Aaron "Tauzemup" Tau is a Māori MMA fighter following the paths Dan Hooker, Shane Young and Kai-Kara France.
This month he will make his professional debut on one of the biggest fight nights in Auckland, fighting on one of the bouts on the King in the Ring event later this month. "Just to have the opportunity to be in the atmosphere that they create, I'm so grateful. Yeah it's a stepping stone for me. We'll go out there and show them what we do, from there we'll let the coaches sort out what's coming next," he says. One of his coaches, is Dan Hooker, won the King in the Ring tournament in 2013.
Entering the fight world is where the Ngāti Toro fighter has always wanted to be, "I grew up up north, the naughty north they call it, a place called Rāhiri," he says, "grew up in the old school rough ways. So you sort out your differences man to man, or toe to toe they called it. I always wanted to be a fighter, or learn how to fight."
Aaron Tau (right) is preparing to turn professional at the end of this month. Photo/file
He moved to Australia as a 15 year old, where he took up Jiu-Jitsu. After 10 years living in Australia, Tau says his wairua was beginning to yearn for home. At the around the same time Hooker was launching his "Hangman Mentorship" program, where one participant would win a year's training with Hooker. Tau says "you travel the world, and no matter where you go, [there is] no place like home, especially New Zealand." He applied for the program, and flew to Auckland in October last year, where the participants were put through a nine hour long training session, "it was brutal," Tau says, "and fortunately for me I got through."
He says his preparation for his first professional fight isn't too different from his previous 5 amateur bouts, (4 wins, 1 loss), "I just put my work in in the gym. Do everything they [coaches] tell me to do, and if on the night I'm not the man that get's his hand raised then that just gives me things to work on."
Aaron "Tauzemup" Tau says "in two years time, I'm going to be 5-0, doing my thing" and is hopeful that in 5 years time he has a UFC contract, "heading for that belt. Nothing else I want more than to show that our people can be above them all,"
Aaron Tau wants to be in the UFC in 5 years time. Photo/file
The King of the Ring tournament will take place on the 30th of March in Kohimārama, Auckland.