We asked some questions to newly turned Pro Mixed Martial Artist Kevin Kellerman ahead of his debut on June 18th.
Kevin, thanks for answering some questions for us before your pro debut. Not long to go now, how has the preparation gone for this fight?
Camp for this fight has been phenomenal. I’m very lucky and thankful to live the lifestyle I do so I make sure to enjoy every second of it.
You had an amateur record of 4-3. Why was now the right time to become a Professional?
I feel my amateur record does not reflect on my skill as a fighter, all my amateur fights have been against tough fighter, no bums that alot of other amateurs fight to build up their records. For me it was about getting the in-cage experience against tough competition. Coming off back to back amateur title fights it was time for me to go pro, I had no interest in becoming a career amateur fighter.
The Bantamweight division is a particularly tough and stacked division. What will make you into the 1% of fighters that will make it to the very top of MMA?
Work ethic, hustle, grit, determination and love of the grind is something that will set anyone apart, in any chosen field. Alot of people in this sport have the audacity to want be in the top 1% without putting in the work.
Who were the fighters you looked up to growing up & was there a particular fight/fighter that sticks in your mind growing up?
This is a tough one for me. I never had anyone I loved since I was a child, my tastes in fighters would change as my style would. Right now I’d have to say Conor McGregor because of how he is revolutionizing the sport and all the attention he is bringing to it. I also look up to all the fighters around me in my gym, that are there grinding and putting in the work and hustling. Respect to them.
Even at the higher levels of the Sport money is not usually the reason why fighters get into it. Are you working a job outside of MMA or funding yourself just through sponsors/pay-outs?
I honestly feel money in MMA isn’t that bad once you reach the pinnacle of the sport. It’s out there. If you’re making $25,000 a fight (at the beginning) and treating it like a job, fighting 3 times a year that’s $75,000. I know most managers take a fee etc but even $50,000 a year in the beginning to do what you love day in and day out instead of going to a job you hate is worth it for me. Is the pay where it should be? No. Is it getting there? Yes. I currently work part time and get by with the help of sponsors and hustle to make extra bucks when I can. Putting in the extra work to make tee shirts for upcoming fights to sell, teaching personal lessons and classes. Just hustling. Not sitting on the couch complaining about the pay.
Very few of us will ever experience the feeling of waiting backstage to get into a cage and fight another man. How does it feel waiting backstage before walking out? And what exactly is going through your mind?
This is a feeling I’ve come to love. I miss it when I go awhile without a fight. I feel so alive, like nothing else matters. I’m always prepared so I just go out there and have fun. I believe in my skills and I believe I deserve to be there. Being nervous is just a state of mind. You can control it and use it to your advantage.
What is the best advice you have received? And what advice would you give to a teenager looking to get into MMA?
I’ve learnt two pieces of critical advice; The first being just grind. Work hard, put in the time. And things will come. Enjoy the process of the hard work. If you don’t maybe this career isn’t for you. Go work as a cashier or something. And the second piece being you’re not too good, or too high up to listen to anyone. There is always something you can learn from anyone, in the gym or in every day life.
What are your favourite things to do outside of MMA?
Honestly MMA is my life. There’s not much I do outside of training but I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Going camping and road trips.
What is one thing that if you told people they would be surprised they didn’t know about you?
Not many people know that I’m a type 1 diabetic. That would probably surprise most people. You don’t hear of many fighters that are diabetic.
If MMA was outlawed and you had to pursue another career, what would it be and why?
This is tough. I think I’d do two things. I would start growing my personal brand. Spending the time I’d be training on myself and my brand. After that I’d take the time to find out what I was the most passionate about (besides fighting obviously) and once I found that I’d put 100% of my effort into it. I’d make sure to take my time and really find it, instead of half assing a bunch of other things.
Which fight in 2016 (other than your own!) are you most excited for?
So many great fights going on. I can’t wait for the McGregor Diaz rematch, they draw so much hype and attention. Who doesn’t want to see it? I’m also super excited for the Cruz Faber trilogy.
Who is your biggest hero outside of the ring and why?
My parents are definitely my biggest heroes period. They’re the perfect parents. I wouldn’t ask for anything they haven’t given me. They’re so passionate and caring – they’ve became the biggest fight fans since I started fighting and follow the UFC as much as I do! I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
When you win the UFC Bantamweight Title, who will be the 3 people you thank when being interviewed by Joe Rogan?
My team would be the first without a doubt. The people I got down with since day one. The second would be my parents for all their support as well. And that’s it.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
That’s tough, I love my desserts. I don’t think I could narrow it down. But I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t eat, white fish. This is a staple in my diet as I shed the last bit of my weight before the fight and it’s safe to say I am sick of it!
What famous person that you don’t like would you want to be put in a cage with?
My nickname is Kfed. I wanna battle Kevin Federline for that nick name.
And finally, do you FeelTheTip?