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TRAINING: As usual, nothing different - mornings at Thrive in Fresno, then 3 days a week I'll spend most of the day in Modesto at Modesto Power.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I have been involved in Martial Arts since age 6 doing Karate. I got into BJJ in '96 and got a Karate Black Belt by 16 and started MMA training at around 19. It was initially just to stay in shape after graduating from Fresno's Police Academy.
What ranks and titles have you held? I was the FIRST EVER WEC 145lb champ. I've also held the 155 lb WEC Native American belt as well as the IFC 145 lb belt. I was also the first TACHI PALACE FIGHTS 135 lb champ. I'm a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu and a BB in Karate.
Do you have any heroes? My mom for everything she's been through and the way she managed to raise me and my brother to always try and make not just the correct choices but the right ones. She is an amazing parent, especially since she was a single mom when I was 12 after my father went to prison for being a very bad man.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It is a reality I never really thought I'd wake up to. It's been a dream to get home again and the road has been so long and seemed near impossible to cross at times. There were some very big hurdles to overcome to get here but every speed bump was just more motivation to reach my goal of providing a better life for me and my family. Being a Mixed Martial Artist is my job - it's the only way I put food on the table and a roof above our head. To be able to do it in the UFC is a dream come true.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I tried college at 16 but it just wasn't a good fit. At that time in my life I was still very irresponsible and lacked the maturity needed.
What was your job before you started fighting? I ran security for a couple bars and did regular "rent a cop" security as well. I've also washed dishes, been an instructor, done brick work etc.
Favorite grappling technique: TRIANGLE
Favorite Striking technique: Head kick