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Training: A typical day of training would be 8:30am drilling with my Jiu-Jitsu coach Mike Jaramilo at Renzo Gracie Academy. Follow that with an 11am striking session at Church Street Boxing with my coach Jason Strout. I would usually nap and rest up until my next session around 5pm. I go to Edge Wrestling in Hoboken, New Jersey to see Dave Esposito, my wrestling coach. I travel a lot all over town to meet with my teammates and coaches. I also train at a gym in Brooklyn called Ardon Sweet Science.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I was always involved in martial arts and I just loved competition. I started in Karate from age five to seven and then at age nine I enrolled in a school called Universal Defense Systems, which covered a wide array of styles from kickboxing, judo, Kung-fu, and Arnis. I started in point sparring tournaments, Arnis (Escrima) tournaments, amateur kickboxing, and after enrolling in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school under Rodrigo Gracie I started in BJJ tournaments. The next step was, of course, MMA. So in 2003 I had my first fight at 185 pounds against Ronald Stallings. I was hooked ever since. Fighting has always been part of my life.
What ranks and titles have you held? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Ring of Combat Lightweight Champion, The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Finalist.
Do you have any heroes? My parents are both my heroes. They both worked so hard to support my brother and I. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? Fighting in the UFC has always been a dream for me that I worked hard every day in order to achieve. And now that I'm here again, I'm only going to work even harder and smarter than ever before.