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Watching boxing and mma as a kid I couldn’t rap my head around the fact that someone would want to fight for a living or as a hobby. I had a hard time understanding why individuals would want to put their mind and body through the most vigorous training just to inflict and receive pain upon another individual.

Watching boxing and mma as a kid I couldn’t rap my head around the fact that someone would want to fight for a living or as a hobby. I had a hard time understanding why individuals would want to put their mind and body through the most vigorous training just to inflict and receive pain upon another individual.

After paying closer attention I started realizing that these guys weren’t just brawling, there was an actual game plan and strategy involved. The more I watched, the more I appreciated the sport. Understanding  how to slip a punch and counter, shoot for a takedown or just having the knowledge to know how to protect yourself from a choke is not an easy task because it takes a great deal of timing, precision and technique.

One day at a local gym I was persuaded by a friend to go train at a boxing gym in the area. I quickly realized this is truly the ultimate exercise, because not only do you get in the most amazing shape but you learn how to fight also. After a few months of training, my coach and I decided that I should fight in the NJ golden gloves, understanding that I wasn’t prepared because of the lack of experience I decided to go for it anyway.

My first fight I landed a big right hand in the first round which knocked my opponent out and I earned the boxer of the night award for my performance. As the tournament continued I lost a close decision in the semi final round. I continued to train and spar at other boxing gyms for about two years before taking a break to pursue other things.

 I began training again but in mixed martial arts under sensei Scott Zapfel who is a 3rd degree black belt and a heavyweight champ for challenge of champions. Sensei zapfel taught me a great deal of the basics which helped me build a good foundation for mma. Furthermore, I moved on and began training with the fight team at their headquarters facility, along side of bellator champion Lyman Good and the ultimate fighter standout Uriah Hall.

Training under their boxing coach Ray Velez, Daniel ''Tiger'' and other great instructors, I became sharper and more advanced. Although I was getting better I realized that my kick boxing was above and beyond my jujitsu so I joined the Marcelo Garcia academy in Manhattan to get a better understanding of the sport. Marcelo Garcia is a 5 time mudials (world) and 4 – time ADCC champion, he is also considered pound for pound one of the greatest in Brazilian jujitsu. His teaching curriculum, style and intense rolling with extremely high level students in his academy dramatically helped my overall ground game and understanding of the sport. At this time my kickboxing and jujitsu was good but I was missing takedowns, which is a big aspect in mma. I know In order to be a complete fighter I needed judo and wrestling experience.

I began working on my takedowns in judo under mahmoud  yehia who competed with the Egyptian national judo team and is a 6th degree black belt. I trained gee and no gee judo under Yehia who taught me amazing throws and takedowns. I also train under the expertise of boxing coach Colin Morgan. Colin Morgan trained multiple world champion boxers and continues to train professional boxers who come from all over to prepare for a major fight with him. Morgan and yehia coached me through my first two mma fights which I ended a minute into the first round with two major knock outs.