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TRAINING: My sessions are usually split between striking, grappling, and conditioning. I always try to find the balance between training specifics and putting the whole picture together.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training about five years ago, but never competed until I had been training for well over a year. I don't have the wrestling/boxing/athletic background that a lot of fighters do, so I had to kinda build it all up from scratch. I don't believe in jumping into something before you're ready.
What titles have you held? The Ultimate Fighter season seven winner. I've held amateur titles, WKA east coast MMA at 185 and 205. WKA National Muay Thai at 189
Do you have any heroes? Heroes are all around us. My parents, family, training partners, other fighters, and anyone who selflessly does good for others. And Oprah.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? Everything. Not for money or fame, but because to me it represents the highest level of achievement in our sport, and to be competitive and successful in this organization is every fighter's dream.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I have a degree in Surgical Technology from J. Sargeant Reynolds
What was your job before you started fighting? Surgical tech
Ranks in any martial arts styles: MMA and Muay Thai don't have any formal belting systems, just an informal list of people you should and shouldn't fight. I have a black belt in Sambo, but it's not as recognized as being belted in BJJ. Which by the way, I am a white belt in.
Favorite grappling technique: Anything unconventional and hard to pull off in an MMA fight. Leglocks, armbars and triangles from weird angles, and the Boston Crab. If I ever get that on someone, I'll retire.
Favorite Striking technique: Well hmmmm, they're all so deliciously painful. I guess I like knees and kicks, and since I'm recently allowed to throw them as a pro, I'm beginning to become a fan of elbows.