On lighting up Sacramento, fighting with Team Alpha Male and surviving life and death situations on the street.
This article was originally published in Fighters Only March 2020 – Issue 189
Your most recent scrap was a vicious KO of Sheymon Moraes at UFC Sacramento. What are your memories of the fight?
There were so many emotions, man. The room was electric. The fact that we all got to share those wins together was a beautiful thing.
With so many fi ghters from the Team Alpha Male gym on that same card, what was it like in training camp leading up to the event?
It was awesome. The energy in the room was electric. We are a family. Being able to train for the same event was badass. We are always pushing each other and making each other better but to be able to compete on the same night was a cool feeling.
After that fight you said you felt like you leveled up. You are looking for big game and a big name. Who are you looking to fight next?
Anybody in the top ten, really. I don’t have a specific name. I am just enjoying my win. I was just enjoying a few days where I could hang out with my girlfriend, my dog and my buddies. I was enjoying life. I was riding motorcycles and getting tattoos and enjoying life after the last fight.
At the same time as UFC Sacramento was going down, you reunited with your father after nearly 17 years apart. What did that fact add to the entire experience?
It was really cool to get to see him for the first time in a long time. To get a win like that, it’s not just him. It’s my little sisters. It’s my mom. It’s my friends I grew up with. It was the whole city of Sacramento there with me. It was a win for all of us. That was a beautiful thing and we all got to share that win together.
What was the city like after that crazy event? Was it like a sports team winning a championship in town?
I’m not a big sports guy. I don’t watch a lot of sports but I feel like that is how it has to feel. Even though we all competed separately, it was like we won as a team. We won as a city. When you see a team with the Super Bowl and the whole city just goes crazy, that’s how it felt. Going out in Sacramento that Saturday night, everywhere you went everybody was just on fire because we all won. The whole city won.
Let’s talk about the “You can’t whoop my ass though” mindset you carry. In every situation since you were a young man that was your attitude. How has carrying that chip on your shoulder and having that attitude affected who you have become today?
It’s just the way we grew up. You can’t whoop my ass though. My whole life people told me I better stop hanging out with certain people. They told me I better start getting better grades. They told me I better start paying attention. Whatever regular job I had, trying to pay the bills part time while I was trying to get fighting up off the ground, everyone was always telling me what to do. Look, don’t tell me what to do if you can’t whoop my ass. I am a professional fighter. All I give a fuck about is fighting. All I have ever cared about is fighting. If you can’t whoop my ass you can’t tell me shit. You can’t give me advice. If you are not in the same situation I’m in, if you haven’t overcome what I have overcome, if you haven’t seen the shit I have seen and made it out the other side in one piece, you can’t tell me shit, basically.
Can you give us a specific example of that?
I have seen all kinds of horrible shit. I don’t want to go into super detail. I have been in situations with my friends where it was life or death, man. We made it out the other side. Here we are. Everybody has stuff to deal with. Everyone is fighting their own battles. I am fighting mine like the next guy is fighting his. I’m not going to give someone else advice if I don’t know their situations. The same goes for me. I’m not going to impose on anyone and I don’t want to be imposed on. If you don’t know what I am going through then leave me the fuck alone. For the people who know what I am going through, for the people who were there with me, those are the people that I am doing this for, the people that have been there since I was a punk ass little kid getting in trouble. Those are the people I am doing this for.