TRAINING: My training days didn't change too much for this fight. I'm a young fighter with room for improvement, and my goal for every fight is to get better. I work striking with Mark Beecher 4 times a week, BJJ with Eliot Marshall 3 times a week, wrestling with Leister Bowling 3 times, and meet with my sports performance coach Loren Landow 3 times a week.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training for MMA when I was 17 years old. I walked into Miguel Torres's gym and saw those guys training and I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I started off by taking a couple of BJJ classes and then I eventually started taking kickboxing classes also. While I was deployed overseas I met some guys who trained kickboxing, BJJ and MMA. We would meet up after duty and train with each other every day.
What ranks and titles have you held? I'm a Purple Belt in BJJ under Miguel Torres and Andre Leite. I was All Army Combatives Champion and the All Guard Combatives Champion.
Do you have any heroes? Outside of MMA my heroes are my grandmother and mother. These women taught the values of hard work and sacrifice. In MMA, my heroes are Nate Marquardt, Matt Hughes and Miguel Torres
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? For me, fighting in the UFC is a dream come true. I trained for over seven years and dreamed of this moment for as long as I can remember.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? Yes. I went to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and got a BA in Criminal Justice.
What was your job before you started fighting? I spent seven years in the Army and was a student when I began fighting
Favorite grappling technique: Triangle chokes
Favorite striking technique: Jab