UFC featherweight Shane Young is set to arrive home to Aotearoa today after achieving one of his biggest goals– to be the first UFC fighter to speak te reo Māori during post-fight interviews.
After earning his first UFC win against Filipino Rolando Dy on Saturday he addressed the crowd in te reo Māori.
"Ko Whakapūnake te maunga. Ko Takitimu te waka. Ko Ngāti Kahungunu te iwi. Ko Maraenui, Ahuriri, Aotearoa te Tūrangawaewae. No reira, tēnā koutou katoa," he said.
Prior to the fight the 25-year-old also entered the Octagon flying the Tino Rangatiratanga flag.
Young recently told Te Kāea reporter Tamati Tiananga that he wanted to speak te reo and hold the flag to encourage more Māori fighters to strive for success with a Māori outlook.
"There's two main reasons, there's reasons for myself and the fight, and then there's reasons for my family and people watching the fight,” he said.
Young says it was his partner Tayla Rose Marriner who influenced him to learn the language.
“She has reintroduced me to my Māori side that I pushed away for the most of my life,” he said.
The couple are still learning the language together.
Young now holds a professional record of 12-4 and has two fights remaining on his current UFC contract.