IT HAS been a memorable few months for Tillery Combat’s Jack Shore, writes Jason Batty.

Having got his hands on the Cage Warriors bantamweight world title last December and then winning fighter of the year, the decorated MMA star from Abertillery has gone from young prospect to selling out Ice Arena Wales and becoming a global champion.

“Not many fighters get to fight for a world title, it’s a small percentage,” he said.

“So, to do it in my back yard in front of 5,000 people was overwhelming, I’m just a young kid from the valleys!”

Shore earned the vacant bantamweight crown in a one-sided mauling of then undefeated prospect Mike Ekundayo.

It was supposed to be Shore’s toughest fight to date, but the Welshman breezed through his opponent, finishing him with a trademark ground and pound.

Questions were asked before the contest as to Shore’s ability to deal with an apparent step up in class.

But young fighter possesses an unshakable self-belief and, to him, it was a formality.

“I pictured it and envisaged it for so long, I always knew that the result was inevitable,” he added.

“In my head, I have been the best in the division in Europe for a year, and when I won the belt, I could finally say it. I earned the label.”

Shore’s stock has risen greatly and his climb up the world rankings has not gone unnoticed.

He has spurned two previous short notice fights in the UFC, electing to stay on the Cage Warriors roster where he remains a poster boy and now a world champion for the promotion.

The Cage Warriors gold strap is usually a ticket to the UFC, but there is no rush for Shore.

“I will see the next three fights out and just analyse the next step from there,” he said.

“If all goes to plan and I get the three wins and keep getting finishes, I can’t see why the UFC won’t come calling.

“I have every confidence that if I keep doing what I’m doing they’ll come, it’s a matter of time.

“For a long time, I have been looking at the UFC and the guys in the bantamweight division and it’s not like I don’t see anything in them, but I know I could compete with all of them, and I can confidently say that.

“I would be happy to go there and fight anyone in the division.”

Next up for Shore is his first title defence against Scotsman Scott Malone at Ice Arena Wales on April 27.

Unbeaten Malone, a Commonwealth judo medallist, will feel comfortable entering the lion’s den having fought on Welsh soil twice before, picking up wins against two of Shore’s teammates.

But for Shore, despite there being an extra incentive, he does not expect emotions to get the better of him.

“It’s just another fight,” he added. “I think he’s well-rounded but he’s going to bring out more of my skills.

“I won’t shy away from wrestling despite his judo background – it will be nice to even beat him at his own game.

“He has the judo accolades but don’t be surprised to see me in the top position.”