TRAINING: Training days are different depending what day, six days a week. We mix it up with striking technique days, strength & conditioning, wrestling, BJJ, and MMA sparring. I’m working on putting it all together.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training in 2000. The main reason would be because I am a true competitor. It’s what I love to do and I couldn’t think of a better job for me than to be in a gym, training from 9 to 9 everyday. I have been wrestling for 20 years...since I was six I have been on a wrestling mat, so competition is really my life.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? High school wrestling: 2-time NJ state finalist, 3-time Greco and 3-time freestyle champion. Gold Medal Pan American (Blue belt), Brown Belt Absolute Division Grapplers Quest, Five-time Grapplers Quest Superfight Champion, US Trials for Abu Dhabi runner up losing to Cameron Earl in OT, Abu Dhabi qualifier for 2007, Gracie Arnold Classic Pro division champion (165 lbs to 195lbs weight class), Multiple time NAGA and Grapplers Quest winner. Grappling record of over 100 wins and 3 losses.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? Champion for Reality Fighting, Ring of Combat, WEC, and making it to the UFC
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Do you have any heroes? Dan Gable, Iowa's head wrestling coach, because he was a true champion and he made champions. That’s my all time goal - to be a champion and then to make champions.
What is your favorite technique? My takedowns and my body slams ... and breakdancing of course!
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? This is like the Super Bowl of fighting – it’s where every fighter aspires to be. This means a lot to me in many ways. I have really been waiting to fight in the UFC and now is my time - my dream is actually going to come true after so many years of hard work and now I can show the UFC and all the fight fans what kind of fighter I really am and how good I have gotten over the years. So I guess even after all the waiting, this is really the perfect time for me to showcase my skills.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I actually went to college for one semester on a wrestling scholarship and I was ranked eighth in the country in my weight class. Unfortunately, school was not my thing and I was really only there to wrestle. I didn’t pass all my classes and left school the next semester. I then graduated to the school of hard knocks.
What was your job before you started fighting? After I left college I had to get a "real" job and I became a town public works employee. That only lasted about three years when I decided that training full time was what I needed to be doing to fulfill my dreams of becoming a champion.