Before Ronda Rousey was snapping arms in the UFC, she was cutting her teeth alongside a large group of amateur fighters that all got their start by way of Tuff-N-Uff, a top-rated promotion run out of Las Vegas.
Tuff-N-Uff is widely considered the top amateur promotion in MMA, but this Friday its latest show will go under an entirely different kind of spotlight.
The card taking place at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas has been promoted as part of the UFC 162 International Fight Week festivities, which means more fans than ever will pour into the show to watch the future stars of MMA compete.
"It's pretty crazy but we're fully equipped to handle the craziness. We look really forward to impressing the UFC and all of our fans that will be in attendance," Jeff Meyer, founder and president of Tuff-N-Uff told Bleacher Report. "Obviously, a lot of the UFC brass will be coming."
It's pretty routine to see some of the UFC's top stars flanking a Tuff-N-Uff show on all sides, whether they attend as fans or to corner up-and-coming fighters that are appearing on the shows.
This time around with the UFC helping to promote the event, Meyer expects the intensity to be ratcheted up even more than usual.
"We expect that this show will be our biggest attended event, so it puts pressure on us to put on a really quality show and it gives the fighters the extra drive in training and their personal lives to give their best," Meyer said. "This is going to be our biggest show, and fighters can definitely feel that too. The pressure's on."
The UFC support helps Tuff-N-Uff exponentially with exposure, but also with acceptance by fans that their show really is the top place for amateurs to compete. With MMADraft holding its first ever amateur combine at the UFC Fan Expo, along with the show on Friday night, the young fighters of the world will take center stage for much of this fight weekend.
"To be perfectly honest, it's a dream come true to be associated with the UFC. Let's call it their stamp of approval with their logo all over our collateral," Meyer stated. "It's an amazing experience for us to be a part of and we think there will be just a regular who's who there from the MMA world, but because we have the pleasure of being promoted by the UFC for this Friday, we expect the list of VIPs will be through the roof."
The talent showcased at the Tuff-N-Uff card will be a collection of fighters that probably all hope to one day make it to the UFC, so this is prime time to show off to the executives and other veterans watching on Friday night.
Meyer expects big things from his fighters because they put together one of their most stacked cards ever to ensure everyone in attendance, including the UFC fighters, managers and executives, all get their money's worth.
"I'm expecting this will be probably be one of our best cards ever," Meyer stated. "This one eclipses all the others—we've got five title fights, two female bouts on the card and the level of talent that you'll see has grown so fast. The athletes competing, it's hard to tell sometimes whether they are still amateurs or pros."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.