Mixed martial arts star Scott Askham’s Hemsworth gym is going from strength to strength with the sport going through a boom in popularity in recent months.
Askham and his wife, Ella, opened the ASW Hemsworth gym, above The Alpha pub on Southmoor Road, only last October and already they have a second fighter joining Scott in making it up to the UFC ranks with his training partner, Marc Diakiese, recently signing with the mixed martial arts promotion.
The former BAMMA champion is considered a good prospect and is being lined up for his first UFC contest soon.
“The gym in Hemsworth is going really well,” Askham told the Express.
“We’ve just had Marc Diakiese signing for UFC as well so we’ve got Yorkshire’s only two UFC fighters in the one gym.
“It’s massive for the local area and shows what can be achieved.”
Askham, meanwhile, is pleased to be playing his part in giving mixed martial arts more attention nationally as well as locally and has seen how much UFC is gaining in popularity.
He said: “The sport’s growing at a rapid rate.
“The rise of Conor McGregor and what he is doing for the sport is unbelievable.
“He is bringing a lot of attention to the sport and you hear a lot more about UFC on the radio and TV and everything – and this is happening in a short space of time.
“All kids talk about now is MMA, but when I was a kid MMA didn’t even exist. I was 19 years old when I knew what it was.
“So imagine when that generation comes through, another 20 years time I wonder how big it’s going to be then because all they know is UFC and MMA.
“The growth in the sport is really good to watch and it’s an exciting time to be in UFC.”
Askham has ambitions to be up there with the likes of McGregor and current middleweight world champion Michael Bisping and sees his latest fight against Sweden’s Jack Hemansson as a stepping stone towards his goal.
He added: “My aim is to keep winning and keep that momentum.
“I started off in UFC with a loss, which obviously is never a good thing, so I’ve never got that momentum behind me. But obviously I got that big knockout win last time and I just want to keep the wins coming – who knows what can happen then.
“I feel that I’ve got the right team around me now to do that so I’ve got to keep working hard and who knows it could take me anywhere.
“Every fighter’s goal is to get that title shot. If you are not in for that then I don’t know why they are in it.
“It’s my dream to be a world champion, of course. Michael Bisping’s just become the first British UFC champion and he always says he is just a normal guy who works hard. I’m exactly the same, I’m just a normal guy who works hard and in a few years time, who knows, I could be in that picture for a title shot.
“Every fight is a step towards that goal and I’ve got to keep winning. If I can do it in a fashion like I did in my last fight it can move me forward even faster.”
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