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TRAINING: I work overnight shifts at a home for At-Risk Youth, so I usually get off work around 8 am, then head over and do an hour to two hours of boxing with Coach Foust or Coach Eppolito. Then I head over and do my strength and conditioning with Nate "the Great" Hoffmeister (who is an amazing S&C coach). Then I take a nap before heading over to train with Coach Turner & my team at Knoxville Martial Arts Academy. I do an hour of pro practice there, then BJJ for 90 minutes, then MMA for 90 minutes. Then another nap and it's back to work for the evening. It's a pretty crazy schedule, but I remember the story that goes like this: Someone asked a super successful person "When do you sleep if you're always working like this?" The successful person responded with "Sleep? Sleep is for those people that are broke. I don't sleep. I have the opportunity to make a dream become a reality. I don't have time to sleep."
Thoughts on opponent, Gian Villante? Gian Villante is an extremely tough test for me. He's a stellar athlete, he's got clean, crisp striking, he's a great wrestler, and he trains BJJ with some world class guys. He's fought at heavyweight and went toe-to-toe with some extremely heavy-handed strikers, so he's got dynamite in his hands and granite in his chin. He's always in shape and well-conditioned. I'm glad I get to test myself against an opponent of his caliber; I didn't get to the UFC by taking easy fights and I'm glad there aren't any easy ones left!
When and why did you start training for fighting? I wanted to find something to challenge me after college football. I started training for fun, and after my first fight I fell in love with the sport.
What ranks and titles have you held? 2009 Sports Illustrated Submission Of The Year.
Do you have any heroes? My mother and father.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? A dream come true. Everyone aims at the top, so to finally make it here is HUGE! But I'm not done yet; I plan on making it to the top of the UFC - just wait and see!
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I received my bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of Tennessee.
What was your job before you started fighting? Student
Favorite grappling technique: guillotine
Favorite Striking technique: High kick and superman punch.