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Trey Ogden reacts after defeating Daniel Zellhuber of Mexico in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Both Fighting And Coaching Push Trey Ogden

UFC Lightweight Trey Ogden's Fighter Spirit Is Fueled By Success Inside And Outside The Octagon.

The question is a familiar one by now, but Trey Ogden does manage to find the time to answer it in those rare moments when he’s not training a team that includes several UFC fighters or preparing for his own fight this weekend against Nikolas Motta.

“I keep getting this question, ‘How do I balance it all?’” said Ogden. “I tell people there is no balance. (Laughs) It's like this: I'm a man in his thirties and I think in your thirties you're supposed to build and climb and grind, and there's a lot of time in the day and you have a lot of energy. I think a lot of people that think that they're really getting after it in life are kind of part-timing it. So I work all day.”

And he’s not complaining about it, despite the precious little “free” time.

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“I asked for it,” said the boss of Marathon MMA in Overland Park, Kansas. “My dad was a businessman. He always told me, when everything's just total chaos and you feel overwhelmed because you're super busy, that's when the work's getting done. That's the good time. That's when you know what's going right. So I'm coaching full time, the gym's as busy as I can possibly keep up with it, and I'm still competing. These are good things.”

Trey Ogden poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on November 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Trey Ogden poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on November 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

But as fight night approaches and Coach Ogden gets ready to battle Motta in an attempt to even up his UFC record at 2-2 in his first bout since a decision loss to Ignacio Bahamondes in April, the practical next question for the newly-minted 34-year-old is, how does he get enough time for himself when giving so much of it to others?

“What I'm doing might be a little crazy, but the answer is, nothing changes,” he said. “I still am doing one-on-ones with all the pros that are in camp. I'm still coaching my full coaching schedule, which is three classes a day, sometimes four. I still run the gym from an administrative standpoint. I am running the business full-time and I'm still teaching regular jiu jitsu classes, too. So I hope I perform to my peak potential. I know I can handle this workload and I know that I can do it and still fight at a very high level. So I hope that I do because I feel like, at this point, because I keep getting asked this questions so much that if I go out there and lose that everyone's going to say, ‘Oh look, I told him he couldn't do this much,’ and I truly believe I can.”

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That stubbornness is part of what got Ogden to the UFC in the first place in April of 2022, and while there have been roadblocks along the way, his approach to the sport has kept him motivated and moving forward. In other words, this isn’t a job for him, it isn’t an excuse to punch someone in the face and not get arrested. Martial arts is his life, and fighting is just a part of it. A part he loves, but a part, nonetheless.

“Old wisdom would say that I should go to a different camp or that everything should change to center around me,” Ogden said. “But see, I'm not an athlete. I'm a martial artist and a warrior. And so an athlete might feel that way. ‘Oh, everything's got to be about me right now because I have a fight going on.’ But, to me, as a martial artist and a warrior, you're supposed to be ready to go anytime, anyplace, anywhere. This is a full lifestyle. I'm a martial artist first before I am a coach and before I am a competitor.”

Trey Ogden warms up prior to his fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)
Trey Ogden warms up prior to his fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Ogden’s mindset, along with his technical knowledge, made Marathon MMA an attractive option for UFC fighters looking for a new training home after Glory MMA head coach got suspended, and thus far, Mike Breeden, Miles Johns and Garrett Armfield have settled in on Metcalf Ave.

“Every contracted UFC fighter in my gym is coming off of a win except me, which will change this week,” said Ogden with a chuckle, eager to catch up to his charges when he steps into the APEX on Saturday. If he does, he’ll have a clean slate heading into the new year, for both himself and his fighters. That begs another question, one that he hasn’t fielded too often.

What's the most exciting feeling – winning a fight or seeing one of his fighters getting their hand raised?

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“They feel so similar to me, which is good because I have a hard time picturing myself not fighting anymore,” he said. “I have a hard time picturing myself walking away from the intensity of combat. My world right now, so close to a fight, is so different than it is if I don't have a fight contracted, even though I live the same lifestyle every day. Martial arts has been a spiritual journey. It's my journey of self-mastery, self-improvement and self-knowing. This is how I explore my own being. This is how I relate to the world, and it has been for so long. And so I get worried about whether I’ll be satisfied with my life when this is over? But then I go out with Mike Breeden to Abu Dhabi, and we have this freaking crazy comeback knockout where he is barking at the dude and he's throwing his hands up and the arena pops, and you feel it in your chest and it's like, wow. Then he knocks the guy out and you see his genuine joy and success. And I know the journey it took to get to that moment and what that means to him and what it means to me. And we did it. I'm getting chills right now, even remembering it. And I think to myself, wow, I don't really need to fight anymore because this is just as good. Even when I have an amateur debut fight in a regional show in the middle of Missouri where there's a hundred people in the crowd, it's the same. I don't really know why, but it's an amazing feeling. And so, as long as I can coach, I don't think I need to fight any more for my spirit.”

Don't miss a moment of UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Craig, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prelims start at 2pm ET/11am PT, while the main card kicks off at 5pm ET/2pm PT.