UFC 267: Lerone Murphy's journey from spitting out bullets to becoming rising MMA star

Last update on. From the section Mixed Martial Arts
Saturday's fight means that Lerone Murphy will have had his first four UFC fights all in Abu Dhabi.

Lerone Murphy, preparing for his biggest fight in mixed martial arts history, says "It's amazing that I'm there."

He is not talking about UFC 267 on Saturday or that he's speaking in Abu Dhabi from a five-star hotel.

He is talking about being alive.

Murphy was 21 when he went to Fallowfield, Manchester, for a haircut.

The 30-year-old Mancunian thinks about what happened next "probably every single day".

Murphy was confronted after he left the barbers. Before three shots were fired, a witness heard Murphy shouting "Please don't!" External-link

Murphy was hit in the side of the face but was conscious. Some of the bullets were thrown out by Murphy.

He said, "My mouth felt heavy. I thought it was blood. But then I saw the bullets on floor."

Murphy lost several teeth, and his injuries caused his tongue swelling. He needed a tracheotomy to be able to breathe.

He was admitted to intensive care for a week and then transferred to hospital. However, he survived the ordeal, much to his doctors' surprise.

This is why the featherweight has been called 'the Miracle' after turning his life around to become an MMA fighter.

"The only place I didn't think of past traumas was the gym."

Murphy was born in Old Trafford, and after graduating from college, he became a part of the Old Trafford gang culture.

He says, "I wasn't doing anything with my life." "I had no direction, no goals. "I was simply living day to day."

Murphy said that Murphy's traumatic experience at the barbers was the turning point of Murphy's life. It taught me to appreciate life.

After recovering from his physical injuries, he realized that he had to make a change and do better for himself and his family after the birth of his son.

He was finally able to focus after Kane Mousah (his friend and former gang member) won an MMA fight at Bolton.

Murphy's father was a UFC fan. Lerone had previously trained with Oliver Harrison, the late boxing trainer, but he didn't start MMA training until he was 22.

He says, "I just loved it." The gym was my escape. It was the only place I could forget about my past traumas and anything else.

"I don't feel scared or afraid to go out, but it does occur in my mind and can change my mood."

Kane Mousah, a Bellator fighter (left), was in Murphy's side for his unanimous win over Douglas Silva de Andrade

Murphy said that he never thought he'd become a fighter, but he made his professional debut March 2016, and after compiling an 8-0 record, he made his UFC debut in September 2019. He agreed to fight Zubaira Tukhugov in less than four weeks.

The fight ended in a draw. Murphy, who had already won wins over Ricardo Ramos and Douglas Silva de Andrade in 2019, will now face another opponent with much more experience on the preliminary card of UFC 267.

Murphy will face Makwan Amirkhani (32), from Finland. He has a 16-6 record and has been fighting in UFC since 2015.

Murphy says that he started late and that striking is his greatest strength. "These guys have been grappling, wrestling and boxing since their childhoods so I'm trying to catch up.

"That's why it's taken me so long to put in the effort and time. I am grateful to be where i am in such a short time.

Murphy will be one step closer to reaching the top-15 featherweight ranks with another win. He hopes to eventually bring the UFC back home to Manchester to become a champion.

He adds, "I don’t want to be known as the man who got shot."

The card features two title fights

Jan Blachowicz (left), has a MMA record of 28-8, while Glover Teixeira's record is 32-7

UFC 267 is an unusual event in that it is not only a non-pay-per-view event but also features two title bouts with two veterans competing in the main event.

Jan Blachowicz will face Glover Teixeira from Brazil, who is 42 years old. The Pole, 38, hopes to defend his light heavyweight title after he defeated Israel Adesanya in March's first MMA loss at UFC 259 (March).

Petr Yan was disqualified at UFC 259 for an illegal knee. Aljamain Sterling won the bantamweight title. The Russian is now trying to make amends and will face Cory Sandhagen from the USA for the interim bantamweight championship.

Islam Makhachev, 30, has moved up to fifth place in the lightweight rankings, thanks to an eight-fight win streak. The Russian is looking to continue that momentum against Dan Hooker from New Zealand, one month after the number six lightweight defeated Nasrat Haqparast UFC 266.

Khamzat Chimaev, who won three fights in 65 days in 2020, burst onto UFC's scene. He then announced that he would be retiring in March due to lung complications from Covid-19.

However, the announcement was premature. The 27-year-old Swedish welterweight makes his return to fight China's Li Jingliang in Abu Dhabi. UFC 268 will follow at New York's Madison Square Garden next week.

UFC president Dana White stated, "I love guys who like to fight all of the time and he[Chimaev] was one of the first to come in to do what he did." "He's fun and this card makes it a lot more fun.

"These next two weeks will be amazing, with back-toback badass fights. It's a great time to be an UFC fan.