Cody not only inherited the warrior gene, but also the Irish “gift of the gab”– Not in a boastful way, but with the confidence of someone who is truly grateful for what they have and opportunities ahead. He spoke with high regard and appreciation for his coaches, trainers, and teammates at Grudge. “This gym produces some of the top fighters on the planet,” pointing out a number trainers and champion fighters and giving brief bios he continued, “It”s like a brotherhood, we have each others back. People might think we just come in here and pound on each other, but we try to help each other be better fighters. If you don”t have a fight you help the one who does…it”s a beautiful thing.” MMA is a full contact sport allowing the use of boxing, wrestling, and other fighting techniques to be used during competition. Strategies include striking, take-downs, and submissions. Victory is determined by judges’ decision at the end of the scheduled fight or by stoppage by the referee, fight doctor, the fighter (tap-out or verbal), a cornerman, throwing in the towel, or knockout. MMA initially had received negative press and painted as barbaric but that image is changing through education and regulation according to Cody. “There is nothing new to the idea of the sport– organized hand to hand combat has been around since Pankration was introduced to the ancient Greek Olympics. With sanctioning bodies now involved at all levels it has become much safer.” Introduction of weight classes, rounds limited to 5 minutes, restrictions on the use of knees to a downed opponent, headbutts, eye-gouging, etc as well as properly trained medical professionals and referees are just some of the precautions set in place by the professions overseers. Some analysts have put forth data suggesting that MMA is considerably safer than boxing with less emphasis on continued head strikes and more time spent with wrestling, grappling, and floor fighting. Still, with all of the quality improvements made to the sport stereotypes remain about MMA and those who compete. “People think that we are retarded meatheads, but my teammates are some of the smartest people I know. They”re all highly competitive very motivated- but to be the best you have to be smart and keep mentally in control in the ring. As in most sports, fighting is 90% mental, you have to get past your circle of concern and focus on your circle of control.” One intense fight early in Cody”s young career was a pivotal lesson in mental control and intestinal fortitude demanded by his profession. Physically challenged by broken bones to his face and hand suffered during the match, he struggled with a reason to continue. “I broke mentally several times during the fight,” recalling his fight with Ian Berg, who is now a teammate and one of his best friends. Cody was able to make it through the fight and was given the win, but gave the respect to Berg. “When it was over we knew that we were in a war ” they gave the fight to me in a decision, but Ian and I call it a draw.” After a fight like that, many would have considered a gentler profession, but for Cody it helped galvanize his resolve to be a MMA champion. “I knew after that fight that the MMA was my calling.” A casual interest in martial arts lead Cody to Brazilian JiuJitsu while a student 19 year old student at Colorado Arts Institute. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree he got a job in graphics design and animation. “I hated it ” I just couldn”t sit still!” he laughed recalling his brief career at a desk. Cody studied Brazilian JiuJitsu (BJJ) at Nate Marquardt”s gym, High Altitude Training (HAT) in Aurora Colorado. It was Marquardt who initially got Cody involved in MMA by recruiting him to help another fighter who was getting ready for a competition and needed to train with someone who was big and had BJJ skills. (Marquardt, a champion MMA fighter, is also a teammate of Cody”s at Grudge). At 6″3″ and over 200lbs Cody fit the bill. Cody also teaches BJJ, MMA and Kickboxing at HAT. With his skills and positive disposition he is a natural to work with the young students. “I”ve been fortunate to have so many people help me, so this is a way for me to give back to the MMA community.” Students train for different reasons, but for those who have high level of MMA aspirations it is helpful to have guidance from someone as grounded as Cody. “There is no Manual on how to become a pro-fighter. It would be a free-for-all if you let fighters enter the ring without strong foundation. You could show them a few tricks but they would fall apart. It”s like building a house– you wouldn”t install the crystal chandelier before you install a good foundation. At ever level of every sport you always practice the basics to build and keep a good foundation.” Cody practices what he preaches. He trains 3 times a day, 6 days a week — alternating sessions of sparring, conditioning, and learning/teaching. Prior to a fight he goes through an 8 week “fight camp” where he trains in varying intervals and intensity. He will have to amend his 8 week fight camp routine as he accepted in mid July an August 7 fight with Ryan Lopez in Oklahoma. 29 years of age, Cody fights at 205 in the Light Heavyweight division. Although he looked ripped to the casual observer, he claimed he was a little overweight “I love Guinness and I love to eat” he chuckled, “Good thing that I love to train and stay in good shape.” Not a trash talker Cody analyzed his challenger succinctly. “He is a big scary looking guy, but I like my skills against his.” Cody talked about strategy and techniques and then added, “You have to believe that you can beat anyone in the world ” or get another job.” Grudge Training Center 4298 Kipling Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 303-432-8858 www.grudgetrainingcenter.com Also find Cody at: www.myspace.com/donnybrookcody www.highaltitudema.com

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