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TRAINING: We start practice every morning at 9 am at Fiore MMA. We drill, we lift, we condition, we swim, we do pad work, and usually end the majority of each session with live go's from all angles of the mat. During our afternoon practices, depending on the day, we'll spar and grapple very competitively. Most evenings I join our Gracie Humaita jiu-jitsu program with Coach Mark Commean. We end every week with a very competitive combat gear session.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I had my first amateur fight just a few weeks prior to returning to my second season of college football. I have competed my entire life, and once I found out what MMA was all about, I was addicted from the start. I am a guy who loves to work out and stay active, so MMA falls right into the things I enjoy doing most in life.
What ranks and titles have you held? As an amateur, I held 3 titles (all at Light Heavyweight) and I defended one of my titles once. I was also ranked top five in the Midwest Amateur Ranks.
Do you have any heroes? I don't have any specific heroes, but there have been many professional athletes I have always looked up to. Ever since I was a little kid, I have had aspirations of one day becoming a professional athlete myself.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? I can honestly say since the first time I stepped into a cage as an amateur, it has been a dream of mine to compete in the UFC. Now that I will be fulfilling that dream Oct. 29, my dream is to one day become a UFC top contender.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I played 4 years of college football. I began my career at Culver-Stockton College and later transferred to Quincy University. Because I chose to switch schools, not all of my credits transferred over. My degree is in Business Management, although I am currently 8 credit hours short of completing that degree. I plan to complete my degree in the near future.
What was your job before you started fighting? Immediately following my last year of school, I began training full-time in Granite City, IL at Matt Hughes' H.I.T. Squad, now known as Finney's H.I.T. Squad. During that time, I worked for a flooring company in Quincy, IL, bounced at a local club in Quincy called The Phoenix, and also worked on 5 Tool Farms (Miscellaneous work on Jayson Werth's farm).
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? I was 9-1 as an amateur and held 3 amateur titles, defending one of them once.
Sspecific accomplishments in pro competition? I have managed to maintain a perfect 6-0 record as a professional - earning submission of the night in my 3rd professional fight.
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Competing as a youth in wrestling, I won 2 state titles in Colorado. Also, at the age of 8 years old, I was a Jr. Black belt in taekwondo.
Favorite grappling technique: Triangle Choke
Favorite Striking technique: Utilizing my Jab