Tanner Boser makes his long-awaited UFC debut and does so on his home turf. UFC 240 goes down in Edmonton, Alberta on Saturday, July 27th at Rogers Place. The heavyweight will take on Giacomo Lemos who will enter the octagon undefeated. Hardcore Canadian MMA fans had long wanted Boser in the UFC, but some were starting to give up hope it would ever happen. This pivotal point is finally happening and it was a long time coming.
Road to UFC 240: Tanner Boser
The pride of Bonnyville, Alberta is getting a lot of local fanfare ahead of this one. Boser grew up in that town, trained karate as a youth, and dreamed of a competitive future in the cage. Local radio stations and a lot of residents of Bonnyville have rallied behind Boser ahead of his first octagon trip.
The UFC debutante stated, “It’s cool, you know. People around Bonnyville. It’s like a town of 7,000 people. They’re pretty excited for me and to come watch somebody from their town fight in UFC. So it’s pretty cool.”
Tanner Boser has been competing for over six and a half years in Canada but also throughout Russia, Australia, England, and Dubai. Tanner Boser had to rally back from some early career adversity and regain traction. Boser eventually captured the Unified MMA heavyweight championship by defeating well regarded and well-traveled Tony Lopez.
Tanner Boser would then sign to ACB and “Bulldozer” would also make an impression in M1 Global. Despite the fight going to a draw, Boser’s M1 Global foray was something that lit up the crowd and Boser considers it his favorite performance.
After the brief M1 run and going to UFC right after, Boser stated, “You know how every M1 champion can get a UFC contract if you want? I’m pretty sure my contract just still stands if I were to get released. M1 was cool with me going so that’s pretty sweet. I can go back whenever if it comes to that. Hopefully, it doesn’t for a very long time.”
Boser notched a few solid wins overseas against Dave Cryer, DJ Linderman, and Chase Gormley. Boser would eventually return home to reaffirm his status as king of the north. Tanner Boser was scheduled to defend his Unified MMA championship against the uber tough Lethbridge native, Jared Kilkenny.
Boser wouldn’t be going into battle alone though. Many of Boser’s training partners competed on the card and the “Shaved Bears” were tearing it up ahead of Boser’s main event performance. The team scored a 7-0 clean sweep at Unified MMA 37 and Tanner definitely felt the momentum.
Boser said, “If you go out there and your teammates are all killing it, yeah it gives you a boost for sure. It helps out, its good for morale, there’s no negatives there. Definitely good.” The overall quality of the performance and the late TKO finish of Kilkenny netted Boser that long-awaited UFC opportunity.
Boser said, “Getting a finish was probably important. But yeah in terms of getting the win by leg kicks that was awesome and that was definitely a way we saw that it could go. But it was just most important to get the win. I just needed to go do my thing and try to pick him apart.”
The Culmination of a Dream
Boser has made some important switches recently. His new management EPOK agency played a key role in some recent fight negotiations and helped tremendously in creating a dialogue with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Boser stated, “AJ at EPOK they got the UFC contract fully. They handled the entire management side as they should. So they did their job awesome. They got me the UFC contract in my hometown. They got me the M1 contract before that. They’ve been really awesome so far.”
The aforementioned training partners of Boser have played an essential role in this journey. The Shaved Bears are not just high-level pugilists that test each other every day. There’s also a real camaraderie among the fighters. A true support system exists with those who train under Jeff Montemurro.
Boser said, “All the normal guys, man. Teddy, Christian, KB, Graham, and Jeff Porter. The list goes on. Same team as always. No reason to change things up”. The friendships that exist at Shaved Bears MMA pay dividends. Boser stated, “It probably makes your team a lot closer. You get less shit birds in there.”
Tanner Boser UFC 240 Opponent
The tale of the tape reveals certain advantages that Boser has over Lemos. Boser is younger and has more professional experience. He also has a stronger strength of schedule and seems to hold certain athletic advantages over Lemos.
Boser stated, “I’ve watched his two most recent fights. He’s a good muay thai type striker. He likes his low kicks. He likes his teeps. He’s a judo black belt and he likes to be on top. He’s an all-round guy and he’s undefeated. I think my experience will prevail.”
To the point of pundits thinking Boser has faced better competition, the Bulldozer agrees with that.
Boser said, “He hasn’t. He definitely hasn’t. The guys I’ve been fighting for the last three years, pretty world-class guys. He hasn’t fought guys like that. He’s fought some OK journeyman types. But he’s never fought anybody like I’ve fought. He’s never fought anyone like me and I’ve been fighting guys like him for years.”
Tanner Boser is certainly not overlooking his opponent though. Despite the confidence level in his own skills, Boser shows due respect for his opponent.
“He’s definitely a dangerous guy and he’s definitely a hard fight. I’m going in there for a war and don’t expect it to be easy by any means. But I’ve been in deep water before and I don’t know if he has. So I’m going to take him there and drag him through it”
Helping the Cubs
The support system at Shaved Bears MMA doesn’t stop with the pro fighter interactions. The Shaved Bears are also supportive of the cubs within the gym. Benny is a five-year-old boy who trains at the gym along with his family. Benny is going through cancer and it’s running roughshod both physically and financially
Boser said, “He was recently diagnosed with cancer. He had a big tumor. He ended u having to get a kidney removed and other organs removed. It’s hard for the family to try and deal with that. He’s got 30 weeks of chemo to go through. So there’s a GoFundMe and Teddy auctioned some gloves. All proceeds are going to Benny. It’s just the right thing to do”
Boser has a big heart but also knows how to keep things fun. He is the self-described claw machine GOAT and feels untouchable when it comes to winning plush prizes. Boser also has an exemplary mullet that has maintained a pound for pound ranking for several years.
Boser is more confident in his claw machine abilities than in his mullet’s vibrancy. Boser stated, “I’m the undisputed claw machine king. Ricky Simon has a pretty good mullet. I think his is actually bigger than mine. I’ve got some stiff competition in the UFC in terms of mullets. It’s a real OG of mullets.”
Tanner Boser, UFC 240; it happens in a matter of days. Boser vs. Lemos goes at 6:15 PM ET as part of the early prelims. It’s slated to be the kickoff fight as UFC 240 takes over Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta on Saturday, July 27th.