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TRAINING: My training hasn't changed for this fight, just the emphasis on what I am training (I'm not telling). I am still training upwards of six days a week, two to three times a day. I am training my boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling and JJ. I will say that I have put some extra emphasis on my conditioning. I feel that I have always been in good shape for my fights but I am going to be in phenomenal shape for this one. My gym, The HardCore Gym, recently became an American Top Team affiliate. I am fortunate to be able to spend some time down in Coconut Creek training and consider Ricardo Liborio to be a good friend. Nevertheless, my primary training has been and always will be at The HardCore Gym in Athens, GA. I have a great facility, great training partners, and a great coach/trainer in Adam Singer, my brother and best friend.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I have been involved in martial arts since I was eleven. My brother started teaching me kickboxing as he was taking it. As we got older and grew closer as brothers we started taking karate, tae kwon do, and other more traditional martial arts. We both have high school wrestling backgrounds as well. After a long evolution we got involved in BJJ, boxing and Muay Thai.
I have always enjoyed competition. I competed in boxing and Muay Thai before getting into MMA. It felt like a natural progression. I was training in all these things and instead of keeping them all separate we started putting it all together. Since I was no longer specializing in any one particular art I started to compete in NHB fighting. I believe that MMA is the purest of all combat sports. Competing in MMA gives my training purpose and pushes me to be the best.
I told Joe Silva that night I wanted in the UFC. When the opportunity for TUF 3 came along it was a chance to prove I belonged at that level. I spent all my years before the show training and fighting part-time. I now had in front of me an opportunity to be a full-time fighter. To be able to train full-time and fight is a chance of a lifetime. I decided school could wait. I wanted to make the most of this opportunity and see how far I could go. Fighting it the UFC proves I have made it to the highest level. It is a personal victory regardless what my future holds.