“This is something I want for my life. I want to try and take it to the next step, whatever that is…”
Interview and Photos by: Lance Edwards
People are familiar with Lee from his blog on TCD.net, he’s stepping into the cage for his first pro fight at IXFA Houston. I caught up with him at Urban Jungle Self Defense where he was preparing for his upcoming fight.
Lee: I’m feeling confident, actually I’m feeling great. there was a change in the fight card, but that’s ok
TCD.net: Has the change affected your training at all?
Lee: Well I’ve had to change my game plan, and have changed my focus a little to reflect that. I don’t know a whole lot about my opponent, he’s a young kid, I think about 17, and doesn’t have a lot of experience. It will probably be a tough fight for him. There’s no tape of him, so I don’t really know what he’s like.
TCD.net: So you’ve just turned pro, how was your amateur record.
Lee: I was 3-3. You know, i’m glad I went through the losses. I lost three in a row at 170lbs, and that was hard to deal with, it makes you wonder what you are doing. I learned a lot from it, its better to have losses early and learn, because everyone loses, it’s just sooner or later. My biggest weakness was my mental state, not my skill set. The losses made me a better fighter, and doing this has made me a better person all around.
TCD.net: How do you think you’ve benefited?
Lee: Well the lessons I’ve learned I’ve imported to the rest of my life, it taught me to be a better person. I’m not perfect but I’ve learned to think about things more carefully, to take my time and see things more clearly.
TCD.net: How did you get started fighting?
Lee: Well I moved to Houston a couple of years ago with work. I was fighting in North Carolina before I came here. I took six or seven months off before I found a gym and I’ve been training at Urban Jungle for two years.
TCD.net: Is the MMA scene different in Houston to North Carolina?
Lee: Yes, in NC there were no legal fights, that affected the community a bit, it wasn’t as established as Houston. To fight you had to go to West Virginia, and because of that the quality of the fighters here was slightly better. I realised a lot of the fighters here were able to be more serious, you know there are a lot of animals up there, and now its legal so they’re really getting better. I had no previous combat sports experience before 2007, I saw it on the TV and thought I could fight, and that they weren’t that good. I quickly realised it wasn’t as easy as it looked.
TCD.net: So what else do you like to do?
Lee: I love to cook, that’s my nemesis really when I’m cutting weight
TCD.net: You had some success in grappling tournaments.
Lee: That’s right, I competed No-Gi in Fight to Win and placed first in gi and second in no-gi. The next one I placed first in no-gi and lost my first match in the gi. I haven’t done any lately as Ive been more focused on MMA.
TCD.net: You had your last amateur fight earlier in the year
Lee: That’s right, against Pat St. Ann, I picked it up at a couple of weeks notice. I had to do catch weight at 160, I was exhausted from training and working. I won by decision but I should have finished him, but I hadn’t prepared enough.
Lee: This is something I want for my life. I want to try and take it to the next step, whatever that is, hopefully I’ll get another couple of fights before the end of the year.
TCD.net: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Lee: I’d like to thank Tony Torres Aponte, my trainer, all my training partners, and everyone that’s helped me. Also Dr. Frank Contreras, who is my sponsor and chiropractor at the Fitness Institute of Texas, he has really helped me a lot. Of course everyone else thats helped me, but especially my girlfriend Cori, she’s put up with a ton and is still around, she’s very special and I’m lucky to have her; lastly TheCageDoor.net for the exposure.
TCD.net: Thanks Lee, good luck in the fight
Lee: Thank you