Ben Reiter explains how life in the Andes mountains, camp with Greg Jackson and a thirst for title-chasing TKOs is inspiring him heading into Friday night’s Bellator 166 showdown with Chris Honeycutt.

FO: What are your thoughts on Honeycutt as an opponent? How has the preparation gone leading up to this fight?

Reiter: Honeycutt is a great athlete and I am very excited to test my skill set against his in the cage. My training camp was excellent and I feel more than prepared to get that victory on Friday night.


You are right in the mix in the 185lb division. Is the plan to quickly climb the ladder and get a crack at the belt?

I just take it one fight at a time, really. Of course getting that belt is the ultimate goal. I am looking at one fight at a time right now though. I am good with whoever Bellator matches me up with, it’s fine with me.


For anybody who may not have seen you fight before, what’s your best asset?

I come from a wrestling background so make takedowns have been pretty strong throughout my MMA career. I really go for ground ‘n’ pound. I look for really heavy elbows in the ground in order to finish the fight.


Just 30 seconds into your Bellator debut your cup bizarrely smashed. What was going through your mind at that moment?

That was a really bizarre moment. I heard the cup crack and it ended up breaking in a couple of pieces. That had never happened to me before in a fight or even in training. I was fighting Shameer Garcia and we were fighting in his hometown in Detroit. So I just felt the pressure of the crowd to get this thing fixed and to get back out there and ready to fight.


You were born in New York but you fight out of Peru. How did that happen?

I have been living in Peru for the past five or six years. I went down on a volunteer trip originally. I met my wife and then we started a family there. I’ve been fighting out of Peru ever since, although I did this last camp at Greg Jackson’s in New Mexico. In Peru I run a charity – Luches Nobles (Noble Fights in Spanish). We do a handful of camps and projects. We bring a bunch of kids up into the impoverished communities in the Andes mountains, in really high altitude areas, where there is incomplete housing.

A lot of people are suffering from cold there. We were able to bring blankets and warm clothing to over 1,700 people in really vulnerable populations in the Andes. During the year we send guys from the gym I train at to donate blood platelets to kids with leukemia. We just try to give back a little bit. It’s cool and it adds balance to our lives. Just look up Luches Nobles on Facebook and you can see all that we have going on. We will be planning some things coming up for the holidays.


You mentioned training at Jackson-Wink’s, what’s that been like?

It’s been awesome, really, I feel like it has helped me so much. I’ve been able to fully focus on training. I get to learn from the best in coach Greg and coach Wink and they are incredible in the way they communicate and share information. Then you get the positive of competing and sparring with the best guys in the world on a daily basis. It’s been a really great experience and I hope to train here on a more regular basis.