JACK Shore will look to build on an incredible 2019 when he takes to the octagon at UFC London – and the Gwent fighter already has his sights set on a dream American debut next, writes Jason Batty.

Shore joins stablemate and fellow Abertillery ace Jack Marshman on The O2 show next month, with the former going up against Brazil’s Geraldo de Freitas in his second UFC outing.

Formally known as one of Europe’s hottest prospects, Shore propelled himself onto the global stage last year when he made a perfect UFC debut in Denmark.

Not only did the former Cage Warriors bantamweight world champion beat Nohelin Hernandez in style, he also collected a performance of the night bonus.

“The whole year was good,” reflects Shore, who is coached by dad Richard in Aberbeeg. “The Cage Warriors title defence, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and the UFC debut.

“The debut was the biggest one, I had been working towards that since I was a kid.

“Obviously when you get there, you try to push further and further, but to see you have signed to the UFC, got the win and the bonus, it couldn’t have gone any better.

“That was the highlight of the year.”

This time around, unbeaten Shore gets the comfort of fighting in the UK alongside Marshman and Swansea’s John Phillips – it’s the first time three Welsh fighters have fought on the same UFC card.

It’s yet another step forward for Shore and a huge leap for Welsh mixed martial arts.

Shore has fought at the O2 before while with Cage Warriors, but that was at the smaller venue inside the Greenwich complex.

“I fought at the indigo at The 02 so it’ll be nice to get the upgrade,” he added. “I’m very excited to be on the card.

“I saw somewhere that I was on the main card, but I’m happy wherever I am on the card.

“The O2 is a historic venue in the UK, all the big events happen there, so it will be great to get in and show them what Jack Shore is all about.”

Another win on March 21 will see Shore rise further up the ranks, but standing in his way is first-degree black belt De Freitas.

Shore, however, feels he is a level above his Brazilian opponent, who has never been stopped.

“As good as his grappling is, I think he is more of a jiu-jitsu grappler than an MMA grappler.

“My style of grappling translates to MMA better than anybody else in the division.

“I think if I can get that top position, get my shots off and get my movement going, I think anybody in the division will struggle with me.”

Praise has recently been heaped on Shore by past and present fighters, even UFC president Dana White has been keeping tabs on the Gwent star.

Shore has a huge following in Wales and hopes to extend this to America as soon as July for the UFC’s annual marquee event in international fight week, providing he gets past De Freitas first.

“They have a lot of faith in what I bring to the table,” he said. “They can see I have a lot of potential, I bring a big following. They can see what direction I can get.

“Fingers crossed they can keep that faith in me, and I can prove them right again, keep climbing that ladder and then hopefully we can fight in America by the end the year.

“A Vegas card would be nice!”