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Bryan Battle prepares to fight Gabe Green in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Bryan Battle: ‘I Feel World Class Right Now’

Welterweight Bryan Battle Utilizes Newly Acquired Resources And Coaching To Help Take His Game To The Next Level Ahead Of UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs Gamrot

The last time Bryan Battle stepped into the Octagon, he couldn’t have shined any brighter.

The North Carolina native got the opportunity to compete in front of his family and friends at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida in Charlotte.

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Battle’s opponent, Gabe Green, came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, pushing forward and throwing a flurry of punches and kicks. In only 14 seconds, Battle found his opening and landed a right hand that put Green away in electrifying fashion.

Bryan Battle poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night ceremonial weigh-in at Spectrum Center on May 12, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Bryan Battle poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night ceremonial weigh-in at Spectrum Center on May 12, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“It’s hard to put into words what that moment felt like for me,” Battle said. “Being in front of all my friends and family competing on the world’s biggest stage for MMA, it was surreal. It was one of those moments where you have to pinch yourself. It was the fruit of a lot of hard labor.”

Despite making the most of the biggest fight of his UFC career thus far, Battle didn’t celebrate the victory for too long. While many fighters may take some time away from training, justifiably so, that’s not how the coaches and athletes at Carolina Combat Sports & Fitness are wired.

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Battle, who also coaches a youth mixed martial arts class, got back into the gym as fast as he could to continue training his pupils and prepare his professional teammates for their upcoming bouts.

“One of the great things about my gym is I’ve been with my coach since I started training and most of the guys that are at the gym have been with me forever,” Battle said. “There was definitely a little bit of a vibe but, for the most part, everyone treats me the same and say, ‘Hey, good job,’ [give me] a smack on the butt, and we just get back to work.”

Bryan Battle Lands Head Kick KO In 44 Seconds Against Sato | UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill
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Bryan Battle Lands Head Kick KO In 44 Seconds Against Sato | UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill
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“[My teammates] literally had fights the week after my fight so everyone was, ‘Congratulations, but we need you to hold mitts for this person, he’s getting ready for his fight.’ I went to California to go do a youth MMA tournament with one of the little girls I coach. Shout out to Willow. Willow, I love you. We stay busy so there’s not a lot of time to get too happy with what you’ve done.”

Coaching young kids’ mixed martial arts can be challenging due to the sport’s complexity, which forces Battle to relearn many skills. However, this sharpens his technique when he transitions into his own training. Not only that, but being a role model to these kids encourages Battle to lead by example and make the most of every training session.

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“[It’s] beneficial for them but also beneficial for me,” Battle said about coaching youth MMA. “The way those kids look at me, it’s like I’m a superhero to them. The way they treat me inspires me. There’s nothing quite as bad as losing and going home and seeing the kids afterwards because it’s like Superman died.”

With that being said, Battle believes his most recent training camp, in preparation for AJ Fletcher at UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs Gamrot, was the best he’s ever had. While noting how redundant that statement is In the world of MMA, Battle believes the volume and quality of his training over the last several months has produced “the best version of Bryan Battle that’s entered the Octagon.”

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“With the amount of preparation that me and my team have been able to put into this [fight], I feel world-class right now,” Battle said.

After starting his UFC career by winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 29, Battle now has more resources at his disposal to enhance his training. Battle says that since he’s more financially secure, he can afford meal prep and additional private sessions to take his game to new heights.

“Experience and resources,” Battle described as the biggest difference between now and when he fought on The Ultimate Fighter. “The experience of fighting all these guys. It forces you to get better. Once you’re in the UFC, it’s really sink or swim. Since being on TUF, I’ve had the resources to really put extra into my training.”

Bryan Battle poses for a portrait backstage during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Bryan Battle poses for a portrait backstage during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

“I can train more often, I can do privates that I couldn’t do before [and] I can afford meal prep now. When you’re a regional fighter, you’re trying to survive. When you’re in the UFC, if you really want to take it far and you invest in yourself, you can really take your game to a whole new level and I think that you’ve seen that with me.”

This Saturday, “The Butcher” challenges AJ Fletcher, who is coming off a second-round submission victory against Themba Gorimbo in February. While losing two of his last three fights in the Octagon, Fletcher has six first-round finishes in his 12-fight pro career.

“AJ is a really tough, underrated dude,” Battle said. “He doesn’t have a spotless UFC record, but he hasn’t fought any bums, and all the fights have been dog fights. No one’s finished him in his entire professional career. The guy’s good. A lot of people are looking right past him, and after Saturday they’re going to feel validated in looking past him because I’m gonna win the fight, but he’s somebody that if I was looking past him, then I’d be in real danger of dropping this fight. I have to be the best version of myself to go fight him and, fortunately, I am the best version of myself so we’re going to handle business on Saturday.”

UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs Gamrot took live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 23, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass