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TRAINING: Training camp has taken me from Philadelphia, where I train with Martinez BJJ, Coach Ricky Lee, and Drexel Athletics, to New York, where I train with Marcelo Garcia and his team and Kru Phil Nurse and his team, to Montreal for a few weeks at Tristar with Firas Zahabi
When and why did you start training for fighting? I've always been interested in martial arts and also competed as a wrestler from six years old through college. I wasn't satisfied with what I did wrestling in college and still had the desire to compete. I was watching early UFC events and PrideFC events and found a local gym and began training and competing in MMA.
What ranks and titles have you held? Division 1 wrestler at Drexel University, Combat in the Cage Bantamweight Champion (2007), Bellator Bantamweight Champion (2010), RFA Flyweight Champion (2013)
Do you have any heroes? Albert Einstein, Dan Gable, Cael Sanderson, Georges St Pierre, Roger Federer....I like people who make their work look effortless.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? Fighting in the UFC has been my dream ever since I began competing in MMA. To finally be here is the greatest honor and achievement of my life. This was my first priority, but my ultimate goal doesn't end here, only with a UFC Title.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I graduated from Drexel University with a B.S. in Biology
What was your job before you started fighting? I was a strength and conditioning coach at Drexel and Germantown friends high school before I started to train/fight full time.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? Captain - Drexel wrestling team senior year, graduated on the top 20 all-time Drexel win list (have since been bumped out of top 20), 2009 Fila Grappling World Champion
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Division 1 wrestler, BJJ purple belt under Marcelo Garcia
Favorite grappling technique: All chokes
Favorite striking technique: Whatever works