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TRAINING: My camp is in Honolulu for this fight, and we definitely brought in some good sparring partners.
When and why did you start training for fighting? A tae kwon do instructor moved near my house in 96. He took a few private lessons in jiu-jitsu. I never did tae kwon do. He saw me and my friends hanging out around the neighborhood and asked my father to have them come wrestle with him. I never wanted to go and one day my dad was like if you don’t go he won’t stop asking me. So I did it to please my dad. When I went there he tapped me out and my mind started rolling and never stopped.
What ranks and titles have you held? Former UFC Lightweight Champion. Former UFC Welterweight Champion. Rumble on the Rock lightweight champion. I am the most decorated jiu-jitsu athlete in America. I am the first non-Brazilian to win the world championships at the black belt level. Received Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt from Andre Pederneiras.
Do you have any heroes? I have had so many and still do. It wouldn’t be fair to say just one. I have new influences everyday in life and fighting.
What is your favorite technique? My heart and mind are my most important things. I know it doesn’t sound too original but I will prepare properly for each fight and never give up.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It feels great fighting in the UFC. When I was younger that is the only place I wanted to fight professionally.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I went to school to learn some wrestling but wasn’t too serious about the academics.
What was your job before you started fighting? None.