Ben Edwards is in a race against the clock to get the opportunity of a lifetime and prove he is The Ultimate Fighter.
UFC executives called for male heavyweights with a professional record boasting at least three fights and a winning record – Edwards has a 2-0 record, but the promotion welcomed him because of his impressive kickboxing and boxing resume.
Edwards found out a fortnight ago and applied immediately – but he needs a tourist visa which will take 60 to 90 days to arrive, and he will learn his fate at the United States Consulate in Sydney on Thursday morning.
"I’m cutting it awfully close but I’ve got to give it a go. You know what, if it doesn’t happen, I go back to the original plan of having two more fights in Australia and then getting into the UFC that way," Edwards said.
"The good thing is I have got a direct contact with the UFC now, I’ve been speaking directly to the producer of The Ultimate Fighter series, Gary DeFranco, and he has been great to deal with.
"That’s where we stand, I’m not getting my hopes up, I’m cutting it so bloody close and asking for a 60-day turnaround to be a two-day turnaround. I don’t like my chances but I’ll give it a go."
The 34-year-old is confident he can force his way in because the heavyweight division is hard to fill – as is the female featherweight class, which will also be a part of TUF 28 – it is simply a matter of getting his chance to take the "opportunity of a lifetime".
"The cut-off for The Ultimate Fighter is 18 to 34 years so I’ve just made that. I’m at a good age, I’m in my prime," Edwards said.
"I’ve never been knocked out or anything so I’ve got a lot of things in my favour and I really feel like this next two or three years is really going to be primetime for me.
"I’ll do anything I can to get in there. If I don’t get in there through The Ultimate Fighter house, I’ll get in there the old-fashioned way."
Edwards has been left in limbo after he signed a four-fight deal with major European promotion Fight Nights Global, because the promotion's main financial backer was arrested.
Ziyavudin Magomedov, the owner of Summa Group, was arrested and charged with embezzling over $35 million during his company's construction of a FIFA World Cup stadium.
Edwards has been trying to get in contact with the promotion but hasn't got a response, and now he thinks he may have "fallen through the cracks".
"I was talking to a friend of mine who said they never signed and returned their end of the contract. I signed my contract and then they announced all their stuff on social media, and that was it," Edwards said.
"But if they don’t sign their end of the contract and send it back to me, the contract is null and void. Technically, I'm a free agent. It could have been a blessing in disguise, because right when I signed was when things were hitting the fan for them.
"I think I’ve just fallen through the cracks. It’s just been a crazy, insane two months."