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TRAINING: A typical day of training for this fight will be waking up in the morning and having breakfast, followed by strength and conditioning training at 11, then having a gap in the middle of the day for a shower, lunch, domestic chores, or whatever else life throws my way, and then night training at 6 pm, where we start off with an hour of kickboxing and an hour and a half of either jiu jitsu or MMA training with my sparring crammed in between them. Get home at 9, eat, shower, sleep, and get up the next morning for the next go around.
When and why did you start training for fighting? It just kinda happened. It was never something I always wanted to do since I was a child. I always wanted to do boxing. My older brother asked if I wanted to try kickboxing with him. I was like “meh… I guess I’ll try it” then a year later he asked me if I wanted to do jiu jitsu. I said “No way…” Well he made me do jiu jitsu anyways. And after I pulled off my first armbar I fell in love. Around that time my coach asked me if I wanted to try my hand at fighting an amateur kickboxing bout. I gave it a shot and didn’t do too shabby. That was at the age of 14. By the age of 16 I was just as good, if not better than all the other professionals on the team. By the time I turned 16, and after 9 amateur fights I just fell in love with the rush and excitement and satisfaction of fighting.
What ranks and titles have you held? 3 time BJJ US Open Champion in blue belt once and purple belt twice, Brown belt in Behring Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tachi Palace Fights Bantamweight champion.
Do you have any heroes? I wouldn’t exactly call them heroes. There has never been anyone on Earth that I have come across that is exactly as I would want to be. That is why I wouldn’t say I have any heroes, but I definitely have many people in my life that I want to be like in one aspect or another. My father is the hardest working man I’ve ever met in my life. My coach Tom Theofanopoulos is very wise and is the best teacher in general I have ever met. It takes a certain quality to be able to get through to people that other people can’t get through to. Above all I strive to be like Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian. To be Christ-like. I have always admired people of great faith, which is what I lacked in my childhood, and am finally learning to have.
What is your favorite technique? Hehehe… my favorite technique? Well everyone that has trained with me or seen me compete in Jiu Jitsu definitely knows what it is. I’m gonna keep my Jiu Jitsu game secret from MMA until there comes a time when I need to use it. But without a doubt on the feet I love the straight right, left hook, and kicking people in the head in general.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? The UFC provides me an opportunity to make a living doing something I love and a platform to spread the word of God.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I started going to school for a degree in Business Management. I actually enjoy school, especially in the areas of business, psychology, math, philosophy, and general health. But unfortunately when I have an upcoming fight it is near impossible to give my full attention to fighting and school at the same time. So I am going to have to put school on hold for a while. Fighting is where my heart currently is and I feel it’s what God’s plan for me is at this moment.
What was your job before you started fighting? I’ve been fighting professionally since I was 16 so luckily I’ve never had to get a real job.