[In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, UFC’s Dennis Bermudez talks to SOHH readers about starting from the bottom and turning into an overnight fighting sensation.]
I was living in Pennsylvania with my mother and my grandmother. I was 22-years-old and working part-time at UPS and, at the time, my goal was to be a UPS driver because the salary was somewhere around $80,000 to $90,000.
The cost of living was a little bit lower and so that was my goal at the time. And then I started dabbling into fighting to fill the void in not being able to wrestle because my time to wrestle had come up and I wasn’t trying to become an Olympic champion.
So to fill that void in wrestling, I started with MMA (mixed martial arts) and at first it was to have a little fun and to get a workout. Then I started to realize, ‘Hey, I’m pretty good at this.’
Then I found out you could get paid from doing it. I was like, ‘Hey, I could use a couple extra bucks.’ From there, I fought and fought.’ I ended up getting onto a pay-per-view fight because somebody put a notice in my Facebook inbox to say there was a chance to win $50,000 if I won all three fights in one night.
So I went to work and said, “I’m going to try and win $50,000 right now and I hope you guys understand.” They understood and said I should go and pursue my dreams.
I ended up not winning the $50,000. I still got $15,000 grand which was enough to move out of my mom’s home and I went to Long Island with my girlfriend. Even then, I fell off the wagon and worked two jobs.
Then fighting came back around and I tried out for “The Ultimate Fighter 14” and I made it to the finale and then I got called to come onto the show and I said to my jobs, “Guys, I’m going on the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ show to try to be in the UFC right now.’
Again, I rolled the dice for fighting by quitting my job to pursue my dream of fighting and everything worked out. Everything worked out and now I’m a top welterweight.
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