CAGE Warriors world champion Mason Jones doesn’t want to waste any time getting back in the octagon and defending his lightweight crown after an emotional and “surreal” night in Manchester, writes Jason Batty.

The 24-year-old from Blaenavon collected the famous golden strap with a stunning first-round stoppage of Northern Ireland’s Joe McColgan at a behind-closed-doors BEC Arena show.

Jones became Wales’ fourth Cage Warriors world champion after Jack Marshman, Brett Johns and Jack Shore, all of whom were rewarded with UFC deals following their title successes.

And Jones (9-0) doesn’t want to be away from the limelight for too long, although when he will be able to strut his stuff again remains to be seen given the coronavirus pandemic.

Cage Warriors 116 is booked for Cardiff’s Viola Arena on June 13 when Jones is expected to defend his crown for the first time.

South Wales fighters Oban Elliott, Josh Reed and Ben Ellis are among those lined up for the promotion.

The Cage Warriors belt is known as a gateway to the big stage, with stars like Michael Bisping and Conor McGregor, who owned the same lightweight belt, going on to claim UFC silverware.

Unbeaten Jones has been working towards his dream of starring on the biggest stage since he was a young boy, but his goals go beyond simply getting a UFC contract.

“I just want to fight!” he said. “I’m hoping we can get passed this virus as soon as possible so we can get back to normal.

“I’m hoping I get to fight in June and then I would love to fight as many times as I can until the UFC come calling.”

It was one of Jones’ finest performances in Manchester against a durable McColgan.

Not phased by a late switch of opponent and change of venue, Jones stuck to his game plan and made quick work of the Northern Irishman.

“We noticed he was always open to upper cuts and knees, as long as I kept working and put the pressure on and started to hurt him,” he added. “I just kept working that front leg.

“I caught him with a left hook and that was the beginning of the end for him.

“He started to flinch away from my punches a bit more and as soon as the pressure went on, I caught him with the upper cut and knee, and that was that.

“Everything went to plan perfectly, it went as I expected.”

Moved from London to Manchester, fights shuffled and changed due to flight restrictions, it was remarkable Cage Warriors managed make the show a success and cater for its fighters and fans.

Being behind closed doors meant fighters were only allowed into the locker room shortly before their bout and they had to leave immediately afterwards.

Jones remained focused and undeterred by any of this, even not having his fans and family there to celebrate with him.

“I just enjoy fighting,” he said. “I didn’t really notice the fans weren’t there!

“It was different because normally I have huge Welsh support, normally they are there screaming and shouting.

“It was a surreal experience. The only feeling better than getting the belt in the cage was giving it to my parents afterwards and seeing the emotion on their faces.

“This has been the first fight in a while where I didn’t critique myself too much. Usually I pick holes in my game.

“It was the Dragon’s night – it was the Dragon’s destiny.”

Meanwhile, also on the Manchester show, Gwent's Kris Edwards lost to Englishman James Hendin via a unanimous points decision.