Cage Warriors latest flyweight signing Aaron Aby, has had a journey in MMA that can not be described as anything less than remarkable.
The Welsh 125lber has battled Cystic Fibrosis since birth, a condition that can be life-shortening for some and affects the respiratory and digestive systems of those born with it.
If this was not incredible in itself, Aby has also battled Cancer on his way to signing for Cage Warriors.
Speaking about how much it meant to him to sign to Cage Warriors, Aby mentions how it was something he always held onto while battling his illness: “One of the reasons signing for Cage Warriors means so much to me is that while I was ill, one of the surgeons told me I had to write my will for my family and to be prepared for the fact I might not come out of these operations.
“I always held onto the chance of fighting and it was always a driving force for me when I was having those bad days.
“Ian Dean had messaged me at the time I was unwell offering me a fight, and when I explained my situation to him, he told me that there would be a pair of yellow gloves waiting for me for when I come out the other side.
“My aim is to show people with Cystic Fibrosis or any condition that if this is the hand you’re given, it’s the best way to play it after that that matters.”
Aby also tells the story of how his friend Tim Barnett gave him a shout out after his main event fight in Liverpool, just a week before Aby was due to have surgery which he had been told would be “life and death”, and how seeing the packed arena full of fans gave him a visual target for where he wanted to be once he had recovered.
Now he has signed for Cage Warriors, Aby has his sights set on the gold and has a confidence boost in already having a win over current Cage Warriors flyweight, Conor Hignett, saying: “It gives me confidence and Conor (Hignett) has been doing well in the division.
“It’s an exciting division and one of the reasons I signed for Cage Warriors is because I believe that I can compete with the best and that they have the best division in Europe.”
Aby has already attracted the attention of current flyweight champion Jake Hadley, who called him out on Twitter shortly after the news of his signing was released, which aby acknowledges with a smile and says “it’s good to have the attention coming from the champ”.