Train Like a Madman
Commitment to training includes two major points. First, you must always be a student of the game. A true martial artist always looks to improve all aspects of his fight game. Making improvements between training camps in each discipline (wrestling, BJJ, kickboxing,boxing, etc.) and being willing to put it all together in competition is key. Second, you must be willing to make sacrifices. To train fulltime and become the best I could be, I packed my car, filled my gas tank with the last $30 I had, and moved to San Diego. I had no money and no place to live, and I ended a long-term relationship. I torture my body every day in training—all because I want to be a professional fighter. This is my chosen career. I believe I am destined to do this. And I believe no one will stop me from reaching my goals.
Winning the Race
Conditioning is crucial to winning fights. Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” This statement resonates with MMA. Time and time again, you will see super-skilled athletes lose a fight against a nontechnical fighter because the gifted athlete gases. Cardio is one of the main things you can control in your fights. I have fought guys that were more technical than me, and I won due to my superior conditioning. I always train like my life depends on it, six days a week, two to three times a day. Every single conditioning session is 110% to exhaustion. I believe my body will adapt to whatever I demand it to do. You must always look to exceed your own expectations. This is crucial to winning fights.
Strong mind. I am very lucky that my mom—very early in my life—taught me about the benefits of positive thinking. Fighting is 90% mental. Why do I say that? I sat in front of a panel on national television in front of millions of viewers on Inside MMA before my last fight, and the host asked me, “Dominick, we did a poll on the Internet and 93% of all viewers expect you to lose this next fight, what do you think of that?” It was awkward and kind of shocking that I had a 7% chance of winning the WEC Championship in the viewers’ eyes. But what 93% of viewers didn’t know was that I had already won that fight before I stepped in the cage. Nothing anyone said—no polls, no statistics, no reporter opinions—could make me think differently. All I could do was laugh, because I already knew I was going to win that fight and everyone would be shocked. Strong minds win fights.
My support system includes every positive person in my life. I have been very blessed that my family loves what I do. My mom has been my biggest fan and biggest supporter in every sport I’ve played. Of course, she worries about me, but she is my rock, keeping me grounded and humble. My coaches have been instrumental to my success. The game plans that these guys create are perfect.I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff. My team is awesome. As they say, “Iron sharpens iron.” Well, that is true here. I couldn’t be where I am without them. I am very fortunate to be doing something I truly love.