Nfld. & Labrador

Fresh off his first UFC win, Newfoundland fighter Gavin Tucker preps for the future

The Ship Cove native is back in Newfoundland for the first time since winning a unanimous decision against UFC veteran Sam Sicilia in his debut fight in Halifax last month.

Athlete leads workshop on Muay Thai fighting in St. John's

Fresh off a victory in his first UFC fight, Gavin Tucker is looking to the future. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

Inside the 8 Limb Muay Thai gym on Blackmarsh Road in St. John's, UFC fighter Gavin Tucker is catching his breath.

The Ship Cove native is back in Newfoundland for the first time since winning a unanimous decision against UFC veteran Sam Sicilia in his debut fight in Halifax last month.

But fresh off that exciting win, Tucker isn't basking in the glory of victory. 

"It's just business as usual," he said. "I don't let the wins take me up or bad things bring me down. I love martial arts, it's what I do for my life, and that's what I'm gonna continue doing."

Leading training session in St. John's

On Saturday, Tucker was taking what he's learned and giving back by leading a workshop for some of his newest fans. 

Brandon Spurrel, 17, says it was an honour to train with Gavin Tucker. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

Many of them were watching last month as the pride of Ship Cove successfully made the leap to mixed martial arts biggest stage. 

"We're just gonna work on some techniques, talk about stuff that I worked in my last fight, things that I train each day," said Tucker. 

In speaking with Tucker, it's clear he views fighting and martial arts as something approaching an art form.

"This is not somewhere where you come to test your might; it's somewhere you come to develop your skill set."

Gavin Tucker demonstrates proper sparring technique at a workshop in St. John's on Saturday. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

He's trained in taekwondo and judo, holds a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, and right now is brushing up on his Muay Thai skills.

Muay Thai in particular is a type of no-holds-barred fighting, involving not just arms and legs, but elbows and knees too. 

"You have to be well-rounded these days. There's no speciality per se; everything comes up together," he said.

Ready for next fight

Tucker is characteristically disciplined for a professional athlete, following a strict training schedule, and maintaining a steadfast vegan diet. 

Granted a little more freedom to train with his first UFC paycheck, he's planning to head to Thailand to begin preparations for his next major fight. 

​"This is the birthplace and the absolute mecca of Muay Thai in the world right now," said Tucker.

Gavin Tucker is biding his time for his next turn in the UFC spotlight by heading to Thailand to train in the birthplace of Muay Thai. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

"I'm gonna travel there, look around, and get some of the specialists to kind of guide me in what I guess the next progressive step is for me and my skill set." 

While he might not know when his next UFC fight will be, Tucker is doing everything he can to ensure that when it comes, he'll be ready.


Andrew Sampson is a journalist with CBC News in St. John's.