Kiwi UFC featherweight fighter Shane Young believes being teammates with one of the biggest names in the business right now - Israel Adesanya - is a blessing rather than a curse.
Both fighters fight out of Auckland’s City Kickboxing gym.
Young, 25, is set to fight in his third UFC bout against US rival Austin Arnett at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Sunday.
His teammate Adesanya is taking Brazilian mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva in the co-main event.
Young says he is not fazed with the extra attention from fans.
"I've been used to it, I had a little taste of it before I came to CKB [City Kickboxing] and I saw more of it when I hung around Israel [Adesanya]," said Young.
"For me personally - I'm being honest, every interaction I have had with a person you call a fan. I just think of them like friends because they know my name and they've watched me fight.
"Some of my friends haven't even watched my fights, I'm like 'you're my friend' like that makes no sense.
"I've always had good interactions but I feel like they have all been really good now. Especially of late now people are really getting behind the sport."
Young has an MMA record of 12 wins and four losses, with one win and one loss in the UFC.
The featherweight contender said the MMA game has vastly grown since he entered the octagon 10 years ago.
"Before it was a bit of an underground thing if you knew who Israel was, it was like 'oh it's that kickboxer dude,'" Young said.
"But now people are really [like] they want us to represent them or something, I don't know but it's cool, I like it, I'm just stoked with all of that.
"It's not a distraction at all, it's part of the fun because when I am 60 people aren't gonna want to take a photo of me and stuff like that.
"I just enjoy it now while people care about what I am doing."
Young has another Kiwi teammate fighting on the UFC 234 card, flyweight fighter Kai Kara France.
In Young's last UFC bout, he defeated Filipino rival Rolando Dy via TKO in the second round at UFC Fight Night 132 in Singapore on June 23.