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TRAINING: Typically, I am at work at 6:30 am everyday (excluding the weekends – thank God!) and get my strength and conditioning session in over my lunch break, with my head S&C coach Kevin Malahy at Crossfit405. I am back at the gym when I get off that afternoon and throughout the evening I’m working every aspect of my game. Depending on the night, I’m working my Jiu Jitsu with Master Raphael Lovato Jr at his academy Lovato’s School of BJJ & MMA, working my Judo/wresting with Olympic Alternate Brian Picklo at his school Matrix Grappling, or getting my sparring in down at UFC fighter Matt Grice’s new gym, R1-MMA. When I get home that evening, it’s shower, dinner, bedtime, and up again the next morning bright and early to do it all again!
When and why did you start training for fighting? I got into MMA when I was in college at the University of Missouri-Rolla. My grandfather was a boxer and I was always captivated by combative sports, and freshman year at college I walked into the Warrior Gym, what I thought was a local boxing gym, to train because I was no longer involved in all of the sports that I had previously been involved in growing up (basketball, football, baseball, and racing motocross). Ken Sparks was a pro boxer making the transition to MMA and the first 6 months in the gym was a weeding out process and I took a beating but loved the competition aspect of it and kept coming back.
What ranks and titles have you held? 2008 Texas – SW Regional Golden Gloves Champion, 2009 Grapplers Quest No-Gi Cruiser Weight Champion, Grapplers Quest No-Gi Absolute Champion, Grapplers Quest Gi –Blue Belt Heavyweight Champion, 2010 IBJJF World Championship – Blue Belt Heavyweight Silver Medalist, IBJJF World No-Gi Championship – Purple Belt Heavyweight Silver Medalist, USBJJF National Championship – Purple Belt Heavyweight Champion
Do you have any heroes? My Grandfather and My coaches – they have all reached the pinnacle of their professions whether it be Rafael Lovato Jr. in BJJ or Lewis Wood in boxing; they motivate and inspire me to push myself to greatness.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It means the world to me; it is the culmination of hard work and sacrifice, and the ability to compete against the best fighters in the world is a dream come true to put my hard work on display for the entire world.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? University of Missouri-Rolla; Bachelors of Science in Petroleum Engineering
What was your job before you started fighting? Petroleum Engineer – still is my day job, I work for one of the Forbes best 100 companies to work.
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Purple Belt in BJJ under Rafael Lovato Jr.
Favorite grappling technique: Any Choke I can slap on you.
Favorite Striking technique: Right Hand