Adam Shelley Continuing Team KF Legacy By Taking Cage Warriors Route
Team KF’s Adam Shelley (1-1) is set to make his Cage Warriors debut this Friday when he takes on Steven Hooper (5-4) in a lightweight contest at CW135 in Manchester. In doing so, the 28-year-old will follow the footsteps of his coaches and teammates who came before him to don the yellow gloves.
Since switching from Taekwondo to MMA, the route has been clear for the former World Champion striker:
“For me, starting out in [Team] KF, Cage Warriors was the first major goal” Shelley explains.
Though Shelley will make the walk under the promotional banner for the first time as a pro, his first 4 amateur fights were on Cage Warriors undercards and “Academy” shows. It became a familiar setting to the Dubliner:
“With Cage Warriors, I went over and fought there twice as an amateur on the undercard of their pros. I was over cornering people from the gym. So, I got to see the whole run[ning] of the place, and I was like ‘this is where I want to make my run in my professional career’!”
Team KF head coach Chris Fields is a former Cage Warriors middleweight champion. As is team captain James Webb. UFC veteran Cathal Pendred went undefeated in the promotion. Irish MMA pioneer Aisling Daly, another Cage Warriors alumnus.
For today’s generation of Team KF fighters, the path was already paved. As you step into the Swords-based gym, memories of the promotion are unavoidable.
“For us, the natural thing is to look up. So, if you look up to Chris [Fields], Cathal [Pendred], James [Webb]. Them three, they did the Cage Warriors route. For Chris and Cathal, obviously Cathal got to the UFC, Chris got very close. James got the belt. So, I suppose the atmosphere is in the gym nearly. There’s Cage Warriors belts hung up on the wall, there’s pictures of Cage Warriors, there’s a lot of talk about Cage Warriors”
“When I first started, just hearing Cage Warriors, Cage Warriors. What’s Cage Warriors? I started looking into it, saw all the names that came through there. Obviously, McGregor. A lot of the successful Irish people who made it into UFC. The yellow gloves. So, that’s just where it came from I think.”
At 28-years-old, Shelley is keen to hit the ground running. With goals of signing for the UFC by 30, he knows that he needs to face a level of competition that will immediately prepare him for what could be to come should he reach those heights. For Shelley, that competition wears yellow gloves.
“When you compare it to UFC, a Cage Warriors main card, in my opinion, is on par with UFC prelims”
Andy Stevenson is an MMA writer, interviewer, and occasional podcaster based in Dublin, Ireland.