Here are 10 UFC fighters who got their starts in the military.
t should come as no surprise that many service members and veterans have gone on to succeed in martial arts, particularly the UFC. For some, it’s become a career, and for others, simply an obsession. For veterans like Marine-turned-UFC fighter Liz Carmouche, training can be both of the above, as well as a useful tool for smoothing out the transition process.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Liz noted that hitting the gym aided her transition to civilian life. She said, “If it wouldn’t have been for that, I probably would have struggled and wouldn’t be where I am today.” Just like UFC helped her transition out, the Marine Corps helped her be the fighter she is today. When asked about Marine Corps boot camp and what she’s used from it in her UFC career, she replied, “I knew that if they couldn’t break me, then no else could do it either.”
Like Liz, I’ve seen the positive effect of training on my transition firsthand. As a Marine Corps martial arts instructor, I sought out a Muay Thai kickboxing gym when I went to study abroad in Japan, and it not only helped with my transition out of the military, but it helped me transition into life in Japan. It gave me a community and purpose. Later, when I started working for the government in Washington, D.C., I became a kickboxing instructor at what is now UFC Gym. I taught for two years, made amazing friendships, and even had the chance to teach the cast of The Real World when they came by. They didn’t air that part of the show though — I guess I was too hard on them.
Not all of us see training as a way of assimilating. According to Bleacher Report, UFC fighter Tim Credeur said part of the reason he joined the Navy was to get closer to UFC. Others compete while they are still active in the military. Whether they train to be part of a community or simply because they love it (the two can certainly overlap), each of the following individuals below, as noted by Fox Sports and Bleacher Report, have served their country and kicked butt in the Octagon.
Here are 10 UFC fighters with military backgrounds.
Liz Carmouche: Liz served as a helicopter electrician in the Marines and did three tours in Iraq, and she fought Ronda Rousey in the first women’s bout in UFC history.
Tim Kennedy: Tim served as an Army Ranger and was awarded a Bronze Star. He spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan as a sniper, and unlike Liz, he was active while competing.
Brian Stann: Brian served in the Marines, was awarded the Silver Star, and retired to go on to become a FOX analyst.
The article continues on the next page…