Australia’s leading MMA promotion returns to the Gold Coast on March 7th for Eternal 65.
Atop of the card stands one of the most highly anticipated matchups in recent memory, with two of the most popular figures on the local Australian MMA scene set to thrill fans with their high-octane style and larger than life personalities.
On paper, Josh Kuhne vs Dimps Gillies is a stand-up enthusiasts dream. Familiar fans will be more than acquainted with both athletes’ penchant for setting a fast and furious pace with their boxing combined with a solid chin – on paper it reads of a paradox in the “unstoppable force meets an immovable object” realm.
Kuhne himself has quickly captured the imagination of local MMA fans across the country, especially on the Gold Coast where he now calls home.
A relentless knockout artist with devastating power and surgical precision, Kuhne has yet to find an opponent who can survive his onslaught beyond the first round. With three wins as an amateur and three wins as a professional, Kuhne has won all of six of his bouts by knockout long before the corner stool is ever needed.
Hot off the news that he will now be represented by management powerhouse – Paradigm Sports, Kuhne spoke with Eternal MMA ahead of the highly touted matchup.
“It’s probably the biggest jump that I’ve made in my career yet,” said Kuhne of his new management.
“Paradigm is top tier management; they take on the biggest stars – the biggest names. So, to have them on my team now working with someone like myself – who invests a lot into myself, to have a team also investing themselves into me, I think it’s just going to be big things on the horizon.”
Prior to an illness sidelining him for a short period, Kuhne was originally slated to compete at Eternal 64 against fellow lightweight – Blake Donnelly. With Donnelly himself now on the sidelines, Kuhne was more than happy to take on a different challenge once he was cleared to fight.
“As soon as I got healthy and was able to get back into the gym, I put my name straight back into the mix for the next available option,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Blake who was the original signed opponent due to an injury of his own, hence why Dimps’ name got thrown into the mix. They’ve (Dimps Gillies’ team) been asking for this fight for a while, so that was the fight to make.
“I think it’s an exciting one, I think it’s the one the fans wanted to see. So, we signed it, we got done.”
The upside of a fight against a fellow fan favourite in Dimps Gillies is far from lost on the man they call “Kamikaze”. With fans eager to see two hardest hitting athletes go head-to-head inside the Eternal cage, Kuhne is just as eager to meet an opponent who many believe will be by far his biggest test to date.
“I think for anyone who’s ever seen Dimps fight and anyone who’s ever seen my fights, it’s a no brainer,” said Kuhne.
“I think it’s just something that people want to see. They want to see what happens when two trains collide, they want to see what happens when two bulls lock horns, they want to see what happens when two savages get locked in a cage.
“We’ve got aggressive styles, we both move forward, we’re both hella-tough. He’s got a chin on him, I’ve got a chin on me, and we both throw hell for leather, how’s that not exciting?
“That’s what fans pay to see. The fans pay to see people like me, they pay to see people like Dimps. We’re the ones who bring that violence, we’re the ones who bring that crowd and bring that noise, so to put us up against each other…? Makes sense.”
A scary prospect for future opponents is that for the most part, Kuhne has achieved so much in a small space of time without the guidance of a dedicated head coach up until now. Former Eternal MMA lightweight and Australian combat sports legend – Brentin Mumford has taken the reigns of Kuhne’s career now that he has retired as a competitor, an alignment that Kuhne feels he is beginning to reap the benefits from.
“It’s massive,” said Kuhne of his new coaching arrangement.
“I’ve probably been blessed in a sense that (until now) I’ve got through my career to where I am on my own account. Obviously there (has been) gym partners and coaches along the way that have helped me.
“But to just have that one voice of reason, just that one voice in my corner and just to have someone game planning and guiding me through my whole camp start to finish, that’s been a game changer.
“I’ve (gained) huge levels in my game from every aspect – setting traps, baiting people, working different angles, the whole lot.
“It’s all coming together. Having one voice, one coach – having Brentin who’s so experienced in the lightweight division – who’s done it all, seen it all, been everywhere and just passing on that wealth of knowledge to me, it’s humbling.”
Time will tell exactly what level Kuhne has reached now that he has a mind like Brentin Mumford in his corner full time, but the benefit of a full training camp with a former title challenger at the helm can surely not be overstated. Now with most of the hard work behind him, Kuhne had a message for ahead of the blockbuster clash for new and old fans alike.
“Expect fireworks. Expect to see two of the toughest dudes in Australia just go in there and beat the shit out of each other (until) one of us comes out with their hand raised.
“At the end of the day, this is a mixed martial arts match and it’s going to be the person with the most well-rounded skill set (who wins).”
“I’ve got Brentin Mumford in my corner, he’s my coach, I’m going to be listening to his voice of guidance. Wherever the fight plays, wherever the fight takes me – it takes me.”
“If it means something else causes the finish and it’s not a knockout? So be it. Maybe it is a sub, maybe it’s not, maybe it goes the distance.
“Let’s just see how it plays out, but I’m not going in there with any intentions to do anything but give it my all.”
Meeting him across the cage in the other half this highly combustible equation will be Eternal MMA mainstay and wildly popular crowd favourite – Dimps Gillies.
A well-travelled veteran of the game with a wealth of experience in combat sports, Gillies will be looking to put his own stamp on what will be his second main event as a professional.
A multiple time “fight of the night” award winner, the NTG Fight and Fitness product never finds himself in a boring fight. Armed with ferocious power, quick hands and slick head movement, Gillies has long held a reputation of being one of the most exhilarating fighters to watch on the Australian MMA regional scene.
Speaking with Eternal MMA, Gillies was as humble as ever as he looked ahead to the match. “A main event is always big,” said Gillies.
“I’m grateful for the platform and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to perform in a main event and share the ring with Josh Kuhne. I’ve admired from the sidelines, from cage-side – I was there for most of his fights.
“I didn’t really think I was going to fight him in my career because I was more just a fan of his work. But my team – they see an opportunity here to get my name (back) at the top again and get the right exposure. All the right eyes should be watching on May 7th.
“It was an opportunity I had to jump at, and it was one that I couldn’t miss.”
Anybody who is familiar with Dimps Gillies will know that it is the stand-up game that he truly lives for. Recent ventures into the world of professional boxing while still have all played a part in honing his craft as an elite striker, with classic boxing traits often on display as he competes as a mixed martial artist.
Asked of the prospect of fighting a fellow stand-up specialist, Gillies was resolute in his enthusiasm for another potential fight of the night contender.
“For sure, I know what to expect. When I say that, I can’t predict anything, but I know it’s going to be a vibe and half for everyone that’s watching and tuning in.”
“Usually, I’m the guy that comes forward and I don’t take a step back. In his perception that’s what he does and in my perception that’s what I do, so it’s going to be hard to say what happens. But I know there’s going to be violence and I know there’s going to be explosive action.
“I’m ready for it and I can’t wait. It does get me out of bed in the morning and it does get my arse to the gym. I’m excited and I’m ready for this matchup.”
A fiercely loyal character by nature, the opportunity to represent his team at NTG Fight and Fitness at any time is something that Gillies doesn’t take for granted. Given the opportunity on the main stage, Gillies is aware of the exposure it creates for his team, and he plans on showing out for his gym regardless of the outcome.
“I believe that loyalty is key, and I am going to keep playing my part and doing my best to perform for my gym. If I don’t win, it doesn’t matter. As long as I lose and it was a fight where I didn’t leave anything in there, I didn’t leave with regrets, I didn’t question myself after.”
“If I can perform even when I lose and put on a show, then I still give that exposure to my team. It’s something that I strive for. To me, it’s more important than winning, but others don’t think like me.”
Fans can rest assured that Dimps Gillies is always coming into the building to put on a show. His humble and sunny disposition is something of a stark contrast to the violence he brings whenever he steps foot inside the confines of the Eternal MMA cage. While Gillies needs no help in turning up for a scrap, it’s the fans in attendance the get him going the most.
“The fans give their energy and that rowdiness, especially in the MMA scene as opposed to the boxing,” he said.
“I love it. When you hear those chants and you hear those cheers and you hear those roars, you’re doing something right. In my head, those people pay good money to come watch us. In my head, if they weren’t paying that money, we wouldn’t have this platform. In my head, they are another prime example of who we are there performing for.”
“I just want to say a big thanks to everyone and anyone who follows the local combat sports scene in Australia and even worldwide – but the local shows mostly because we’re not that big, we’re not that recognised.
“The more people that do tune in, the better it is for everyone involved in the business – the fighters, the promoters, the trainers, the gyms, the coaches and everyone. We all play our part and it’s a part we should play to make we get the best out of combat sports in Australia.”
– Kuhne vs Gillies main card will be streamed live and exclusive March 7th on UFC Fight Pass.