Interview: Undefeated Jack Shore ready for long-awaited return to UFC Octagon

Undefeated UFC bantamweight Jack Shore is finally ready to step in the Octagon again after a nearly nine-month layoff. He will face Hunter Azure on Saturday, April 10, on the UFC on ABC 2 card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Shore spoke with Fight Night Picks’ John Hyon Ko during a 20-minute interview to discuss the visa issues that stymied his November fight with Khalid Taha, his upcoming fight with Azure and what he hopes for next in a stacked UFC bantamweight division.

Shore was scheduled to fight on Nov. 7 in Vegas against Taha. But when he went to London to get his U.S. visa, the embassy was closed. The next time he could schedule an appointment to compete for the first time in the United States was the day he intended to fly out. Hoping to reschedule it for later in the month, the UFC couldn’t find an opponent for Shore and he was forced to put an end to a four-month long fight camp. Shore opted to wait on his next fight so he could get a proper camp in.

“Sixteen weeks of fight camp is a long time to be putting your body through the ringer,” Shore said. “It was more of a selfish decision on my part. If I jumped straight back into fight camp for December or January, I was going to burn out.”

After a more relaxing December, Shore was diagnosed with COVID-19 in January. He wasn’t fully healthy for multiple weeks. Eventually, the UFC finally found an opponent for Shore in the 9-1 Azure, who will step into the Octagon with him on April 10.

“He’s not the most technical striker in the world, but when he throws he tries to knock your block off,” Shore said. “When you’re fighting someone who is not the most orthodox but throws from crazy and with 100 percent intention, that’s a dangerous guy.”

At the end of the day, Shore believes his fight IQ will separate him from Azure and lead to his 14th straight win and third in the UFC. Shore predicted a second- or third-round knockout.

“Fight IQ is where I think I’m levels above,” Shore said. “What’s ultimately going to win me this fight is my ability to adapt and think on my feet. It’s got to be a very smart fight for me.”

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