A nine-year-old who weighs just 25kg is believed to be the world’s youngest cage fighter.
Despite being just 4ft 3ins (about 1,3m) tall, Alfie Williams won his first fight in only 22 seconds and has since emerged triumphant in 15 out of 20 bouts.
The youngster, from Stoke-on-Trent, in the UK, frequently faces up to opponents much larger and older than him and is determined to one day become a world champion MMA fighter like Conor McGregor.
Proud dad Chris said the sport has transformed his son from an obnoxious loudmouth to a disciplined and focused young man.
"Alfie absolutely loves cage fighting. He hates bullying and always stands up for his mates.
“If it came to it he could take a good hit and give a good hit. He can get me in a headlock very easily. But the sport teaches him respect, so I know he’d only do that as a last resort.
"He's a very active child but the sport has brought a huge amount of discipline to him.”
Chris said Alfie has always been a competitive and sporty child who first started kickboxing at the age of four.
Moving on to taekwondo at age six, Alfie became a world champion in the martial art in his age category but he quickly tired of the sport.
In April 2018, Alfie started to attend training sessions at Gladiator MMA Gym in Stoke-on-Trent, run by his now-mentor and trainer, Ross Pointon, a former MMA champion in his own right.
“Alfie came to me almost a year ago. He's become so much more outgoing. He's become so much braver. He loves the sport and he's so passionate about it. He's such a strong young man. I have so much respect for him and all the children who walk towards that cage,” Pointon said.
"He comes here after school five times a week and is here for almost two hours at a time. He's become more focused, fitter, stronger and more confident. We don’t just teach him how to fight but also life skills.”
After four months of training, Alfie took part in his first MMA fight in June last year – and incredibly, won the bout in just 22 seconds.
Chris said despite its reputation, the sport has completely transformed his mini McGregor – and has hit out at accusations he's a bad dad for letting Alfie fight.
"He enjoys the sport and learns so much from it. I take him training and to all his competitions,” Chris said.
“Ross has taught him discipline and self-respect but also respect [for] other people. Alfie seems a lot more together than most kids his age."
Source: Magazine Features