Canberra fighter Duke Didier has no regrets about giving up a shot at Commonwealth Games redemption to chase a career in the cage.
Didier will swap preparations for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast for a Brace MMA light heavyweight title fight at the AIS Arena on Saturday night.
Didier suffered Commonwealth Games heartbreak in Glasgow three years ago when he finished agonisingly short of a bronze medal in the judo competition.
He also had to pick himself back up after missing Olympic Games selection last year.
But he says his switch from judo to mixed martial arts has reignited the fire and he's now "springing out of bed" to chase his MMA goals.
Athletes gathered on the Gold Coast on Tuesday to celebrate the one-year countdown to the Games.
Didier, the son of former ACT rugby player Geoff and nicknamed "the Duke of Canberra", was instead preparing for a clash against reigning Australian champion Mike Turner.
"I achieved everything I wanted to [in judo], besides making it to the Olympic Games," Didier said.
"I spent so long overseas. Judo is an amateur sport and there's just no financial gain in it. It just becomes hard, all the travel with little recognition or reward.
"With mixed martial arts, there is the opportunities that present themselves for me to make a living out of this, and a very good living.
"There's no question when it comes to what I want to do."
A shattered Didier retired from judo after a loss at the Almaty Grand Prix in Kazakhstan pushed him out of the top 22 Olympic qualifying ranking spots.
The cage calling his name and now he has his sights set on scoring a lucrative Ultimate Fighting Championship deal.
While there is no pathway for international honours in MMA, an Australian championship win would be a defining moment in Didier's career.
"The Commonwealth Games really validated all the hard work I'd put into the sport, and it's something that will be with me for the rest of my life," Didier said.
"People identify you as the person that represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games. There's a few critical moments in your life when that kind of thing can happen, and I think this is another one on the weekend.
"If I can deliver in a main event for an Australian championship in front of everyone, it'll be another one that people remember me for."
Didier admits he was "never the best athlete", but after years of perseverance he started breaking into Australian teams and judo became "more of a career and less of a hobby".
"I don't regret giving up judo for a second," Didier said.
"By the time I retired from judo, I'd physically and mentally had enough. Not just the grind of training, the same training that I was doing for years.
"The sport is very misguided politically and I found myself clashing with a lot of the people within it. It took the fun out of the reason I was doing it, and going into MMA, that fun is back."
Saturday: Main Event - Duke Didier v Mike Turner. Undercard begins at 7pm. Tickets from Ticketek.