The most intimidating fighters in any combat sport are the ones who have no fear. Of course there are the usual nerves that come along with every fight, but in the grand scheme of things, these athletes have experienced worse things in life than having an opponent with four-ounce gloves trying to punch them in the mouth.
Maybe it was a harrowing upbringing, a rough early adult life, or in the case of heavyweight newcomer Christian Colombo, a stint in the Danish Army. So when the Copenhagen native steps into the Octagon for the first time to face Jarjis Danho on Saturday in Hamburg, he will not be shaken by the moment, and he will bring in a couple key lessons with him that he picked up during his time as a soldier.
“Never back down in a firefight,” he said. “Also, there is more to life than one fight.”
So when Colombo, a former Muay Thai champion, was submitted by Viktor Pesta in his third pro fight in 2012, he didn’t see it as a reason to panic. In fact, he hasn’t lost since, with four of those next six wins coming by knockout.
“The defeat in itself was a turning point,” he said. “I lost to a better fighter that day and I know I can beat him, so I upped my game and now I have not met the man to stop me.”
Life did get in the way for Colombo though, with the birth of his child and a knee injury keeping him inactive from 2013 to 2015. Now, two wins later, he’s entering the Octagon at the age of 36, knowing that he might have to accelerate things from here on out.
“Hell yeah,” he laughs. “And you will see from the get go.”
Despite his age, Colombo does have less wear and tear on his body than fighters that have been doing this since their late teens or early 20s, simply because he didn’t make his pro debut until he was 30, after picking up the sport while in the army.
RELATED: Colombo fighter bio | Matchup w/ Jarjis Danho
“During a tour in Iraq, I lived with a guy who trained in MMA and we started to roll and play with the whole MMA game,” he said. “And when we got home, I started in a gym and after a year I had my first amateur fight.”
And now he’s in the big show, competing in a division stacked with some of the greats of the sport. That could be a daunting prospect for anyone, but remember, Colombo doesn’t get rattled by the things that scare most.
“I think there is a strong top 10,” he said of the UFC’s heavyweight division. “But with three, four wins, I’m up there. Right now though, I’m on the bottom on my way up.”
The first step of that ladder is in Hamburg, and Colombo can’t wait to show what he can do on the big stage, with his self-description as “A well-rounded fighter who looks to end the fight” an exciting prospect for fans who crave knockouts.