I am sitting in the Albuquerque Sunport (not Airport) waiting for myÂ flight back to Houston. Two weeks seems like a month. Iâ€™ve beenÂ training hard, and making an amazing amount of progress.
AlbuquerqueÂ is my home, but so is Houston, and I miss my team. The culture ofÂ Jacksonâ€™s is amazing. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows who isÂ fighting. I stopped into the gym during the morning pro class to sayÂ my thank youâ€™s and good byes. Clay Guida looks up and seeâ€™s me. HeÂ calls me by name. â€œArron!â€ he says, and reaches his hand out in theÂ â€œJacksonâ€ greeting: a sideways high five followed by a fist bump.
â€œYouâ€™re fighting Saturday, right?â€ He asks.
I reply that I am.
ClayÂ smiles wide (he is always smiling wide) and offers words ofÂ encouragement. Aaron Riley, Villasenor, Peanut, Goyo, the JapaneseÂ fighters, Leonard Garcia… the list goes on and on. One by one theyÂ slap me on the back or offer handshakes. â€œGo get â€˜emâ€ â€œDo well!â€Â â€œFinish the fightâ€.
I am overwhelmed with pride. Â Team Hoger is anxious to have me back. I will get no rest after thisÂ fight. Ryan Josey has a fight in two weeks, and Chico â€œMachine Gunâ€Â Young is getting ready for his pro debut. After Saturday I will beÂ dedicating my time to get my brothers ready. Sam is excited. EveryoneÂ is excited. They expect me to do well.
I’m not nervous, nor am I scared. Iâ€™ve been to hell before, and aÂ cage fight is nowhere near that. I am excited and I love the feeling ofÂ anticipation, in fact I welcome it. Â As a fighter, I step into the cage alone,Â yet I carry the hopes and expectations of my team on my shoulders. Â These expectations are not as heavy as a ruck, so the weight is noÂ issue.
Oddly enough, I feel like this is my pro debut. In fact, in many waysÂ it is. I am a new man now. Newly dedicated, newly focused. Iâ€™m notÂ stressed, I trained hard. Now I just have to let my training win theÂ day. Â I am determined to do right by my brothers and sisters. To uphold theÂ reputation of my two teams, and to avenge the losses of my fellow teamÂ mates.
I am prepared to bring war into the cage of the Houston ArenaÂ Theater.
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