An MMA star on working out in college... and the pros

By The Beacon | September 23, 2010 9:00pm

Mixed Martial Arts fighter Urijah Faber faced many obstacles to achieve his dream, and he hopes that other student athletes will work hard to achieve theirs.

By PJ Marcello, Staff Writer --

Finding time to work out with a hectic college schedule can be a difficult task, but the benefits make it worth the effort.

"I think you're happier and less stressed when you work out and get in shape," senior Caitlin Bartlett said. "It keeps you sane."

Learning how to fit in a regular workout schedule is particularly important for younger students.

"It's important to have something other than school going on, especially during freshman year," Bartlett said.

"The best thing to do is set out a time or attend a class offered at Howard," Bartlett said. "It's also a lot more fun if you go with friends so you can motivate each other to work out."

On Sept. 16, mixed martial arts (MMA) star Urijah Faber and rising fighter Joseph Benavidez visited the new Xtreme Edge Fitness Club in Beaverton to shoot an exercise and conditioning video for AMP Energy Juice's Bootcamp Series.

While at the gym Faber discussed how college students can stay in shape, his route to the MMA and the recent boom of MMA in the Portland area.

Faber used his busy college schedule as a way to keep him in shape and not slack.

"At UC Davis I was a student athlete and had to balance that with school and an intense workout regimen," Faber said.

"A busier schedule leaves you less time to procrastinate so use that to your advantage," he said.

The 31-year-old fighter out of Isla Vista, Calif. faced his fair share of challenges on his way to finding success in the cage.

"When I first found out about MMA, it was illegal in California," Faber said. "Once it was allowed, I really started getting into it. I felt my wrestling background would help me be good at it."

Adding to the challenges that MMA fighting has on its own, Faber had to find time to train while juggling other jobs.

"When I first started I was also working as a coach and bussing tables at a restaurant," Faber said. "But you have to be willing to overcome all obstacles if you really want to achieve your dreams."

Faber is a prime example of how to find success through effort in the MMA. He is known as one of the hardest workers in the sport and it shows in his 23-4 professional record as well as defending the WEC Championship belt in the featherweight division from March 17, 2006 to Nov. 5, 2008.

Faber is confident that in the future, MMA will only continue to grow.

"People are becoming much more educated about the sport and you see more and more kids getting involved every year," Faber said.

"WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) have done a great job of getting it to the masses."

The Portland area is no exception to the trend.

"A lot of good fighters are from or train out of Portland like Chael Sonnen, Randy Couture and Enoch Wilson. You see a growing number of people who are making it their life," Faber said.

With the rise of MMA lo cally, many gyms are now offering MMA classes around the Portland area. Gyms such as Straight Blast Gym and Team Quest Martial Arts are among the many places around Portland to get into MMA.

For those interested in watching Faber fight, his next match is set for Nov. 11 in Las Vegas for WEC 52 fight card against Takeya Mizugaki.

This will be Faber's debut in the bantamweight (135lb weight) division.