Kelvin Joseph is just days away from the fight of his life.
Having retired from MMA in 2018, the undefeated Tauranga-based fighter planned to step away from the cage. That was until he got the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to face Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Roan Carneiro, whose professional career started in 2000 and includes bouts for Shine Fights, DEEP, the UFC and several Ultimate Glory events.
It also meant having the chance to claim a world title, on home ground.
Theirs will be the main event of the Kickboxing and MMA World Cup event in Auckland on Saturday, fighting for the WKN MMA Middleweight title.
"I've fought the main event for the last couple of years as a NZ champ but to fight someone from Brazil from the UFC, I guess it's something that I could never say no to. I came out of retirement for this opportunity," Joseph says.
"I retired because of, you know, I blew my knee out quite bad.
The opportunity to fight someone of this calibre is something that we wait for our whole lives, you know to fight for a world title, you can't say no."
Carneiro is a fighter Joseph has looked up to for years and after recovering from knee surgery earlier this year, he's been working hard to prepare, spending a couple of weeks in a training camp in Thailand and a lot of sparring with Kiwi UFC fighter Daniel Preston Hooker.
"[Thailand] was just a good test on the legs you know, just a lot of hard sparring every day.
"To fight someone that I've looked up to for so many years is a great opportunity for me as well you know I'm a big fan of Roan's. He was already like a legend when I was still getting into MMA so you know, it's quite daunting.
Tauranga's Kelvin Joseph recovering for MMA title tilt
'I'd much rather win the championship than have 100 games'
"I'm preparing as best as I can for that."
The hardest part, he says, has been finding people to train with. He's had the same trouble finding fighters to come up against in his career.
"Dan has been very important in this training camp and he's in my corner as well so he brings a wealth of experience."
"He's a great fighter with heaps of experience at the highest level and someone that I have a tremendous amount of respect for."
"We've had a lot of pull outs and things like that in the past but I know one thing that this guy's not going to pull out.
"He's coming to fight that's for sure."
However, Joseph's own experience is enough to provide confidence in his own ability.
"I'm always feeling confident. I'm still undefeated and I think I know how to win. I feel like there are going to be different levels to it and you know we'll see ... and I'll keep trying to raise the level and whatever level he brings, I'll bring another level on top of it.
The son of a boxing champion, Joseph, a Roger Gracie-trained fighter, says he feels like he's been in training his whole life.
"Pretty much my whole life I've done this so it kind of feels like it's all been leaning towards this world title fight."
In the lead up to the big day, Joseph's training is slowing down and he expects to drop about 7kg for the fight.
Once it's over, he's unsure whether he'll fight again.
"It's just whether or not I can sort of go through it again and stuff because, as my children are getting older, it's more and more responsibilities to them, and my club as well.
"I've got to focus on coaching my students and giving them my best and unfortunately, as much as it's wonderful fighting, it's quite selfish in a lot of ways because I've got to focus on myself so much, so a lot of other parts of my life unfortunately slip a little bit."
"My club is very supportive and I've had a lot of good students who have stepped up to run classes for me while I take time and go train."
But if he does fight again, Joseph says it will have to be an opportunity too good to miss.
"For me to fight again, I always say no more but then people laugh at me because I always end up doing another one, so once I get past this you know, who knows what happens? Id Dana White rings me up and offers me a lot of money I'll probably say yes."
Kickboxing and MMA World Cup:
Main Event: Kelvin 'Crazyhorse Joseph v Roan 'Jucao Carneiro.
Saturday, November 30.
Eventfinda Stadium, Auckland.
Tickets available from: eventfinda.co.nz