As Trevin Giles prepares to step into the Octagon to face Antonio Arroyo this Saturday, he has a bold proclamation to make about fight night in his hometown.
“The Toyota Center will be the safest place in Houston, for sure,” he said. “You’ll never know who you’re sitting next to.”
Giles laughs, or should we say Officer Giles, as the middleweight prospect’s day job is as a police officer for the Houston Police Department. So while the 27-year-old takes care of business against Arroyo, several of his colleagues from the force are expected to be in attendance, watching as Giles looks to snap a two-fight losing streak.
It’s only his second bout since taking a year off to go through the police academy, and after the first one against Gerald Meerschaert shook the rust off, he’s expecting to be back in the form that saw him race out to an 11-0 pro record that included a win in the LFA promotion over Ryan Spann and a pair of UFC knockouts over James Bochnovic and Antonio Braga Neto.
But mixing a pro fighting career and police work isn’t the easiest juggling act.
“It’s been tough,” Giles said. “My last couple fights reflect that. It’s just being able to find a routine that works. I’ve been able to successfully schedule my training around my work, and sometimes it’s just a little less sleep, but it’s something I set out to do, so right now I’m happy with it and I feel like I’m able to get full camps and get all the training time I need and still have time for my son and my wife.”
Having found that balance, Giles can put his energy into both jobs and his family life, but the million dollar question is, why? It’s not like he’s a journeyman fighter just making up the numbers; he’s got the potential to make noise at 185 pounds at the highest level of the sport, but at the same time he’s also in a line of work that is far from low-risk.
“For the safety of it, as an insurance kind of thing,” he said. “I know if everything goes well in fighting and I don’t get injured and my opponents don’t pull out and I’m always able to get the fights I schedule, in that ideal world, I would be willing to say we’ll just do this because it’s a safe bet. But that doesn’t always happen. And God forbid I end up getting some kind of injury that costs me my career in the UFC, I’ve got a family. So if anything bad happens, I still do have a good career to fall back on.”
It makes perfect sense, yet what doesn’t really compute is Giles’ assertion that he’s more nervous going into a fight than he is when he’s on patrol.
“The thing that’s so enjoyable about fighting is that it’s scary,” he said. “It’s like a rollercoaster. You’re scared of it and then you do it, and it’s like, ‘It wasn’t so bad.’ For me, it makes me feel more alive. I’m doing something that is scary and something that’s worth doing. I’m not just out here being stagnant and doing the same thing every day and going through that kind of life. So it’s definitely a different kind of stress. With being a police officer, you have certain moments where things can get a little scary – you don’t know if somebody has a gun, or you do know they have a gun – but I’ve always been a little more nervous going into fights.”
“The way I look at it, as police officers, we train, and if you’re a good police officer you do more training outside of work,” Giles explains. “You’ve got to make sure you’re safe and you can take care of yourself. Obviously, I train fighting, so when I come up against most people on the street, I doubt that they have that same amount of training, so you have the edge there. But when you’re getting ready to fight somebody else in the UFC, they’ve been looking at film on you, you’ve been looking at film on them, both of you guys have been training and are hungry to go out there and get a win. And everybody’s got confidence in their fight game, but nobody knows what can happen. You can be the better fighter and still get caught with that shot because the other guy’s good enough to give it to you. That’s the scary part.”
Now it all makes sense, but even if you don’t understand Giles’ rationale, you have to agree that he’s clearly a bit of an adrenaline junkie. On Saturday, he gets to jump on that MMA rollercoaster again, and if you think he’s feeling the heat after the first two losses of his career, he’s not.
“It’s a sport,” he said. “If I view it that way, it gets me a little more competitive and you take the emotion out of it. You don’t get mad just because somebody beat you in a basketball game. It’s got to be the same way with fighting. You look back at it, see what you did wrong, see what the other person did good, and you keep growing from there.”
In other words, Trevin Giles can’t wait for that Octagon gate to close.
“When I step back and look at the two losses, it’s like, man, I’m just making little stupid mistakes and I need to stop thinking so hard. Just go out there and do me. Have some fun and get some wins.”
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