TRAINING: Training with the team at 10am, eat and nap, 430pm conditioning, eat and rest a little, then finishing with some pad work, wrestling or grappling, depending on the day.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I played a lot of sports growing up and in high school. When I was 16 some friends were training in MMA, so I tried and liked it as soon as I tried. I tried to train everyday with them until I started training in Shihaishinkai Karate. I got my black belt in 2005, then I wanted to turn pro in MMA after a lot of amateur fights in Muay Thai, grappling, Shooto, karate etc...
What ranks and titles have you held? The last Strikeforce welterweight champion. I won the Belgium amateur Shooto tournament, and I went to ADCC Europe after winning the ADCC Spain qualifications.
Do you have any heroes? I got involved in MMA also because I was reading a lot of manga (Japanese comics) and one of them was called TOUGH. It told the story of a young kid who learns MMA through his father, his name was Kibo Miyazawa, and I loved the story behind it and wanted to do like him.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It’s unbelievable. I will be the first Belgian to ever enter the cage and I am super excited about that! I want to be the first Belgian to win inside the UFC!
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I stopped going to college because I was skipping too many classes to go train, so I stopped. Later I did a few classes to earn a certificate in personal training.
What was your job before you started fighting? I worked as a gardener, popcorn maker in a cinema, ticket seller in a cinema, guard security, worked in a doctor office and painter.
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Black belt in Shihaishinkai Karate, Brown belt in BJJ
Favorite grappling technique: Armbar
Favorite striking technique: Leg kicks