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TRAINING: I wake up way too early and am already fighting with motivation. (Laughs) I usually separate my days into two or three training sessions, depending in what part of my preparation we are. A big part of my training day regards my weight management, because I really love food and try to avoid stuff I am not supposed to eat. This is usually the second fight with my motivation during the day. (Laughs)
Thoughts on opponent, Yusuke Kasuya? He is a young, up and coming guy. He was very successful in Shooto and commits his life to MMA. In his young age he built up his own gym and he is a father, as I am. We both know what a chance it is to fight in the UFC and this hunger is dangerous. He is going to fight in front of his family and friends in Japan but I am also, as my wife is from Tokyo and we both have family there. So there is a lot on the line for both of us.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training in judo when I was six. I always liked boxing as well and I was fascinated by the idea of competing in an environment where I am able to combine both sports. I made the full-time switch to MMA in 2009.
What ranks and titles have you held? I have won more than 35 national and international medals in judo.
Do you have any heroes? God Almighty, Udo Quellmalz, Harry Callahan
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It is a dream come true. I have been looking forward to that moment ever since I didn’t get to go to the Olympics. Competing in the UFC will be my personal Olympic Games now.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I finished high school and started my training with the Federal Police straight afterwards, as their promotion program allowed me to concentrate on my judo career.
What was your job before you started fighting? I played first-division judo here in Germany and I was a sergeant in the German Federal Police.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? I have won a few amateur boxing bouts.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition?
• 35 top three finishes in national and international judo competition
• Fair FC Light Welterweight (161lbs.) Champion (2014)
• Choke Wars Welterweight (170lbs.) Champion (2013)
• Western German BJJ Middleweight (181lbs) Champion (2013)
• Tap or Snap Super Welterweight (176lbs.) Champion (2013)
• Tap or Snap Middleweight (187lbs.) Champion (2012)
• Groundandpound.de “Fight of the Year” Winner (2011)
• Groundandpound.de “Rookie of the Year” (2009)
• FFA Western German Middleweight (185lbs.) Champion (2009)
• Olympic Judo Middleweight Alternate (198lbs.) (2008)
• German Judo Half Middleweight (179lbs.) Champion (2006, 2007)
• European Judo Under-23 Half Middleweight (179lbs.) Champion (2006)
• German Judo Under-20 Half Middleweight (179lbs.) Champion (2003)
• European Judo Cadet Lightweight (161lbs.) Champion (2000)
• German Judo Under-15 Extra Lightweight (121lbs.) Champion (1998)
Ranks in any martial arts styles:
• Judo black belt under Karl-Heinz Bartsch (NWDK)
• Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt under Harun Ucal (Gracie Barra)
• Ranked #1 in Germany at 155lbs.
Favorite grappling technique: Uchi Mata
Favorite striking technique: Left Hook