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UFC's Adam Hunter 'very proud' to be in 'the same ballpark' as idolized fighters

The perks of being a UFC fighter aren't always pretty, but newly signed middleweight Adam Hunter is lying if he says fighting among some of his idols isn't surreal to him.

Adam Hunter has made the jump from the local circuit to the big leagues. He recently signed the papers to make his UFC debut against fellow newcomer Ryan Janes at UFC on FOX 21 in Vancouver later this month.

As it would be for anyone, the news is still quite unbelievable to the middleweight fighter. But he has been trying to get over the news -- and has been somewhat successful at doing so -- in an attempt to not suffer from Octagon jitters leading up and during his promotional debut.

"I was super excited, briefly, at first, then I was kind of just like, almost in a state of shock. I was just kind of like, 'Whatever,' and then probably about three days later, it hit me again, and I've been excited ever since," Hunter told

"Probably like up until two days ago, it was still pretty surreal. I would hear people say it and I'd be like, 'Oh my God, this is real.' But I guess now I'm getting used to hearing it," he said. "But even still today, sometimes when you think about it, I will talk to people that had just heard about the news and they're like, 'Man, you're going to the UFC.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I am.' Just kind of say it nonchalantly but then something will click and be like, 'Sh-t, man, you're going to the UFC.' I'll be excited all over again. I'm trying to play it cool and trying not to get too caught up in it. But you can't help but get a little caught up."

Being part of the UFC roster means Hunter is now on par with today's greatest fighters, some of whom he watched compete during his childhood. In a relatively short period of time, he went from a fan to a colleague of champions and other elite fighters. That's one of the biggest reasons being a UFC fighter is so surreal to him.

"When I was growing up and seeing these guys in the UFC, you idolize them. They're your heroes and they seem more than men," he said. "To be accepted into the same ball park as some of these guys, it's kind of like, 'Wow.' I'm very proud and thankful for the opportunity I've been given."

Despite currently riding a seven-fight winning streak and having knocked out UFC veteran Chris Dempsey in his last outing, Hunter wasn't expecting to get the call just yet.

"I don't think it's overdue," he said. "I had assumed that I had probably two or three more fights before I was going to get looked at. From what I heard from people, 10 fights was kind of the magic number. I got eight, so I figured it would be a couple more then another UFC vet after that. I felt like I probably would've needed more fights, but I guess they felt that I didn't."

Things are certainly going to change for Hunter, including having to do more media and fighting in front of a larger audience and under brighter lights. On top of that, the weigh-ins will be drastically different. They are more prioritized -- and now earlier -- in the UFC than elsewhere. The stakes will definitely be higher, but Hunter hopes to adjust easily and quickly.

"I'd like to think it'd be an easy transition," he said. "The brighter lights, the louder music, and you go from maybe 2,000 to 3,000 people in the crowd to 20,000 or 30,000. Until I really get there, I don't know. I'd like to think I will. I've traveled quite a bit throughout my life and been through a few places. I think I'll be able to handle it well. But until I get there, we'll see. That's not something I'm overly worried about."

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