In November last year Jamie Mullarkey was having the BRACE featherweight belt wrapped around his waist. Nearly 12 months on and the central coast local is back in the mix looking to defend his title and continue to cement himself as one of the best in the division locally.

The pressure to perform, and win, is always at the forefront of a fighters thoughts; never-mind the fact that there is a group of hungry fighters snapping at their heels to take what one has worked effortlessly and tirelessly to obtain. Mullarkey however remains unphased by the line of opponents looking to dethrone him and is focused purely on putting on a better performance than his last outing.

“It adds a little bit of pressure but I only put that pressure on myself really. It’s not from anyone else. I do that regardless of being the champion and I always want my next performance to be better than the last. I really think my best performances are yet to come.”

Mullarkey’s last fight was against Alex Volkanovski. “The Hulk” is widely considered the best featherweight in the country and has put together a 10-fight win streak over the last three years. The two met at AFC 15 in March in what was a highly anticipated title fight to see who would be crowned the AFC champion – the veteran or the new kid on the block.

Whilst the night didn’t go as planned for Mullarkey, he suffered his first loss via a first round knock out, he did take away plenty of lessons.

“There was lots of different lessons learnt from that fight. I won’t really go into to many of them…put it this way I took so much more away from that loss than all my wins put together.

“You will 100% see a better version of Jamie this weekend,”Mullarkey said.

Standing in his way is Luke Catubig, a 5″9 bundle of power.

Catubig made his BRACE debut back in March in spectacular fashion, knocking out Kris Spence in a trademark first round demolition job. While Catubig’s career has been inconsistent to say the least, Mullarkey recognises the threat unpredictable opponents pose once that cage door closes.

“He’s a really dangerous opponent. Those guys that can be hot and cold can sometimes end up being more dangerous than others. I’m not taking him lightly at all because when he’s on, he is on.

“I think the reason I’m going to win is because I’m more well rounded. I’m better in every aspect of the game. I’ve got an answer for him wherever the fight goes but if I could choose a way to finish the fight, I think it’s going to be a knock out.

“To be honest, when it comes to all these featherweights in this tournament, I’m just on another level.”

Catch all the action live from AIS Arena, Canberra on 13 August or on UFC Fight Pass from 2pm (AEST). Tickets available through TicketTek.