Between training and working, I don’t have a lot of free time.
The life of a fighter, a real committed and dedicated fighter like myself, is a non-stop grind. But, as I’m preparing to make the transition from the regional level to the UFC, I still need to put in the hours at the office, and at the gym.
Fortunately, I’m able to live, train, and work near my hometown of Aurora, Colorado.
Coming from Colorado, I began training at Easton BJJ and the Grudge Training Center when I was just a teenager, even before Muscle Pharm started the #ElevationFightTeam. Staying near home has been great as I attempt to break into the UFC; I’m also able to help some of my teammates adapt to life in the U.S., like my roommate, Bojan Velickovic, who fought at #UFCSacramento last week.
While my main focus and passion remains MMA, I still need to work. I put in about 25 hours a week at Mount Saint Vincent’s, a local non-profit in Denver that helps traumatized kids. It’s a residential treatment center, and I’m there four days a week at six A.M. When my shift is over, I teach privates and group classes at High Altitude Martial Arts, a gym run my former UFC fighter Cody Donovan and my head coach, Christian Allen.
Christian is the best kept secret in MMA, and he’s helped me develop my style -- it’s the most dominant style of fighting. I don’t try to bang it out with anyone. I fight smart, I take angles, I don’t get hit, and in the long run that’s gonna pay off.
Everyone’s starting to see that style is how you win fights with #ConorMcGregor. Conor’s style right now is the most dominant; he keeps distance really well, he keeps range, he takes really great angles, and that’s my style too. It’s kind of hard to beat someone you can’t touch, and hopefully I can get on that #UFCDenver card on January and show everyone how dominant that style is.
After going 5-0 at the regional level, I think I’m ready for the jump to the big show. I even told Duane Ludwig, another one of my coaches, to let the UFC matchamkers know I can make 135, even though I prefer to fight at featherweight.
Duane and I have worked together for a while. He’s brought me in as a sparring partner for a lot of top-level guys. I’ve had all of these UFC guys coming in and out of the gym, and I can beat all of these guys. That’s kind of how I know I can be really good at this.
I beat a lot of the high-caliber guys up, so I think it’s time for me to get my name out there. I want to be recognized for how much hard work I’ve put in. And I can’t think of a better way to kick off my UFC career than in my hometown.