Although Colton Smith is coming off a stoppage loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 160, there’s no denying that the lightweight has had a successful start to his pro career, which includes winning TUF 16. What makes Smith’s achievements to date even more impressive, is that the active army soldier recently revealed he’s never participated in a full training camp, until now. The 26 year-old is set to battle Michael Chiesa today at “Fight for the Troops III.”
Recently Smith spoke with MMA Junkie.com in advance of his UFC Fight Night 31 bout, and here’s some of what he had to say about juggling his military and fighting careers.
“It’s extremely difficult,” Smith said “This is actually my first fight camp ever. I’ve never had a fight camp until this fight. I’m active duty. We still have soldier obligations. Luckily for this fight, the Army has blessed me with a fight camp.”
Smith relayed that fellow soldier Tim Kennedy took him “under his wing” when he turned pro, and his first training camp went down at the renowned Jackson’s MMA Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“It’s amazing, the leaps and bounds I’ve taken to make my MMA game seamless,” Smith said. “The Army is fully supportive of it and they want to see me be successful. I’m a huge Army supporter and a huge military supporter in general – soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, ‘coasts,’ it doesn’t matter – I support them all. I’m representing them. We don’t want me doing a half-assed training camp because of my obligations to the military. They want to make sure they’re giving back to me, as well.”
It will be interesting to see how Smith looks, because of having a full camp, but also because this will mark his lightweight debut. Chiesa is also looking to get back on the winning track, as the TUF 15 winner was submitted by Jorge Masvidal in his last outing, which was his first loss to date.
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