Today we start previewing some bouts at the SteelFist MMA card on June 23 in Salt Lake City. Two amateur prospects, Ben Guymon, of Foley's gym and The Pack MMA, (seen at top/behind working out with Pack teammate Eric Munoz) will meet Kaden Weston of One Hit MMA (seen at right sparring at the gym). Here are interviews with both, and we'll have other interviews with members of the card through June.
1) What got you interested in MMA? Who are some of the fighters you admire?
Guymon: I saw a couple UFC DVDs as a teenager, and thought it looked like fun. GSP is my favorite fighter, but I also like watching Connor McGregor, Jose Aldo, Fedor, and others.
Weston: What first got me into MMA was my cousin Gavin. I was always a fan, but never really considered doing it myself. He started training a few years back before he left on his mission. I decided to try a few classes with him, and I really liked it. I never really got into it until after he returned home though. We decided to check out One Hit MMA and we loved it, so we've been there ever since. There are many MMA athletes whom I admire. I have always been a big Belfort fan. I've always loved his style and heart he brings into fighting. Some of the athletes who have inspired me the most are those whom I train with, though.
2) Where are you training? Who are your coaches? With whom are you training?
Weston: I am training at One Hit MMA with my coaches Aldo Oreggia, Bruno Antunes, and Jordan and Crystal Smith. Me, my cousin Gavin, LJ Shultz, and Cory Rose all fight June 23. Jordan Chandler fights June 3 and Rowdy Akers fights on June 17 so we have all been pushing each other and training daily together. There are many other teammates who aren't fighting those days so they are sparring with us and helping us prepare.
Guymon: (At Foley's and The Pack) Pat Reeves, Justin Roberts and Billy Zumbrun are my coaches. My training partners are Geovanni Gavilanez, Eric Munoz, AJ Garcia and Dom Gero.
3) What are your strengths? What are your opponents strengths and how do you plan to neutralize that?
Guymon: I'm getting much more comfortable inside the cage. My cardio and fitness are some of my best strengths. I work very hard on being the best I can be, and do not quit.
Weston: I have always felt that I am strongest on the ground, but over the past couple of months and with the help of my stand up coaches I feel my stand-up has improved greatly. I am comfortable taking the fight anywhere. I haven't seen all of my opponents fights, but he fought one of my teammates in his last bout and during the fight I noticed he was a really durable guy. He took some early shots but was able to come back for the win. My strategy is to come out strong and keep him under pressure for the whole fight.
4) Where do you hope to be a year from now with your career?
Weston: A year from now I hope to be able to fight for the belt and go pro eventually!
Guymon: In a year I plan to be on a several fight win streak, and preparing for my pro debut.
We wish the best for both of these competitors and thank them for taking the time to speak with Utah Fight Game blog. Next we'll chat with young pros Steve Chan and Miles Welk, who are fighting each other on the card.
JUST A COUPLE MORE THINGS ... In MMA, local pro Jordan Chandler is moving to Mesa, Arizona to start his doctorate in physical therapy. He's been a credit to the sport for years and we wish him well. His final MMA bout will be June 3 in Price against Cy Nelson at Fierce Fighting Championship. ... On The Ultimate Fight show last night, Ramsey Nijem, who has a history with the Utah MMA scene, returned after two years off with a win over Julian Lane. ... In amateur boxing, some locals will be competing in Junior Olympics nationals. We'll be looking to see how they do.