Interview: Bobby “Twilight” Powers

“I’m not a mean guy and I’m not a negative guy, but I want that belt. I want to put it around my waist and I want to be able to tell everyone that I’m the USACA Champion.”

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Bobby “Twilight” Powers

Interview and Photos by: Barry Laminack

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight.  It’s the size of the fight in the dog.  If you asked me to sum up Bobby Powers with one cliché, that would be it.  Oh sure, there are others I could use, and they would all be accurate.  I could talk about how big of a heart he has, how his sick cardio reminds me of the energizer bunny, or how he’s humble and down to earth, but all of those would be secondary.  I say that because when you meet Bobby, you don’t really notice that he fights at 125 pounds.

I’ve met 125 pound fighters before, and I’ve noticed it right away.  I’m not sure if it’s the way they carry themselves, they way they act or they way they talk, but most of the time, I notice.  And that’s what struck me about Bobby.

The first thing I noticed was his will to compete.  In between cardio sessions, instead of resting, he was shadow boxing.  Other than when he sat down to talk with me, he never stopped moving (and I was there for over 2 hours).  The next thing I noticed about him was how crisp he is.  His strikes are not lazy, and they don’t loop.  They were on target and quick.  There isn’t much wasted effort when he punches or kicks, and when pressed, he can unleash a flurry of punches in a matter of seconds.  Finally, I noticed how much he cared about the others around him.  As he was working out, he would often turn to a person near him to shout encouragement for them to keep going.

Honestly, I didn’t notice that Bobby was a 125 pound fighter until he told me he was during our interview.

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TCD.net: How did you get started in MMA?

Bobby: I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 6 years old.  I started with Kung Fu and Tai Kwon Do.  Then I started doing American Karate.  I started doing club wrestling, and I fell in love with it.  I wrestled in High School and made varsity my freshman year.

At first, I didn’t want to do MMA.  I thought those dudes were nuts!  TAMKA was big at the time, so I started doing it, but it was hard to find guys my in my weight class.  I was fighting guys 6’0 180lbs, but I was hammering them because I loved to bang.

Later, I moved up to College Station, and I opened up a place up there.  We started teaching MMA, and I started teaching wrestling.  Our stand up fighting that we teach is legit because it’s based on Krav Maga, which is so ‘GO GO GO GO’ until the threat is removed.

Talk got around that our school wasn’t an MMA school because nobody fought here.  Master Nolte wouldn’t let me fight until I was ready, so I trained for like 4 years. I finally had my first fight in Huntsville against a guy out of Humble.  He was a blue belt, but I ran thru him.

TCD.net: Along with training at your home gym, University of Sidekicks in College Station, you also train with Team Robo at Gracie Barra Woodlands here in Houston. How did that relationship come about?

Bobby: When I had my fight up in Huntsville, the guy I fought was a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu.  I didn’t know much about Jiu-Jitsu at the time, so I almost got caught up in triangle a couple of different times.  Ragan and Robo happened to be at the fights, so they pulled me aside afterward and we talked.

I’m so grateful to be here among these guys.

TCD.net: You have a wrestling background, but talk about your Jiu-Jitsu.  How has your progression been?

Bobby: I went to a couple of tournaments (like Battle of H-Town), and I took first place in the 0-6 months, but I thought I was just going to fly through it.  It was a lot harder than I expected.  I’m coming from a wrestling background, but whenever you put on that gi and belt, it’s just a whole different story.

I’ve gained so much knowledge for the Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu.  My head instructor is Chad Kight, but I also work a lot with Chad Robo. I also get to roll with Daniel “the Pit” Pineda out at 4oz fight club.

TCD.net: Do you ever worry about your coaches not agreeing on a course of action for you?

Bobby: Not really.  My stand up coaching is all done by Daniel Kim.  What’s cool about Chad Kite and Chad Robo is that Kite used to work with Robo.  They are both so cool, so whenever Robo says I should work on something, Kite is usually like, yeah man, that’s a good idea.  They are both real open-minded.

TCD.net: You have trained in many different disciplines throughout your martial arts career. Do you have a favorite?

Bobby: No, I’m pretty open minded, but if I had to pick one favorite, it would be the Krav Maga.

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TCD.net: Watching you train, you don’t seem to ever get tired.  What’s your secret?

Bobby: I’ve been a firecracker since my first day of wrestling practice when I was a little tyke.  I’ve always been active and people are like, “Bobby, when do you stop?”

During the morning, I wake up and do a light run and then roll some.  Then, I teach from 4pm all the way to 9:30 with no break.  When I look up at the clock and it is 10:00 pm, I’m like, man, it’s time to go.  Lately, I’ve been running to work because I’m about a mile and a half away.  Then when 10:00 pm comes around, I run home.  I pull a little tractor tire behind.  Once I get home, I eat and then shower and then I’m DONE!

TCD.net: Along with all that, I understand you are a full time student at Texas A&M.  What’s your Major?

Bobby: Well first of all, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t be in school, but I promised my Dad.  I’m a communications major.

TCD.net: You have trained with Bas Rutten a few different times. What was it like to work with “El Guapo”?

Bobby: He’s probably one of the most mellow and coolest guys ever.  I honestly thought he was drunk when he was teaching the seminar.  He was real mellow and making jokes and stuff.

TCD.net: What was it like to step into the cage for the first time?

Bobby: Walking to the cage is the biggest rush I’ve ever had.

The night before my first fight, I was thinking to myself, “Why am I doing this?  I’m about to step into a cage?”  Also, I’m a momma’s boy, so she was calling me and saying, “What are you doing?  We are paying for your education, and you want to go get pounded in the cage?  What the hell?  You’re lucky you have good insurance!”

When I go to the cage, I just asked the lord to be with me, stepped up into the cage, and I went after it. There are some people who said to me, “Man Bobby, the look in your eyes, you looked crazy!”

TCD.net: Why do you fight?

Bobby: I’m the type of guy that, if there is a challenge, I’m going to take it.  Getting up in that cage shows me that all the hard work I do, all that Saturday morning cardio with Daniel [Kim] when you felt like you were going to throw up, it’s time to test it!

That being said, I don’t think I’ve really found the answer yet.  I haven’t found it yet.  I just do it.  I want to say it’s because I’m a little guy.  Maybe it’s a confidence builder.  I used to have a real bad stuttering problem; that’s one of the reasons I got involved in Martial Arts.  I used to walk around with my head down.   I didn’t want to go to the speech therapy. I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  I just started do Martial Arts.

I’ve also had Doctors who have said I might have ADHD, and they wanted to put me on Adderall, but I told him, “Hey, training is my Adderalll, I don’t need that shit.  If I wake up, and I’m having a bad day, going in and teaching little 3 year olds to go “kee-yah, we love you Mr. Bobby” is the greatest feeling in the world.  Having little kids grabbing on to my knees and throwing sidekicks to my legs, I’m in heaven.  [laughs].

It’s helped me focus a lot, and it has given me a lot of confidence.

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TCD.net: Have you seen any footage of your opponent Joe Cruz?

Bobby: Joe Cruz has one video on You Tube.  I watch it every morning.  Most people wake up and brush their teeth first; I wake up and watch Joe Cruz. He’s been up in my mind, and once I get something in my mind, nothing is going to stop me.  I know it’s an amateur bout.  I know it’s not pro, but I’m treating it that way.  I’m treating it like a war.  It’s time to go.

I’m not a mean guy, and I’m not a negative guy, but I want that belt. I want to put it around my waist, and I want to be able to tell everyone that I’m the USACA Champion.  I’m going to Vegas for UFC 109, so I might even take it up there!

TCD.net: Anything you would like to say to Joe?

Bobby: It’s going to be a hell of a battle.  I’m coming into this with much respect for Texas Powerhouse, but he’s got something I want.  He’s had a good camp, but I’m at a better camp I think.  It’s just going to be a battle.

TCD.net: How will this fight end?

Bobby: I think of it every day, and every other day I have a different prediction.  At first I thought, “I’ll knock him out in the first round.” But then I watch his video and think, you know, this might go the distance.

A fight is a fight.  A lot of people ask, “What’s your game plane”, and all I can say is, I’m going to fight.

TCD.net: If you win, do you plan on defending the title in the future?

Bobby: To be honest, I want to go pro as fast as I can.  I hope to be fighting in the LFC one day, but I have to keep in mind that I’m 24 years old, but I feel like I’m 16.  My cardio is there, but I want to take my time and get my Jits game down.  You’ve got guys who jump pro, and they might go 4-0, but then they start seeing some legit guys.

A while back, I was supposed to fight Andy “Scrappy” Sandoval for the #1 contender shot, but he broke his wrist the day of weigh-ins.  That was one of the first times I knew that MMA was in my heart because I wanted to cry!  I was thinking, man, I just got my ass whooped every single day getting ready for this fight, and I trained and trained and trained for this.

I hope to be fighting in the LFC one day, and I hope I get to fight “Scrappy” because I really want to go up against him.

So yeah, I do want to go pro, but I’d defend the title at least once.

TCD.net: Anyone you would like to thank?

Bobby: Renee Noltee for University of Sidekicks.  She’s a woman in the MMA world, and she shows me everything.  Ragan McDaniel with B3 Sports; that guy has treated me like family and takes care of me.  I’d also like to thank Chad Robo, Chad Kight, Jermaine Anugwom, Daniel Kim, Todd Moore, and Mick from Lonestar Beatdown for giving me a shot and a great opportunity.