Tom O’Connor hunts for 3rd straight finish at Unified 52

Sep 1, 2023

CALGARY — Some fighters don’t like competing during the summer. They’d prefer to enjoy the warmest time of the year with friends and family, and maybe indulge in some food and beverages that aren’t allowed during training camp.

But it seems there’s nothing Tom “Big Nasty” O’Connor would rather be doing right now than preparing for his Sept. 8 battle with Tim “Shady” Smith at BMO Centre in Calgary, LIVE on UFC Fight Pass.

“You spend so much time in the gym that you kind of forget to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Even though I’ve been hard at work in the gym, I’ve made it a priority to enjoy the nice weather before it’s gone,” says O’Connor, 31. 

“The summer has been great, my training camp has been awesome. I’m a full-time fighter year round, so I definitely don’t have any complaints preparing for a fight during the summer – it’s just business as usual.”

And business is booming for O’Connor. After back-to-back stoppage victories for Unified MMA in 2022, he’ll try to improve his record to 12-2 against the former champ Smith in Calgary.

O’Connor knows a third straight finish on Canada’s Ultimate Proving Ground will either punch his ticket to the UFC, or at the very least bring him a big step closer to his dreams of representing Fort Macleod, AB and Lethbridge, AB in the world-famous Octagon.

“(Smith) has been doing big things since I got started in fighting. He’s been in the game a long time. He has a ton of experience under his belt, and he’s seen a lot of different types of fights,” he says.

“I’m looking forward to a great fight.”


Unified MMA is Canada’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, showcasing the country’s top-ranked fighters, LIVE on UFC Fight Pass. The organization has successfully promoted 51 events across Canada since it was founded in 2009, and has propelled several athletes to the UFC’s Octagon.