Tai Tuivasa, the UFC's 25-year-old heavyweight prospect out of Sydney, Australia, loves to fight.
It has always been that way, as long as his memory dates back. His father was a fighter, too -- a boxer who hung up his gloves after a relatively short career, following the birth of his first child.
Tuivasa grew up fighting in the streets and genuinely doesn't know how to respond when asked what the fights were about. "What do you mean, 'What kind of street fights?'" Tuivasa asked ESPN. "Street fights. Anything can happen. To fight someone where I'm from, it could be over anything. It could be over looking at each other."
Just two fights into his UFC career, Tuivasa (7-0) is already on the promotion's fast track. He will face former champion Andrei Arlovski (27-15) at UFC 225 on June 9. The UFC signed Tuivasa to a new deal after his last performance, a first-round stoppage over Cyril Asker in February. All of his pro fights have ended via first-round knockout.
Immediately after his February win, which took place at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia, Tuivasa endeared himself to fans around the world by chugging beer out of a sneaker -- a "shoey" -- on his way to the locker room.
"I just asked the first person in front of me for their shoe and their drink," Tuivasa said. "I tried to do it after my first fight in the UFC, but it got shut down. Usually, I'll have a drink with my shirt off in the crowd after a fight, but that was the first shoey."
That kind of humor and charisma can go a long way in the fight game, but Tuivasa's athletic talent is what's most exciting.
He signed with the National Rugby League at age 17 and was trending toward a successful career when he abruptly quit the sport at 19. He had actually dreamed of playing in the NFL as a kid, but opportunities to play American football were scarce.
He also had his first amateur fight when he was 17 and recalls knocking out his opponent in "8 seconds or something like that."
"I was sitting around with a group of mates and UFC started coming on the TV," Tuivasa said. "We were watching, and a few of the boys said, 'I reckon you could fight these boys, Tai.' And I said, 'I reckon I could fight them, too.'
"I don't know who was fighting, probably could have been Arlovski. But I went to a gym and fought two months later."
Arlovski, 39, appeared all but finished after losing his fifth fight in a row last June, but he is currently on a two-fight win streak.
Whether Arlovski is in the prime of his career or not, Tuivasa knows it's a step up in competition. His approach to this fight will remain the same as it always has been, though, dating back to when he was about 5 years old.
"I wouldn't cut myself short against anyone, but I probably wouldn't say I'm ready for a title fight this year, either," Tuivasa said. "I just want to keep fighting, it's just that I'm fighting guys with [rankings] numbers next to their names. I think I've got a puncher's chance against anyone."