When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training boxing when I was 14. I was in 9th grade and I was tiny. I was about 5'1" and I got picked on every day for being so small... It sucked, so I took up boxing. Not to fight anyone, But so everyone knew I could fight and would leave me alone. AND IT WORKED. So I boxed for 1 year, gained knowledge out of Cus D'Amato’s, learning from the same man who taught Mike Tyson himself, Kevin Rooney. After a year, I started getting into wrestling, I joined the wrestling team at my school and went 21-3 my first year of wrestling. Now, I was confident in both and I started training MMA at a local lodge where people just met up to practice moves they learned on YouTube. I took my first fight at 16 and it was for a title. I won a hard fight by decision and now I was hooked.
What ranks and titles have you held? 155lb Lightweight Champion of Breakthrough 15 MMA, 155lb Lightweight Champion of Cage Wars, 155lb Lightweight Champion of Kaged Kombat, 155lb Lightweight Champion of Hero Fight League, 2009 N.Y. State Shooto Champion
Do you have any heroes? My mother and father.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? EVERYTHING. MMA saved my life. It brought me happiness and with it I can bring happiness to my family. My mother, struggling with 4 kids, I CAN STOP THAT STRUGGLE. I WILL STOP THAT STRUGGLE. She deserves that. In the UFC, I can take away all the pain of struggling in my remaining family. Nothing will stop me from achieving this.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I attended Colombia Greene Community college and received an Associate’s degree in Exercise Physiology
What was your job before you started fighting? I started fighting at 16 and before fighting I worked at Pomodoro’s, an Italian restaurant in my home city...I was a dish washer.
Favorite grappling technique: De la Riva, guillotine, heel hook, wrist lock
Favorite Striking technique: Question mark kick, slip jab, body-head hook, bolo punch, foot movement.