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Pride Drives Richie Lewis

Yet another Iowa Central Community College wrestler is climbing the MMA ladder.

The JUCO wrestling mats served a future Rutgers Scarlet Knight with much more than just a bridge between high school and D-1 athletics. And Titan FC’s Richie Lewis admittedly wouldn’t be the man he is today or in the position he is now if it weren’t for ICCC head coach Luke Moffitt.

Lewis may have been born ready for the bright lights, but between the ears there was work to be done and few people could get through to him at that point in time.

“[Moffitt] is the man who actually changed my life and I think that that’s kind of the draw of Iowa Central,” Lewis said. “You would think that the big D-1 schools would produce better fighters, athletes or whatever, but, in reality, if you’re in junior college, chances are you came out of a rough position. Whether it be grades, fighting, the law, you go down to Central because you come from a troubled place and you go there to turn your life around.”

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Anybody who knows anything about east coast fighters knows there’s little assistance needed when it comes to putting a chip on their shoulder. Lewis explains that from the day he walked in until this very day, he was encouraged to carry and embrace that chip.

It’s the very formula that’s led to the success of an impressive and unexpected amount of top-tier MMA fighters through the years that Lewis is dead set on joining.

“I think at Iowa Central you have to be a dog in order to survive and you have to fight for every inch and you really have to prove yourself,” Lewis said. “I think that internal background that you have, that fight and that trouble inside you leads to success in the Octagon. Also, there’s the previous history from what you’ve seen from Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, Colby Covington, Joe Soto, and Phil Hawes, who’s now my teammate at Sanford. You see these guys on the wall, you see the success.”

Lewis was born a wrestler. He’s wrestled in the Big Ten, wrestled at Madison Square Garden, won a World Championship and much more, but he doesn’t want to move on with only glory to show.

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Lewis wants the glory, the money and the legacy, like many other Iowa Central wrestlers before him.

“There is money in wrestling, but I want to be a millionaire; I want to be rich,” Lewis explained. “I want to be like Conor McGregor, Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman - I want to be like these guys and there’s not that outlet in wrestling. And then you’ve seen guys who were in the same position as you at the very bottom in junior college, and you see these names on the wall who’ve been in your position, maybe even worse, and you realize that you know you can do it and you’re taking the next steps, so I think that culture at Iowa Central really breeds a possibility for success in MMA.”

Lewis loved his time with Rutgers, but couldn’t help but tattoo Iowa Central’s school logo on himself, echoing the sentiment shared by almost every wrestler to step foot in Fort Dodge. “If Iowa Central were a four-year college I would’ve stayed there with Coach Moffitt.”

“I have extreme pride in everywhere that I’m from - Toms River East, that’s where I went to high school, all the way to Rutgers and in between Iowa Central but, to be honest, Iowa Central is the place that I hold dearest in my heart,” Lewis said. “I think the camaraderie really brought us together. This is an individual sport, MMA as well as wrestling, but when you have a team with you and you move as a unit you move stronger, with more conviction. That’s where I really learned that.”

Lewis has a lot of work to do to reach the heights of fellow Iowa Central grads, but he’s already moving like he was shot out of a cannon. He’s 2-0 and itching to get back in the Titan FC cage. The wait is almost over.

Catch the return of Richie Lewis at Titan FC 74 LIVE, Friday, February 18, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!