined Connelly.

It ended with a unanimous decision for Connelly (29-27, 29-27 and 29-28), and a $100,000 purse.

“I had a big start,” is how he summed up his Rocky-like victory.

Connelly was training in Las Vegas for his next UFC fight, an April 11 bout with Alex da Silva in Portland, Oregon, when the virus forced an end to almost all sports, including the UFC, sending Connelly back to Langley City.

“All I can do is be patient,” Connelly said.

“I’m doing my best to keep in shape.”

READ MORE: Tristan Connelly shocks the UFC world

Unfortunately the best way to train for a fight is by sparring, and that is not allowed under the current social distance rules, which Connelly is following.

That doesn’t mean rival fighters are as scrupulous, he noted.

“Who knows what other people are capable of doing?” Connelly commented.

Right now, he is waiting, like everyone else, to see how the crisis plays out.

“I’m just trying to stay positive,” he remarked.

Connelly became interested in martial arts as a teenager in Victoria, when he took up Jiu-Jitsu.

“I fell in love with it,” he recalled.

“One thing led to another.”

He got his nickname from the movie Boondock Saints and his use of its theme song, Blood of Cu Chulainn, as his walk-up music for his first pro MMA bout.

UFC president Dana White has generated controversy with his unsuccessful attempts to end the shutdown and hold events during the pandemic, including statements that he was looking into staging fights on a “private island.”

White earlier announced that he was canceling UFC 249, set for a California casino resort, under orders from event broadcaster ESPN and ESPN’s parent company, Disney.

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