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Exclusive: Shanelle Dyer credits MMA for staying clear of ‘wrong path’ ahead of PFL Europe debut

Shanelle Dyer is one of the brightest young prospects in MMA, though the 22-year-old admitted her story could’ve been a lot different if not for the sport.

Dyer will make her PFL Europe debut this Saturday night in Paris when she takes on Luisa Fernanda Cifuentes.

The Brit has enjoyed a ferocious start to her pro MMA career, taking out both Weronika Eszer and Kamila Simkova in the first round.

Dyer is a multi-time British, European, and World Muay Thai champion and she is intent on making similar waves in the MMA world.

The Flyweight comes from West London and admitted that getting into the fight game at a young age prevented her from falling in the wrong direction.

She told Planet Sport: “I grew up on an estate which a notorious for gang violence, and you can go down that wrong path very quickly.

“That’s the kind of vibe that I was living in. Going into martial arts surrounded me with the perfect role models to escape.

“I still live on the estate and I still love it, it’s so vibrant, the community is amazing still to this day. But it’s not a place where I want to stay for the rest of my life. That’s why I’m doing this, so I can eventually get out.

“I’ve done martial arts for 10 years now but when I was 13, 14, 15, I kind of gave up martial arts. I didn’t train for about two and a half years. I just hung around with my friends, the normal teenage stuff.

“There were times when I could’ve gone down those paths, but then I got back into the sport.

“I don’t want to say it saved my life, but it really gave me a direction to life, it really gave me purpose. And I knew what my purpose was form that stage, which was to fight.”

Dyer was originally set to make her PFL debut against Lizzy Gevers. However, following the Dutch fighter’s withdrawal, Colombia’s Cifuentes stepped up to the mark.

The 32-year-old has a 4-2 pro MMA record and lost a unanimous decision in her last outing in June.

Dyer will be intent on handing Cifuentes her latest defeat as the Brit looks to continue her upward trajectory in the sport.

When asked about her first ever day in a mixed martial arts gym, the 22-year-old said: “My dad took me down. My whole family is sporty, my little sisters play football, my dad is a sporty person as well.

“Before martial arts I did ballet, swimming, running, street dancing. None of them really stuck, but my dad one day brought me to a martial arts gym and I just fell in love with it.

“I just fell in love with the discipline. It was so hard and I just wanted to get better.”

Dyer’s PFL debut against Cifuentes will take place on Saturday, September 30 and will be broadcast live on DAZN for fans in the United Kingdom.

Photo Credit: PFL Europe 

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