‘Dreams do come true’ for Nanakuli’s Pitolo after earning UFC contract


Nanakuli fighter Maki Pitolo had his dreams come true this week. On Tuesday he put on a show in Dana White’s Contender Series that earned him a UFC contract.

“Probably one of the biggest emotional roller coasters I’ve been on,” said Pitolo, who trains with the likes of Max Holloway. “It’s the biggest interview they were saying, and it really felt that way. You’re walking out and you only hear your family. Then it gets quiet. Then you cheering when action is going on and then it gets quiet again. Once the victory came and we sealed the deal, that’s when it really hyped up and everybody was going off the hinges. It was awesome.”

Pitolo finished his opponent Justin Sumter with a barrage of body punches in the first round. He improved to 12-4 in his pro career and is now on a three fight winning streak.

“Words couldn’t explain what I was feeling,” said Pitolo about the moment after he won. “It was crazy. I saw my wife. I saw my kid. I saw my family that came out, flew all the way from home. Just making the rounds, making sure I see everybody. Then finally saw the big man himself. That’s when I jumped up on the cage and was like ‘Yo this is what you wanted, killers. Just killed the guy. Let’s go. Don’t hold back. Gimme that contract. Let’s get the show rolling.”

After the card wrapped up Dana White capped off one of the more dramatic events in the UFC by handing out a contract into the elite MMA organization. But Pitolo was on edge leading up to the bout, something he wants to improve, going forward.

“I can overcome anything,” said Pitolo. “My emotions was kind of… I lost control of my emotions. The butterflies in my stomach was way more crazy than any other fight that I’ve had. So really focusing on my mind. Relying on my training. Know that all my hard work and dedication that I put in will really pay off in that moment and in that time.”

“Dreams do come true. And I’m super stoked that I’m in here. Just to label myself as a UFC fighter, it’s what I’ve been working for. Now the goal is get bigger. Dreams get bigger and it’s time to chase them even more now. Dig deep. Put the heels in the sand and let’s go.”

There is no announcement yet on when Pitolo’s first UFC fight will be.

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