I started training with the best fighters in the world trying to improve. I was a good athlete, so I did quite well with the team and that gave me the confidence that I could compete with people.
I did a lot of smoking fights and I fought almost every week since Pat would not let me fight until he was sure he was ready. I was also boxing, so I had 30 unofficial fights or more of those.
Come back when you’re down.
It is about falling and getting up again.
I just try to improve every day, and that’s all I can do.
I do not need to do all the trash talking. I try to do it with my fists, my knees and my feet.
It is about improving and controlling things that you can control, which improve day by day.
I’m waiting, that’s all, I’m not looking back.
It’s about being able to go through the routine, willing to go back when you’re knocked down. And when life does not go well for you, do not get depressed and get up and go back to work, and strive to be the best you can be.
My parents were divorced and my dad was in the Marines. I lived in California until I was 10 years old and then we moved to Bettendorf, Iowa when I was in fourth grade. I had an older brother, so it was a little easier for me to get used to things.
I lived in Iowa almost all my life, but I moved to St. Louis and opened a gym and an MMA training center.
Many military children make many movements, but I only made one, so it was not really a problem for me.
I have a bit of my father’s marine mentality, I suppose. You can not stop absorbing the culture that surrounds you.
I did takwondo since I was very young and I also played. I practiced taekwondo in martial arts and then I played soccer, baseball and basketball against older children because my brother was older. I learned fast enough not to be intimidated and not back down.
You do not really realize the effect that those things have on you when you grow up but then, when you look back, you can see how they shaped you.
I started fighting after moving to Iowa, I think in seventh grade. It’s really part of Iowa’s culture, so it’s hard not to do it if you like sports.
I have always done martial arts, I have always been interested in fighting.
I also saw boxing all the time and Tuesday Night Fights in the USA. UU And I kept hitting my heavy back in the garage.
I remember finding some UFC DVDs, so I started to see that and became a fan of it. It was a little boring because of everything I took and I held it and I send it back quickly through a lot, but I still saw it because I like martial arts.
I met Pat Militich when I was in high school when I was 16 and I just started training and I went there. I went to the same high school that Pat had attended and he would bring some of his fighters to practice fighting to train and I could meet him that way. I like it immediately.
I had never thought about being a professional wrestler, but knowing Pat [Militich] and the guys just pushed me in that direction.
I kept doing my thing, exercising weights, fighting and doing other places until I graduated from high school. Then I made the conscious decision to look for MMA seriously and full time.
The sport in 2000 was not as big as it is now [in 2008].
What I learned from those losses … It’s priceless.
It’s about … going back up and back to work and striving to be the best it can be.
Even in the losses, I always saw glimpses of something that kept me standing.
I have gone through many ups and downs. I am only willing to go back up every day to try to improve.
You really can not worry about things you can not control … You need to concentrate on getting where you need to be and not worrying about what could have been and what should have been.