UFC star helps Owen Wright's Olympic bid

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·2-min read
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Australian surf star Owen Wright has been tapping into the wisdom of former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in an attempt to pull off a boilover at the Tokyo Olympics.

Wright has been staying at Rockhold's LA base in preparation for the Tokyo Games, with the duo feeding off each other as they both bid to do something special.

Rockhold hasn't fought since a knockout loss to current light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in July 2019, but he's hoping to make his return to the octagon this year and eventually reclaim his crown.

Wright is part of Australia's four-person Olympic surf team that also includes Julian Wilson, seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, and Sally Fitzgibbons.

The Brazilian duo of Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina are among the hot gold medal favourites in the men's competition, while Hawaiian John John Florence is also expected to contend after overcoming a knee injury.

Wright is currently ranked a lowly 20th in the world after a tough start to the 2021 WSL season, but he hopes the help of Rockhold will help propel him to Olympic glory.

"Aussies are typically known for their fighting spirit. I've been trying to understand that fighting spirit that he has, and what he puts himself through to get in that ring," said Wright, who has been friends with Rockhold for about six years.

"They step into the boxing ring every day and are throwing kicks and punches. It's full on. I feel like I'm learning a lot, just to get into that headspace.

"The training is intense, but I like the mentality side of it where the Olympics is one shot, and you don't get another shot for four years.

"This concept is new to surfing, and that's the excitement for us. I just want to be the best prepared to go in and give it my all."

Wright's younger sister Tyler Wright is a two-time WSL champion.

But if Owen can pull off Olympic gold, the 31-year-old will finally regain bragging rights over his sister.

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