Saturday, May 28, 2022

Mitchell Details Facing “Drugged” Fighter In First MMA Gym Experience

UFC featherweight Bryce Mitchell has detailed facing a “drugged out” amateur fighter during his first experience inside an MMA gym at the age of 16.

Mitchell is as tough as they come. From backyard boxing matches to professional fights, “Thug Nasty” has seen and faced it all on his journey to the Octagon. That journey has allowed him to enter the group of ranked contenders at 145 pounds.

After going 9-0 on the regional scene, the Arkansas native had his chance to join the big leagues on The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated in 2018. Despite falling short in the semifinals, Mitchell had the opportunity to make a splash on MMA’s biggest stage at the finale event, where he defeated Tyler Diamond.

Since his debut, the 27-year-old has grown from strength to strength. In four wins, he’s defeated established names like Charles Rosa and Andre Fili and recorded only the second twister submission in UFC history.

Like most in the volatile sport of MMA, the road towards the top wasn’t easy. In Mitchell’s case, it involved getting his first taste of a gym by sparring with some drug-using amateur fighters.

During a recent interview with UFC play-by-play commentator Brendan Fitzgerald, “Thug Nasty” looked back on his early days in the sport and his earliest day in an MMA facility. It’s safe to say he and his friend received a shock to the system when they were welcomed to the gym by a “drugged out” fighter.

“I quit basketball, wrestled, and then went to train in MMA. I went to this MMA gym. First, when I went in, the dude was a little bit drugged out,” said Mitchell. “And you know, he wasn’t like, crazy on it, but one of the dudes at the gym was a little bit on some shit. I tell you what, some of that shit that you can get like that, you don’t get tired, you know what I’m saying? This dude was whipping my ass when I was 16.

“Me and my buddy Tyler went into this gym, where these guys, I mean, these are rough guys man. They’re on some heavy drug usage, okay, amateur fighters, pretty high ranked. Me and my buddy walked in this gym, my buddy gets kicked in the fucking head,” Mitchell added. “Tyler’s a tough dude, Tyler kicked my ass one time in training. He got kicked in the head and then I was up to spar that guy next, that kicked Tyler in the head; dropped him. And I was like, ‘Oh shit…’ I’m going up against this guy, and I didn’t know he was drugged out, but this motherfucker was all ripped up, muscles and shit, and he doesn’t get tired. He didn’t drop me, but he got me pretty good. I’m, telling ya, it was rough.”

It’s certainly no mystery where Mitchell got his toughness from, and he’ll certainly need to have that on full display when he returns to action next month.

Mitchell Will Return To Action At UFC 272

Mitchell hasn’t entered the Octagon since his October 2020 victory over Fili. After well over a year on the sidelines, “Thug Nasty” will be looking to extend his unbeaten professional record in 2022 and climb closer towards the top of the featherweight ladder, starting with a victory over UFC veteran Edson Barboza.

The #11-ranked Mitchell will face the Brazilian legend at UFC 272 on March 5. While he’s impressed on his way to the top 15, a win over Barboza would certainly be the biggest of Mitchell’s career to date and would firmly establish him as a top contender in a stacked 145-pound weight class.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 272, Bryce Mitchell or Edson Barboza?

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