As the inaugural fight night approaches for the newest entity in MMA, MMA Pro League, get to know the fighters for head coach Dan Miller’s Team New Jersey before they battle Team Pennsylvania Saturday from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and streaming live on FloCombat.com.

Here is what Dan Miller’s Team New Jersey fighters had to say as they prepare to take on head coach Daniel Gracie’s Team Pennsylvania:

CLAUDIO LEDESMA
Weight Class: Flyweight
Hometown: West Orange, NJ

Why do you fight?
“I fight because I love the sport and I feel I was gifted the ability to do it competitively. So I can’t let it go to waste.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“My favorite fighter is actually a blend of Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes. I look up to both of them as fighters and try to put a little piece of each of them in my game.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“I’m a jiu jitsu black belt. Jiu jitsu is what got my foot in the door but now I’m a complete fighter and don’t really favor any single style.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“I love New Jersey. I was born and bred here. MMA Pro League allows me to represent my state!”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“It’s the diversity. Jersey is a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds. I believe this state breeds the toughest guys around.”

TURPAL KHAMZAYEV
Weight Class: 130-pound Catchweight
Hometown: Clifton, NJ

Why do you fight?
“I fight because it’s in my blood. I was born to fight and that’s what I do best.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“Growing up as a kid I used to watch boxing, and some of the boxers I really enjoyed watching were Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Prince Naseem Hamed. I also steal a little bit of everyone’s styles from different contact sports, because you can’t be a one-dimensional fighter in modern MMA.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“My fighting background is pretty much all aspects of contact sports. I’ve earned a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, I have multiple grappling titles, multiple kickboxing/Muay Thai titles and three amateur MMA titles in two different promotions and in two different weight classes.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“MMA Pro League is the right fit for me because they are doing something new. It’s something that has not been done before, having two states compete against each other to see who wins. It is also a little different from other promotions because in other promotions you just go and fight for yourself, but in MMA Pro League you have a whole state behind you, and all the pressure is on you because you don’t want to let your team down.”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“My favorite thing about New Jersey is that we always bring the heat in any competition against anyone.”

KEVIN SEARS
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Hometown: Newark, NJ

Why do you fight?
There’s a lot of different reasons why I fight. The first reason was because I was a fan. I love the sport and entertainment, but the real reason why I fight is for my daughter and to show her you can chase your dreams and be great at something you’re passionate about.

I visited the UFC Expo at the first one they had in Las Vegas. It was a totally life-changing experience. I was just a fan of UFC and MMA, but when I went down there I knew that I was destined to be a fighter, gladiator and a badass.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“My favorite fighter more recently was Kimbo Slice, may he rest in peace. I did have a favorite fighter growing up, and yes, it was the one and only Georges St-Pierre. If it wasn’t ‘GSP’ then it was Tito Ortiz, just some all-around badass dudes.

Nowadays I really don’t follow fighting, but if I had to say my favorite active fighter fighting now, it’s definitely Jose Aldo. I’m an old school UFC guy from back in the day. Now I just see competition.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“My fighting style is just brawl and cause damage in there. I really don’t have a style. I go in there and try to get the job done even if it’s sloppy. You could say I’m emulating Kimbo combined with a wrestler.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“MMA Pro League is for me because it’s my next challenge and I can’t wait.”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
My favorite thing about New Jersey is my Aunt Denise, my grandma and my cousin Jazz. They lived in Newark most of their lives. Those are my people.”

MARK KOLKER
Weight Class: Welterweight
Hometown: Mobile, AL

Why do you fight?
“I like to fight because fighting is one of the few things in life I’m truly passionate about and gives me purpose. Also fighting provides the opportunity for a better life.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“I don’t really emulate any one fighter. I try to pick up as much as I can from different fighters and coaches and mix them into my game.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“I am a mixed martial artist and have been fighting as an amateur and professional for four years now.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“I am excited to fight for MMA Pro League because it is a well-run organization, and the opportunity to fight on their first show in Atlantic City seems like a great opportunity.”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“I am not from New Jersey although I train there. I am representing Mobile, Alabama. My favorite thing about Mobile is that on the coast we are a family, and we are eager to show the talent we have on the Gulf Coast.”

SHAN CELIA
Weight Class: Featherweight
Hometown: Wayne, NJ

Why do you fight?
“I fight for many reasons. I have a lot of passion for this sport and am looking to become the best.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“My favorite fighter other than myself would have to be Muhammad Ali because of the impact he had around the world. I wish to do the same one day, in my own way. I watch many fighters and am always studying combat, taking techniques from all the greats in all combat sports.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“I started in full on MMA, not one specific background.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“MMA Pro League is the right fit for me because they are professionals and take it seriously just like me.”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“My favorite thing about New Jersey is most people from here are blue collar, hard-working people, and it pushes me to chase my dreams.”

FRANCISCO MUNIZ
Weight Class: 140-pound Catchweight
Hometown: Caguas, Puerto Rico

Why do you fight?
“Because I have a huge chip on my shoulder.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“I don’t have a favorite fighter, I just try to be me.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“Brazilian jiu jitsu is my style.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“Because they’re giving me a shot that I’m worthy of.”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“It’s close to so many great things, like New York.”

GABRIEL RUIZ
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Hometown: Woodland Park, NJ

Why do you fight?
“I fight because I love to compete and the rush of going out there to the cage and being the best man of the night.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“My favorite fighter is Rich Franklin. I kind of got my style from him. I just go out and fight and put my heart out there.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“I have an all-around background, but I love to stand up. I feel comfortable anywhere though.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“MMA Pro League is the right fit for me because we are taken care of and it has a lot of benefits that people are going to see both immediately and over time.”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“My favorite thing in New Jersey is the people. We’re Jersey strong. Also, the food is great here.”

MIKE PAGANO
Weight Class: Featherweight
Hometown: Stanhope, NJ

Why do you fight?
“I fight because when I was growing up I was picked on and bullied a lot. I had to learn how to stand up for myself. Also, later on in my youth I had to take care of my father who was very sick with brain cancer, which took his life in 2008.

Seeing my father go through his daily battles and frustrations made me realize I could overcome anything in life. My father was and will always be my hero. He was one of the toughest, stubbornest, hardest workers I had the pleasure of knowing and had the pleasure of calling my dad. Each time I step into that cage I know he`s with me.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“My favorite fighter, or fighters if I could merge them together, would have to be Georges St-Pierre, Dominick Cruz, Mike Tyson and Buakaw Banchamek. As far as emulating their styles, each has something I like within their fighting styles or fighter I.Q., but for me I like to be my own fighter. I never want to be a paper cut out version of someone else. That`s the beautiful thing about MMA, all these different styles can mesh into one and you can create your style how you want.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“I`m a wrestler, boxer and black belt in jiu jitsu under Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“I feel MMA Pro League is the right fit for me because they are starting their own chapter in MMA and I love being a part of it! I like the concept as far as team versus team and the way you can collect points for your team by either KO/TKO, Submission, or Decision. It definitely makes a fighter want to push harder for that big win!”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“The Pizza!”

JUSTIN OSBORN
Weight Class: Lightweight
Hometown: Mobile, AL

Why do you fight?
“It’s what I love to do. This is what comes naturally to me. I was born to fight, plain and simple.”

Do you have a favorite fighter or someone you try to emulate?
“I’m trying to emulate the best Justin Osborn possible.”

What is your fighting background and style?
“Wrestling is my style.”

Why is MMA Pro League the right fit for you?
“They are giving me a cage to fight in and an opponent to fight. I’m here to fight my heart out and they are giving me a platform to do so.”

What is your favorite thing about New Jersey?
“I’ve never been on the East Coast before, so I’m looking forward to experiencing it.”