20 year old Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Gabe Durocher from Strathmore was training in Colombia to hone his wrestling skills, but was suddenly presented with a unique opportunity. What was supposed to be a trip for training turned into a match where he represented Canada in the SBF Tournament in a friendly Canada vs Colombia fight!
"Basically I went down to Colombia to do some training, get some training in wrestling, and somebody asked me on nine days notice, they said 'hey, would you be interested in fighting down here?' and I said 'of course'. I took the fight on nine days notice and I was the main event of this one card. It was a really good experience," he said.
Most fighters would have several months to prepare for a fight, so only having nine days is about as short notice as you can get in the world of MMA. However, this wasn't a problem for Durocher, who used his well rounded skill set of wrestling, boxing, and kick boxing to take down his opponent, who was a boxer.
"I took the guy down and I imposed my wrestling on him because he was a boxer. I would say it went really well. One way to counter boxing is to impose a different style. You can't box when you're on the ground, which is why I decided to take him down."
Seeing himself as the main event in a fight he wasn't even planning on when he left Canada was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
"I was honestly surprised when they said I was the main event. I think they were advertising it down there as a Colombia vs Canada thing in friendly competition. I saw posters about it everywhere, I was shocked. It was really exciting, it was an honour, honestly, I was really excited I had a flag on me, that was pure coincidence."
One look at Durocher's resume shows you that he's the real deal. In May, he won the National Championship for Greco-Roman wrestling, a style of wrestling where you can't touch the legs, only above the waist. This win earned him a spot on Team Canada for Greco-Roman wrestling!
With a world-wide win on such short notice in Colombia and his spot on Team Canada, the future is looking bright for Durocher. He hopes to keep his MMA career going strong and eventually make it to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which he describes as being like the NHL of the MMA world.
"That's something that I really want to do. I'm going to take it as far as I can take it. Just keep working hard, man. I wanna see myself get there (the UFC) someday."
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