WHILE Wales hooker Elliot Dee is gearing up for a World Cup quarter-final Down Under, former team-mate Jordan Peake has a big head-to-head of his own to look forward to today.

Peake, from Cwmbran, played alongside front-row forward Dee, as well as the likes of Ashton Hewitt and Ethan Davies, when they were members of the Dragons academy.

Since then, Dee has gone on to shine for the Rodney Parade region at senior level and make a name for himself on the international stage with 24 caps and counting.

As for 24-year-old Peake, he decided the oval ball wasn’t for him, opting instead to follow in the footsteps of dad Andrew and focus on combat sports – Peake Snr was a successful amateur boxer.

After starting with jiu-jitsu and grappling under the tutelage of Carl Parker, Peake turned his attention to mixed martial arts, utilising the knowledge of Tillery Combat supremo Richard Shore.

Five consecutive wins as an amateur was followed by his first defeat, a points loss to fellow Welshman Danny Williams, and that proved to be Peake’s last outing before joining the pro ranks.

And earlier this year he got his professional career up and running with a second-round stoppage of Brad Evans in Ebbw Vale.

The featherweight fights again tonight, taking on Greece’s Giorgos Giannakidis (0-1) on the preliminary card of Cage Warriors 108 in Cardiff.

But when looking at how far the likes of Dee have progressed, does Peake regret giving up rugby when he did?

“I played for Cwmbran, Dragons U16s, 17s and 18s and Crawshay’s,” said the former winger.

“But it just got to a point where I’d had enough and wanted a change.

“I was in the same academy group as Elliot Dee, Ethan Davies and Ashton Hewitt at the Dragons.

“It’s been great to see them go on and do well, especially Elliot with Wales and now at the World Cup.

“I’ve got no regrets about giving it up because I’m enjoying what I’m doing now.”

He added: “I was in school with Carl’s daughter and she put me in touch with him, and he was my grappling coach.

“I did jiu-jitsu for a year and entered a few competitions, and I had done boxing training, but I didn’t want to box because I enjoyed grappling and jiu-jitsu.

“I’d started off at Carl’s gym in Blaenavon and then I became affiliated with Tillery Combat.”

By day, Peake works at his grandad’s funeral directors in Cwmbran, a job that inspired his MMA nickname.

Jordan ‘The Undertaker’ Peake, like his contemporaries, would love to work his way up to the UFC, and his plan to “just keep winning” will serve him well if he can do exactly that.

Peake is one of several Gwent fighters taking to the octagon at the Viola Arena this evening.

The show is headlined by Mason Jones, while Josh Reed, Cory McKenna and Oban Elliott all feature on the main card.

Abertillery’s Jack Shore will be among the crowd fresh from his UFC debut victory in Denmark.

* Blackwood boxer Craig Evans has seen his eliminator for the British lightweight title against James Tennyson switched from London’s O2 later this month to the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Saturday, November 23.