Daily News

Airman Strives to Become Pro Fighter

Jan 04, 2013

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Most people dream of getting rich, or houses with white picket fences, but one Airman's dream is to be locked in a blood-stained steel cage with a professional mixed martial artist.

For most, this would be a nightmare. However, for Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, the 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor here, his dream of becoming a professional MMA fighter is about to become reality.

"This has been a big dream of mine," said Caudillo. "My goal is to be the Ultimate Fighting Championship champion. I feel like MMA is my destiny."

Caudillo began his fighting career as a wrestler in high school and college. It wasn't until one of his deployments that he decided to pursue a career in MMA.

"I got interested in MMA when I was deployed to Afghanistan," said Caudillo. "I saw a few Soldiers and some other guys doing combatives and Jiu-jitsu, so I asked if I could partake. I started training with them and it really started my career in MMA."

After Caudillo returned from his deployment, he joined an MMA gym and started competing in local amateur fights. His success in the ring attracted the attention of MTV's reality show 'Caged.'

"Being on the show was good for publicity," said Caudillo. "It helped me meet a couple of people in UFC and make a lot of great connections."

After more than two years of hard work and training, Caudillo recently finished his amateur career with a six and three record -- but that is not the end of his story.

"I feel like I am ready to go 'pro,'" said Caudillo. "I'm setting up my first pro fight for March, and I'll make my debut in the 135-pound weight class."

Though his MMA career is taking off, Caudillo still wants to be an Airman.

"I still want to keep my Air Force career," said Caudillo. "It is nice to be able to work here at the fitness center. My job in the Air Force is to train people and keep them fit to fight."

The training Caudillo receives from the Air Force and MMA go hand-in-hand. Collectively, they help him be a better fighter and Airman.

"MMA has helped me learn a lot more as far as different types of workouts," he said. "What I learn at the MMA gym I take back to my squadron and use it to train people. I also use some of the fitness fundamentals that I learned in the Air Force to help me with my strength and endurance training for MMA."

Caudillo uses full-body workouts along with core and strength training to help his fellow Airmen pass their physical fitness tests and stay in shape.

"Before I would just do basic exercises like running, pushups and sit-ups to pass my PT test," said Staff Sgt. Crystal McElvane, 2nd FSS unit deployment manager. "Working out with (Caudillo) is a different level of intensity; it's a total-body workout. I am definitely getting more tone."

In return, Caudillo receives a lot of support from the Barksdale AFB community.

"A lot of my coworkers and other Airmen come to my fights to support me," said Caudillo. "It feels great to have them come and cheer me on."

With his last amateur fight behind him and a promising professional MMA career in front of him, Caudillo will be in the gym doing one of two things: working or training.