MIXED martial arts star Josh Reed believes missing out on the Celtic Warriors bantamweight crown to Nathaniel Wood two years ago was something of a blessing in disguise.

Reed, pictured, was being talked about as a possible UFC recruit when, boasting a perfect 7-0 pro record, he suffered a first-round defeat by Wood at the O2 in September 2017.

And while he’s lost three of his five contests since, the 28-year-old reckons he is in a much better position to take on the mantle of champion and the potentially lucrative rewards that come with it.

After losing to Switzerland’s Marko Kovacevic in a one-night, four-man tournament last month – he would have fought for the title again had he won – Reed meets Croatian Ivan Zidar (5-2) tonight.

Blaenavon’s Reed hopes victory on the Cage Warriors 108 show in Cardiff will put him on the road to another crack at that bantamweight strap.

Reflecting on that clash with Wood, he said: “I’m one of those guys that believes everything happens for a reason.

“I could have won title, signed to the UFC, because there was talk about them being interested in me, had two fights and got smashed.

“I’d only had seven professional fights up to that point, but I believe I’m much more experienced these days.

“If I got the call now then I’d be more prepared to make the jump – and the jump to the UFC is incredible.”

As for landing a second title opportunity, he added: “You’ve probably got to put three wins together to then be in the frame for a title fight.

“The division is quite open as other organisations have been signing fighters, so the numbers aren’t what they used to be.”