Te Huna on fighting: “It’s in my blood”

By Philip Ferraro

It’s not often that you hear a UFC fighter say that he was a bad athlete growing up, especially since the Ultimate Fighting Championship is mostly populated by former standout wrestlers, kickboxers, and football players. It’s particularly surprising coming from James Te Huna, one of the light heavyweight division’s most powerful strikers.

“Through primary and high school I was right into sports, competed in a lot of school activities and I wasn’t good at anything – I had two left feet. All the bigger kids and the lazier kids would end up beating me in a race,” said Te Huna. “When I finished school I took up boxing, put a lot of hours in the gym, just worked hard at it, became good at it, and yeah – the fighting game was good for me.”

A New Zealand-born Australian, Te Huna is now better known for his fists than his two left feet, and he has four KOs and one TKO in his last five fights — all via punches — a streak that includes wins over UFC veterans Igor Pokrajac (in his UFC debut in February of 2010) and Anthony Perosh.

But at times, a UFC career seemed to be an unlikely prospect for an adult Te Huna, too. He’s been plagued by a recurring shoulder injury in the past, and in 2010 an ugly broken arm threatened the 29-year old’s livelihood.

 

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