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TRAINING: There is no typical day for me. I split time between 2 gyms that are 2 hours away from each other. I pack my bag for the day and leave. Then I train anywhere from 2-4 sessions a day, depending on which day it is. No 2 days are alike.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training MMA in 2006. Throughout my scholastic career I was involved in some sort of contact sport. I wrestled and played football in H.S. I then went on an athletic scholarship to play football in college. Immediately following my football career I picked up rugby until my work schedule wouldn't allow me to play. I was becoming an MMA fan at this point in my life, and one day, as I admired the fighters on television, I thought ‘I could do that.’ I also thought I could do better. I found out there was a gym in town and I was there the following day. I just felt the need to compete in something that was real, challenging and tough. I've always had the desire to compete and do the best at everything I do. MMA wasn't going to be any different.
What ranks and titles have you held? I've won countless BJJ and amateur MMA/Kickboxing titles. I have a Purple belt under Jorge Gurgel. I won the one night IFC tournament to become the reigning WW Champion.
Do you have any heroes? My family. They've worked their asses off to get anything they own without help. They do things the honest way and don't change who they are. They are always willing to go out of their way to help others. Also anyone who is willing to stand up for what is right or what they believe in no matter what others say is very inspirational to me. MMA heroes are Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, and Rich Franklin. All of those guys have been around for a while. They are all great fighters in their own respects and are models of how fighters should fight and act. GSP resembles that but he is my future competition so we will not put him in that category yet.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It would be a dream come true. Although I believe being in the UFC is just a stepping stone to get where I really want to be, THE UFC World Champ. For now I have to focus on winning and keep myself in a position where Dana, Joe Silva, and the fans want to keep me. So it’s baby steps for me for now.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I attended and graduated from Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree and majored in Criminal Justice.
What was your job before you started fighting? I was a rehabilitation advisor for felon juveniles. I was basically a corrections officer but facilitated Relationships Skills and Drug and Substance abuse groups. I was also an endoscopic technician. I repaired flexible medical scopes/cameras used to search the body for disease and infections. And yes, I usually worked specifically with colonoscopy scopes.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? Won Regional KOTC one night tournament, numerous grappling/kickboxing
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? KO'd TUF season 1 cast member Josh Rafferty, won one night IFC tourney to become reigning WW champ, Bellator Vet
Favorite grappling technique: I have multiple
Favorite striking technique: Strong straight cross