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Training: 11am mitt work and striking drills, 4pm wrestling, 7pm conditioning.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I was always involved in martial arts and I just loved competition. I started in Karate from age five to seven and then at age nine I enrolled in a school called Universal Defense Systems, which covered a wide array of styles from kickboxing, judo, Kung-fu, and Arnis. I started in point sparring tournaments, Arnis (Escrima) tournaments, amateur kickboxing, and after enrolling in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school under Rodrigo Gracie I started in BJJ tournaments. The next step was, of course, MMA. So in 2003 I had my first fight at 185 pounds against Ronald Stallings. I was hooked ever since. Fighting has always been part of my life.
What titles have you held? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Ring of Combat Lightweight Champion, The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Finalist.
Do you have any heroes? My parents are both my heroes. They both worked so hard to support my brother and I. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? Fighting in the UFC has always been a dream for me that I worked hard every day in order to achieve. And now that I'm here again, I'm only going to work even harder and smarter than ever before.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I attended Kingsborough Community College for nursing -RN, following that I attended SUNY Downstate University and attained a Bachelors of Science in Nursing -BSN. And recently I was certified in my field of cardiology. In addition to my nursing degree I'm also a registered cardiac invasive specialist -RCIS. I assist Interventional Cardiologist place stents and other life saving devices in people’s hearts.
What was your job before you started fighting? I've been a registered nurse for about 10 years now and I still practice. I have 3 years experience in the Emergency Department, 2 years of Interventional Radiology, and I've been working in Cardiac Cath for the last 5 years.
Favorite grappling technique: Triangle choke
Favorite striking technique: Head kick