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TRAINING: Well, I still work a full-time job as a professional petroleum engineer for a major oil and gas company; I get to work by 6:45am, work until lunch and typically get in my strength and conditioning work over my lunch break. I finish the day at work around 4:30 and then hit Lovato’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy and work on my ground game with world champion Rafael Lovato Jr. and will rotate striking with BJJ according to what I have coming up. I also work with world-class wrestlers and one of the best stand-up/boxing coaches in the world in Lewis Wood down in Houston as often as I can get down there and before every one of my fights.
Thoughts on opponent, Nick Ring? Nick is a great competitor, obviously with a record of 11-0, but with that being said I think he is a great test for me. He is well-rounded and I am looking to push the pace everywhere this fight goes and show the world my complete game. He is coming off of a controversial win in the UFC and I’m sure he is looking to make a statement, and I am making my debut with the greatest organization in the world and am looking to make a statement, so I believe that this is really going to be a great fight.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I got into MMA when I was in college at the University of Missouri-Rolla. My grandfather was a boxer and I was always captivated by combative sports, and freshman year at college I walked into the Warrior Gym, what I thought was a local boxing gym, to train because I was no longer involved in all of the sports that I had previously been involved in growing up (basketball, football, baseball, and racing motocross). Ken Sparks was a pro boxer making the transition to MMA and the first 6 months in the gym was a weeding out process and I took a beating but loved the competition aspect of it and kept coming back.
What ranks and titles have you held? 2008 Texas – SW Regional Golden Gloves Champion, 2009 Grapplers Quest No-Gi Cruiser Weight Champion, Grapplers Quest No-Gi Absolute Champion, Grapplers Quest Gi –Blue Belt Heavyweight Champion, 2010 IBJJF World Championship – Blue Belt Heavyweight Silver Medalist, IBJJF World No-Gi Championship – Purple Belt Heavyweight Silver Medalist, USBJJF National Championship – Purple Belt Heavyweight Champion
Do you have any heroes? My Grandfather and My coaches – they have all reached the pinnacle of their professions whether it be Rafael Lovato Jr. in BJJ or Lewis Wood in boxing; they motivate and inspire me to push myself to greatness.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It means the world to me; it is the culmination of hard work and sacrifice, and the ability to compete against the best fighters in the world is a dream come true to put my hard work on display for the entire world.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? University of Missouri-Rolla; Bachelors of Science in Petroleum Engineering
What was your job before you started fighting? Petroleum Engineer – still is my day job, I work for one of the Forbes best 100 companies to work.
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Purple Belt in BJJ under Rafael Lovato Jr.
Favorite grappling technique: Any Choke I can slap on you.
Favorite Striking technique: Right Hand