An MMA scholarship is on the cards for one fighter in Perth in a scheme run by Wolves Den Gym coach Steve Walton, Australia's national coach for the GAMMA World MMA Championships ©Wolves Den Gym

An Australian gym in the Perth is offering a one-year scholarship for a mixed martial arts hopeful, in a bid to create the next Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star in the country.

Wolves Den gym owner Steve Walton, who is also Australia's national coach for the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) World MMA Championships, ran the programme earlier this month after being inspired by a similar scheme offered in Phuket in Thailand at the famous Tiger Muay Thai gym.

"We're putting them through their paces, seeing who has the passion and drive to push through these workouts to see who has the potential to get to where we need them to be," said Walton, whose gym is based in Perth suburb Joondalup.

"After COVID, everyone was really struggling with money so we thought it’d be a good idea to start this now.

"What I'm saying to guys and girls is that I'm not looking for any high-level skills during the tryout, I need to see the passion and drive and some sort of ability that we can build on.

"I can teach the skills in the gym and I can train them up to be a lot fitter than they are, but we need to know that they’re not going to give up."

The programme looks to replicate the success of Perth's own Jack Della Maddalena ©Getty Images
The programme looks to replicate the success of Perth's own Jack Della Maddalena ©Getty Images

Walton will look to produce the next great name in MMA, following the footsteps of UFC welterweight Jack Della Maddalena, winner of all three of his fights in the top series for MMA in the world, last year.

Della Maddalena trained in another of Perth's suburbs, Willetton, before becoming a professional athlete.

He is set to fight for the fourth time under the UFC banner on home soil, at UFC 284 at the Perth Arena on February 12.

The free scholarship is worth AUD $1,700 (£970/$1,200/€1,100).

Walton is a two-time British MMA champion in his own right.

He is set to welcome New Zealand UFC fighter Kai Kara-France to the gym, who is doing a seminar prior to UFC 284.