MMA star Simeon Powell was inspired into a career of fighting by the Rocky films – now he is looking for his own Hollywood ending.
The light-heavyweight was an unknown prospect before he fought on the Professional Fighters League’s Challenger Series.
But his victory earned him a contract with the MMA promotion and now he is into the semi-finals of the PFL’s European season.
Should he go all the way in the three-stage knockout tournament, Powell will qualify into the PFL’s $1m-winning global league.
It would see him handed the chance to go from little-known outsider to a potential millionaire after missing out on this season.
He told SunSport: “Personally, I feel like I was ready this year but I feel like I’m taking the smart steps and getting that good cage time.
“It’s also dealing with more pressures of the media and having to be here and fit it around my training schedule.
“It’s been a great experience taking it step by step.”
Powell – who has drawn comparisons to UFC legend Jon Jones – began Muay Thai training at 16 before moving into MMA in 2018.
It was his cousins who got him into the sport with a little help from Sylvester Stallone’s famous Rocky Balboa series.
Powell, 24, revealed: “I’ve always been a fan of the Rocky movies and I always wanted to be like Rocky Balboa in a sense.
“I think that was a big influence and my cousins really liked martial arts… that was a big push.
“When I finally tried it, yeah I fell in love with it.”
PFL owner Donn Davis – who hands out eight $1m cheques every year – knows all about the Hollywood-esque journey from rags to riches.
He said: “Once you’re in the PFL season, nothing stands between you, a championship and the $1million.
“You can go from an unknown off the street to the penthouse championship in the same year. That is a real-world Rocky story.”
PFL Europe is a three-stage knockout tournament, with Powell returning in this Saturday’s semis in Paris.
The global league instead features two qualification bouts with points earned per method of victory.
From there, the top four in each division progress into the semis and final where a title belt and winner-take-all $1m cash prize is at stake.
But winning PFL Europe not only guarantees you a place in the global season but also bags winners a $100,000 prize.
Powell said: “It would set me up nicely so that I can attack the world stage even harder and invest more into myself taking it to new heights.
“It’s a great stepping stone and it’s going to help me with that $1m next year.”
Standing in the way of Powell’s dream finale fight is Spaniard Abdellah Er Ramy.
Powell said: “He’s a short guy with heavy hands, it’s nothing I ain’t seen before.
“I know he’s going to try come and knock my head off but CV speaks for itself, it’s hard to do.
“Let’s see what he can do but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a first round job.”