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TRAINING: Wake up for team training in the morning, whatever it is that day. Then back in the gym for afternoon technique work in whatever is needed, and strength and conditioning as well. Certain days I'm back at night to do jits.
Thoughts on opponent, Mike Rio? I feel like it’s a fight I should win; I just have to go do it. I don't over think it too much, I just want to impose my will and be relentless and aggressive in my pursuit. I want a stoppage or finish for this fight more than I want air.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I just sort of fell into it after college. I wrestled in college and I was helping some other guys train. Then someone came into the gym looking for a 155-pound amateur. I took it last minute just for fun, and I never had any intention of fighting. I lost that fight, but that’s where I fell in love it. That was back in 2007. I was off and on for about two years between work and training, and then I started training more seriously in 2009.
What ranks and titles have you held? Number one ranked unsigned fighter in Georgia. Fight Party champion.
Do you have any heroes? My parents
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It’s everything. It’s the pinnacle of what I worked for and sacrificed and this makes it all worth it.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
What was your job before you started fighting? I’ve had several. I was a third grade teacher for a little bit. As of right now, I bartend and make and sell Southern folk pottery
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Purple belt in jiu-jitsu
Favorite grappling technique: The one that finishes someone
Favorite Striking technique: The punch that lands