Kiwi kickboxer Israel Adesanya wants to return to the Glory circuit before the end of the year but he has some business to tend to closer to home this weekend.
The 25-year-old lost a unanimous decision to Filip Verlinden in his debut with Glory - the world's biggest kickboxing promotion - in Istanbul in April. But after picking up his 33rd career win over Charles August via TKO at a Knees of Fury event in Adelaide a month later, Adesanya went back to training to refocus.
The result was a 16-week camp to build towards tomorrow's King in the Ring at ASB Stadium in Auckland where eight cruiserweights (86kg) will do battle in a knockout format to crown a champion.
You need to fight three times in a night to win it and Adesanya has been telling anybody who will listen that he thinks he will have his hand raised at the end of the evening.
"I feel like the favourite," the 33-2 Adesanya said. "I feel like the guy to beat because all the guys want to beat me ... I feel ready."
Even defending champion T.Y. Williams, a surprise winner of the inaugural tournament in April last year, conceded Adesanya was a clear favourite.
"I feel like Israel is the guy to beat. He's been around the world and he's been around a lot longer than myself, anyway."
Despite conceding favouritism, Williams (9-1) refused to roll over and give up his crown without a fight and said his speed and range would be his biggest weapons this weekend.
"I think I'm doing alright."
Outside of Adesanya and Williams, Auckland's Slava Alexeichik will be a dangerous prospect and he boasts a 24-6 record with 12 wins coming via knockout.
Fighters will be split in to two pools - top four and bottom four - and will draw an opponent from the opposite group at the beginning of the evening; from there, you survive and advance. The event will be televised live on Sky and Australia's Fuel TV.
In between the eight-man tournament bouts, there will be a collection of other fights, including Kiwi heavyweight Antz Nansen - who beat Hasim Raham in June's Super 8 boxing tournament - in a transtasman clash with Australian Alofa Solitua.
Meanwhile, Glory last held a show in June and have been ironing out aspects of their television contracts recently. They also appointed Jon Franklin as their new chief executive two weeks ago.
Adesanya has one fight left on his contract with the promotion and although he is pencilled in for a bout in China next month and other engagements in October and November, Glory would come first.
"We are going to have to drop whatever we do or reschedule for Glory," he said.
King in the Ring - The Cruiserweights
T.Y. Williams (9-1, Alpha Muay Thai) - Defending Champion
Pati 'The Arsenal' Afoa (26-12-1, Elite Thai Kickboxing)
Zack 'Fearless' Fatamaka (8-5, Grizzly Thai Boxing)
Israel 'The Style Bender' Adesanya (33-2, City Kickboxing)
Zane 'Hybrid' Hopman (15-1, Fortitude Thai Boxing)
Slava 'Scarface' Alexeichik (24-6, City Lee Gar)
Andrew 'Bulldog' Banham (28-21-2, Jackals Gym)
Jamie 'The Kyokushin Kid' Eades (13-5, ETK North)