There was a slew of talent on display during this weekend’s UFC 113 event in Montreal, Canada. But for every superstar like Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, there’s an up-and-comer like Strikeforce’s Antwain Britt that’s hungry for a shot at the golden ticket.
“About five years ago I entered the Hybrid Academy of Martial Arts in Virginia and told them that I really liked this UFC/MMA thing,” Britt told 5thRound.com in an exclusive interview. “They looked at me like I was crazy. I was probably the 10th guy to walk through their doors that day saying the same thing. But I was out of shape. I was about 300 pounds.”
Since that day, Britt has worked relentlessly with head coach Buck Grant to sharpen his all-around MMA skills. Under Grant’s extensive tutelage, Britt has managed to rattle off an impressive 11-3 professional record, with nine of his wins ending in spectacular knockout fashion.
“Buck is one of the best striking coaches on the east coast,” the light heavyweight told 5thRound.com. “I basically had no striking when I first started, now I’m seen as one of the best strikers in the division. He’s always made sure I stayed the course. I wouldn’t be as successful as I am if I had gone to another gym.”
Britt was last seen exploding onto the Strikeforce scene when he handed Scott Lighty his only professional defeat via 1stRound TKO at “Strikeforce: Evolution” this past December.
Although Britt’s stock is rapidly skyrocketing, his investment into MMA wasn’t always paying dividends.
“I struggled for a long time. I was a cable technician,” Britt said of the days he was forced to pull double-duty. “I worked 10-hour shift days and then went to training. I know what it’s like to be tired and still try to perform at your best at the end of the night.
“It sucks, but in order to get to the level that you want to be at, that’s what you have to do.”
Thankfully, those days are long gone for Britt, as his sick MMA skills and blossoming SuffolkMMA gym in Suffolk, Virginia have allowed him to focus full-time on perfecting his mixed martial arts game, a benefit “The Juggernaut” feels is a necessity in order to compete on this stage.
“It’s the toughest when you get to this level and face the world’s best fighters,” Britt said of having to work two jobs. “There is no way you can beat your body down with a 9-5 [job], then train and get to the elite level you want to beat at. It’s just impossible.”
Britt meets the talented Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante this Saturday at “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery.” Although it’s the biggest test of his young career, his ultimate goal is to find himself in a 5Round title fight.
“Nine knockouts count and that’s what’s coming up in the very near future for Strikeforce,” Britt emphatically told 5thRound.com. “This is a sport. We get paid to do this and there’s no disrespect or animosity, but whoever the champion is I’m gonna go out blazin’ for them.
“I’m going to inject myself into this light heavyweight division and eat it from the inside-out.”