Tonight, Drew Dober, FIGHT! Magazine’s Full Time Fighter contest winner, will take on local welterweight Nick Nolte on the under card of Bellator Fighting Championship 16 in Kansas City.
Unlike the amateur fighter that flew off to Las Vegas to train at Xtreme Couture as a result of that contest, Dober is now a grounded professional logging the extra hours to advance his career.
“When I’m in the gym and when I’m getting reps in, hitting pad rounds and all that stuff, I’m dead serious.”, says the 21-year-old fighter.
That seriousness is a reflection of the professionalism and intensity he witnessed while rooming at the home of Shawn Tompkins and sparring with the likes of Sam Stout, Mike Pyle, Tyson Griffin and Frank Trigg.
“The top guys,” explains Dober, “this is their job. Going to the gym is like clocking in. [They’re] getting mat time and then getting the proper coach time. When they hit the heavy bag, hit the pads, jump rope or even shadow box, they don’t mess around. The true pros and the ones that will make it are the ones that are shadow boxing like they have an opponent in front of them.”
The opponent currently in front of “The Doberman” is Nick Nolte, a (2-1-0) welterweight who is coming off a first round submission victory at the Strikeforce Challenger event last November.
“I’ve seen a couple videos.” says Dober of Nolte. “I’ve fought his type before and from what I’ve seen he’s a gamer. So he’s going to come at me. I’m going to play my game. If plan A doesn’t work then I’ll go to plan B. [The] main thing though is to come out with that big W.”
The ‘W’ has eluded Dober in his last two fights, something he attributes primarily to his unwillingness to switch to a plan B. In his decision losses to Brandon Girtz and Chase Hackett (both highly regarded prospects themselves) Dober admits to being too comfortable with his jiu-jitsu. “Being comfortable on my back isn’t a good idea. So were just changing up my game, just a little bit, to where I can fight to get off my back instead of just laying there.”
In addition to utilizing his jiu-jitsu to counter wrestlers, Dober has worked “a ton” of wrestling with UFC veteran Jake Ellenberger and his undefeated brother Joe Ellenberger.
“You only have 15 minutes.” explains Dober, “You’re going to either go for the submission or if you can’t get the submission then you have to go to plan B right away. You can’t just wait for the mistake.”
Now, having put in the labor, Dober is ready to cash his check. “The fight in itself, that’s when I can display everything I’ve worked on. So I can fight with a smile on my face because the hard parts over. The fight is the fun part.”