Cape Town - EFC legend and former heavyweight champion Andrew van Zyl says his “time is almost up” in professional mixed martial arts.
A teacher by day at Parktown Boys’ High School, Van Zyl also happens to be South African MMA royalty with a granite jaw perhaps as impressive as his 17-year career in the cage.
The 36-year-old has defended the strap three times across two reigns and traded blows with ex-UFC fighters such as Cyril Asker (9-4) and Ruan Potts (11-6) among other accomplishments in the sport.
‘One Gear”s fans, however, will be disappointed to hear he is nearing the end.
“My time is almost up,” Van Zyl told mmaengage.com when asked if retirement is in sight.
He gave little else away, as he currently focuses his efforts on seeing off Stuart Austin (12-5) on the main card of EFC 76 at Time Square in Pretoria on Saturday night.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt likes the match-up and expects the Englishman to favour a ground-based attack.
“Bar Jared Vanderaa, Stuart is the best athlete in the division. I asked for the best, I’m getting what I asked for,” Van Zyl said.
“I think Stuart is a good, all-round athlete capable of handling himself everywhere.
“I don’t think he is going to want to stand too long in the fight.
“Stuart is going to try get on top to finish via submission or ground-and-pound. I will be looking to do the same.
“It’s going to be a good battle.”
Van Zyl, who has never been knocked out or TKO’d in 23 fights, added: “I think we match up quite nicely as in we are both well-rounded athletes.
“I think I’m more robust and he is a little more refined.”
Van Zyl aims to bounce back from relinquishing the crown via a majority decision to Dalcha Lungiambula (9-1) in his previous outing in June.
He says the two-division champ offered no surprises, he simply failed to impose his game-plan.
“Not really, I just failed to execute my game-plan at the right times in the fight. I needed to put more pressure on him earlier in the fight.
“He did a lot of stalling in the fight.”
Meanwhile, Van Zyl suspects Vanderaa (7-3) will be too much for Potts when they battle for interim heavyweight honours in the co-main event of EFC 76.
Van Zyl is 1-2 against Potts, while he edged Vanderaa by a questionable split decision prior to losing to Lungiambula.
“I don’t see the fight going
well for Ruan, Jared will be too good for him.”