Sherdog Prospect Watch: Brandon Bender


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

Sometimes what you think you want is not always what you really want or what is best for you. Undefeated featherweight prospect Brandon Bender found that out back in 2007. After winning his first two professional mixed martial arts fights under the King of the Cage banner, Bender decided he wanted to join the armed forces and gave up his budding mixed martial arts career.

“I joined the Navy Reserves,” said the 25-year-old Bender, who is now 9-0. “I was going to go active duty, but I ended up in the reserves. Once I got into the Naval Reserves, I figured out what I really wanted to do was fight."

With that discovery in hand, Bender went back to MMA. Since resuming his career in March 2009, he has won seven straight fights. Six of those wins came by first-round submission, and eight of Bender’s nine pro MMA victories have come by tapout.

“I’ve been blessed, to say the least,” said Bender, who trains at Millennia MMA in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. “Even with all of the wins I’ve been getting, I want to take my time with my career. It’s really easy to get ahead of yourself and not do what’s right for your career. I still want to let myself grow, learn and adapt to what’s coming ahead for me.”

In his most recent outing, Bender submitted Marlin Weikel with a triangle choke in the third round of their fight at Superior Cage Combat 4 “Grove vs. Silva” in February. The win was the first time since his professional debut that he had fought past the first round.

“I knew eventually I was going to run into somebody where I couldn’t submit them in the first round,” said Bender, “so that’s why you work so much on game plan and strategy and you have to be prepared for anything that comes. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my MMA game, so until I fix every part of it, I’m just going to keep working.”

Jeff Sherwood


Bender has snatched his foe's
neck in eight straight.

Bender started training in tae kwon do at the age of 7, wrestled in high school and now holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. However, instead of citing his grappling as his strong point, he went in a different direction.

“I know I’ve been getting all of these first-round submissions, but I’d have to say my patience is one of my strong points,” said Bender. “Earlier in my career, I’d just get so anxious and nervous before a fight about getting hit or striking with someone that I’d want to just go right out there and finish them immediately and I’d gas myself out. Now, I’m more calm, have more experience and have matured.

“As of now, I’m happy and still growing,” he added. “I want my game to be even, so I’m working hard on my striking, muay Thai, wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I grew up training with adults and getting my butt kicked and that was a great experience. Now I have my man strength and those butt kickings are going to benefit me.”

Though he has been fighting as a featherweight, Bender thinks his future is probably a little bit further down the scale at bantamweight.

“I’m looking at going to 135,” said Bender. “I’m not a very big 145, so I’m going to see how the weight cut goes. If I can make 135 and still feel good physically, I feel like I can be dominating.”

Bender has already had a small taste of bigger MMA shows, having fought at Bellator Fighting Championships 35 in March 2011. In that fight, he submitted Josh Herrick with a first-round guillotine choke. However, Bender is not in any rush to sign with Strikeforce or the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“Right now, I’m super content,” said Bender. “I put my faith in God that when it happens, it’ll happen. I’m just working at the UFC gym in Los Angeles, paying my bills, and if they’re ready to pick me up, I’m doing what I have to do to be ready for it. Obviously, if the right opportunity comes up and a fight is right for me, I’m going to take it, but I’m not going to rush into any fights without thinking it through and praying over it. If a short-notice fight with Zuffa were to come up and it sounds and feels right, then I’ll take it, but I still think my opportunity is coming either way.

“Everybody has hopes and dreams,” he added, “but I just try to do something to make myself better each day.”

view original article >>

Related News

  • 12 days ago
  • 24 views

Bantamweight prospect Aljamain Sterling will look to add to his unbeaten record later this evening at UFC Fight Night 45 when he takes on Hugo Viana on the "Prelims" portion of the card. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight division is exciting, but it could really use an injection of depth to prevent staleness at the top of the division's ranks. Of course, that's certainly easier said than done; however, with an infusion of promising prospects, there is always something to look for more

  • 29 days ago
  • 107 views

Watch Johnny Bedford's post-fight interview after UFC Fight Night 44 last night (June 28, 2014) on FOX Sports 1, during which he vents his frustration with referee Kerry Hatley's decision to stop his match against Cody Gibson a little too early. more

  • 29 days ago
  • 68 views

Swedish prospect Zebaztian Kadestam claimed the PXC welterweight title by defeating Guam's Josh Calvo at PXC 44. Sweden has a new MMA champion, as Zebaztian Kadestam took the vacant PXC welterweight title with a win over Guam's Josh Calvo. Training out of Ole Laursen's Legacy Gym in the Philippines, Kadestam once again showcased his striking as he picked apart the BJJ blackbelt en route to a comfortable decision win. With the victory, the Swedish prospect improves to 6-1, going a perfect 4-0 wit more

  • 29 days ago
  • 293 views

Watch highlights from the UFC Fight Night: San Antonio co-main event bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Nico Musoke. Video: Highlights: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nico Musoke more

  • 29 days ago
  • 133 views

Watch footage from the UFC Fight Night: San Antonio main event between Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens Video: Highlights: Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens more

  • 29 days ago
  • 43 views

Watch highlights from the Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nicholas Musoke fight at UFC Fight Night San Antonio, which took place on Saturday, June 28, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. more

  • 29 days ago
  • 57 views

Watch highlights from the Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens main event fight at UFC Fight Night San Antonio, which took place on Saturday, June 28, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. more

  • 29 days ago
  • 133 views

Watch highlights of Cub Swanson defeating Jeremy Stephens in the main event of UFC Fight Night 44 last night (Sat., June 28, 2014) at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. more

  • 29 days ago
  • 47 views

Watch highlights from the Ricardo Lamas vs. Hacran Dias fight at UFC Fight Night San Antonio, which took place on Saturday, June 28, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. more