ABERTILLERY fighter Jack Shore is fuelled by becoming a history-maker when he makes his long-awaited return to the octagon on UFC's Fight Island next week, writes Jason Batty.

The 25-year-old will take on American Aaron Phillips at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, July 15.

Bantamweight Shore's last fight was his UFC debut in September when he moved to 12-0 and earned performance of the night for his win against Nohelin Hernandez.

A March fight in London was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading the Welshman to jump at the chance to return to action in the middle east.

Yas Island is home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but will welcome fighters rather than drives for MMA events throughout July.

"There are 90-odd fighters over the four cards," said Shore. "When we look back in years to come, not every fighter will say they had the chance to fight on an island in the middle of Abu Dhabi so it's definitely motivating to put my name in the history books."

The UFC has continued to stage events behind closed doors in Las Vegas but international fighters have been impeded by travel restrictions.

That led to UFC president Dan White creating a 10-square mile bubble in Abu Dhabi, including purpose-built infrastructure such as medical centres, high-spec training facilities and even an octagon on the beach.

Yet Shore was nearly denied a place at Fight Island after his original opponent, Brazilian Anderson Dos Santos, tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.

Luckily the UFC were able to find a replacement in Phillips (12-3) and the Gwent fighter can get back in the swing of things.

South Wales Argus:

"I don't like these long lay-offs, 10 months between fights is way to long for me, it's going to be nice to get back to do what I do best," said Shore.

"We are all in the same boat, boys aren't training how they usually would. We can't mix with other teams and there's no groupings before the fight.

"I'm pretty sure we can't leave the room unless it's going to the training area. It's only going to be us in the training area. You probably won't have the same buzz around fight week because you can't interact with the other fighters.

"It is what it is. I'm just happy to get matched up and fight, it feels like forever since I been in there."

The Bantamweight division is seeking a new king since Henry Cejudo vacated the belt meaning Jose Aldo will take on Petr Yan for the gold strap at Fight Island.

The 135lb division is currently one of the most competitive but Shore is not looking any further than opponent Phillips and remains focused on himself.

"I'm just over the moon that it's all sign and sealed and confirmed," he said. "I want to get my head into that place, into that zone where we only get to go a few times a year.

"I'm feeling good, I'm happy to get back in there. I know I'm fit, strong and the weight's good. I know I can go in there on a shorter camp and still perform."