Self-confessed geek and Star Wars fanatic George Staines has said he plans to become one of the ‘GOATs’ of MMA.

The Hull-born fighter who currently trains out of Next Generation MMA in Liverpool bodes an impressive amateur record of 16-1.

Staines is currently contracted to European MMA giant Oktagon.

He recently improved to 2-0 in the pro ranks after defeating Tomáš Cigánik at Oktagon 56 in Birmingham.

Humble beginnings 

George became a regular at Hull City football matches when he was four years old, attending games with his father.

This early exposure to sports set the stage for his future in martial arts due to a family connection.

His father’s friend, Mel Leathley, a Hull kickboxing coach and gym owner, encouraged young Staines to try the sport.

George stepped into a kickboxing gym for the first time at seven.

Staines quickly embraced kickboxing and trained relentlessly, realising his desire to become a fighter.

He said: “I did some kickboxing K1 and then started to do a bit of jiu-jitsu when I was 15 or 16. It was just an hour a week, but I realised ‘I enjoy this’ and began training. I wanted to fight in MMA.”

(Fight Ministry Hull, owned by Mel Leathley. Creative Commons liscense)

George soon found a growing passion for jiu-jitsu, which expanded his training regimen and fighting tools.

In 2018, Staines made his amateur debut in MMA at 18, securing a victory with punches in the second round.

That same year, he fought ten times across MMA, boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, developing a well-rounded fighting style.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt halt to his burgeoning career.

“COVID happened. It was rubbish—a year and a half out, and you couldn’t train, fight, or do anything.”

Despite the setback, he remained focused, using the time to stay prepared for his return to action.

George was selected for the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) European Championships, a testament to his skill and dedication, but this was no surprise to the ‘Star Killer’.

“I’m not being cocky or anything; I just was the best in England; I won that (European Championship) and then came third in the World Championships.”

Amassing a record of 16-1 in his amateur days, Staines has defeated several unbeaten prospects, justifying the reasons for many tipping Staines for the top.

Take a look at Staines’ record from his amateur days:

(Chart of George Staines’ Amateur results in the IMMAF Championship produced by Max Cruse)

Turning Pro

Staines then received a call to participate in a new Channel 4 reality TV series, the Oktagon Challenge: England Vs Ireland, in 2023.

The competition was designed to test eight athletes to their limits as they fought through a tournament bracket to win the show.

The fighters were set challenges beyond MMA. Each challenge was designed to take the fighters outside their comfort zone so fans could see the true personalities and characters behind the competitors.

Watch the first episode of the Oktagon Challenge below.

George Staines went on to win the competition and fought in his professional Oktagon MMA debut at Oktagon 48 at the AO arena in Manchester.

He defeated Irishman Denis Frimpong in the final of the Oktagon Challenge via guillotine choke in the fourth round.

Overcoming the doubters

Staines had an undeniable focus and desire to reach the top off MMA from a young age

While others around him indulged in the typical youthful escapades at 18, Staines remained steadfast in his path to potential glory.

Asked what it was like to miss out on time in the pub with his friends, Staines showed the focus of a future champion.

“I don’t even drink now; I have never been drunk or hungover. When I was turning 18, I didn’t care. I was always, ‘I’ll go train, thank you.'”

His unwavering dedication paid off, though not without its share of naysayers.

“Loads of those people are messaging me saying, ‘I knew you would go far,’ but many of them never actually said I would.

“I have always said I’ll be a world champion, and I will do that with Oktagon and other organisations.

“This is all I have ever wanted to do with my life. What people see is the product of my hard work and hours of training.”

Entering the scouse dynasty

Staines now trains in Liverpool alongside UFC and scouse icons Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann and Shem Rock

MerseySportLive asked Staines what it was like working alongside the two UFC fighters.

(Sound cloud audio clip taken from interview by Max Cruse)

Asked what the mindset is like when he steps into the cage, Staines was quick to remind MSL that for him, it just “another day” in the office.”

“The mindset is that they are stuck in there with me, im not thinking about what they are going to do I am thinking about what i’m going to do to them.”

“They have got to deal with me, I am a very front footed fighter with heavy pressure, I don’t give anyone breathing space and i cause a lot of damage, I am relentless.”

Self confessed Geek 

Staines’ nickname the ‘star killer’ comes from his two loves in life; fighting and Star Wars”

“I am a bit of a geek, I am not quiet but also i’m not in your face all the time like Conor McGregor and Illia Topuria who are very arrogant in my opinion.

“I like to be at home building building lego and playing games, I like a quiet life.”

But Staines explains how he believes being a geek helps him to perform better inside the cage.

“I’m an obsessive, geeks probably make better fighters, we look at the finer details, a lot of people have to see red to fight whereas I come form a technical standpoint.

“That calmness comes from being a Geek, because I am not an angry person, MMA is like puzzles and i just love puzzles.”

And Staines has high hopes for a career that has been so far perfect.

“the ultimate goal in the next three years is to become the Oktagon Champion, and then surpassing that and becoming the UFC champion.

“I want to be the best in the world, pound for pound one of the Goats in the sport.

“I know it sounds far fetched, but dreams are supposed to be and I believe in myself.”