The event, entitled Strikeforce: Challengers 14, features a main event with the unbeaten Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm taking on Pat “Bam Bam” Healy. Set to take place in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, the event also includes several fighters from the Lonestar State, with Carlo Prater, Ryan Larson, and Lee Higgins already announced for the event.
Another interesting personality to note for this upcoming card is Pro BMXer-turned-Fighter Dennis Dombrow, who will also be making his Strikeforce debut.
Riding since he was ten-years-old, Dombrow practically lived in skateparks until he was nineteen, spending most of his time learning tricks and jumps on his BMX bike.
It was then that the Empire-sponsored rider decided to make a jump of a different sort, leaping head-first into the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
With a background including includes training with a Carlson Gracie affiliate in Chicago along with much time spent with Vandry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Austin, the now 2-0 Dennis Dombrow now seeks to make his mark in a second extreme sport and is set to make his initial foray into a national promotion at Strikeforce: Challengers 14 against fellow Austinite Drew Pendleton of nearby Leander, TX.
I recently caught up with Dennis to get talk about his upcoming fight and get his thoughts on what it was like making the transition from the world of BMX to the world of MMA. Enjoy.
Dennis, you’ve primarily been known as a BMXer and now you’ve transitioned into a pro fighter set to make your Strikeforce debut. What is it with you and extreme sports man?
I have never really thought about it like that before. I guess I just like the feeling I get when I lay it all on the line.
Can you tell us a little bit about your BMX background? When did you start riding and what led you down the competitive world of pro BMX?
I started riding like any other kid.
Just riding with friends and trying to jump off of stuff. As I got older I got better and started traveling around to different contests. Back then riding bikes was the most fun in the whole world for me and when I got to the point where I could travel and compete it was like a dream come true!
What about MMA, how do you get into that?
I have been involved in martial arts my whole life, long before I even starting riding. Back then MMA and BJJ was unheard of. Fortunately enough Carlson Gracie had a school in Chicago and one of his purple belts at the time taught a BJJ class once a week at my tae kwon do school. My father was a brown belt in judo and really encouraged me to take the classes and I learned arm bars at a very young age. My cousin who was a bit older than me started training and fighting in like 1996. He paved the way for me and I fell in love with the sport since the very beginning. He was always trying to get me to train but I was so involved in the bike riding that I did not care about Jiu Jitsu anymore. I always watched the early UFC’s and Pride events but stopped training until I was 19.
How long have you been training in total and what do you love about it?
I started seriously training about 6 years ago and I love the challenge it puts me through on a daily basis.
For fans that don’t know, you were on ‘House Check’ which is like a BMX-version of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ How do you compare lifestyles within the two sports? Do you find guys are pretty similar?
The guys are similar that is for sure but the lifestyles are night and day difference. For instance to be a serious athlete and competitor in MMA you have to be focused and disciplined. Your whole life has to be dedicated to it because, if not, in my opinion you are not going to go very far. There are too many people out there these days that are on the grind and very hungry. In BMX you can hang out and party. Its not about competition.
From your vantage point, which sport has been harder to master?
I do not consider myself a master of anything so I can’t really answer that question.
You’re making your Strikeforce debut against Drew Pendleton on February 18th. How does it feel to be fighting not only in a large promotion but also in your adopted hometown of Austin, TX?
What do you know about your opponent and how are you preparing for him?
How do you see this fight going? Any predictions going into it?
What’s next for you after this fight?
All I am focused on is Drew Pendleton right now.
Cool man. Well we definitely look forward to seeing you out there. Any last words?
Thank you to everyone who has supported me. My family, my friends. All of my training partners in both Chicago and Austin. Mr. William Vandry for everything he has done. Everyone should be excited for this fight. Its going to be a barnburner.
From the World of BMX…
…to the world of MMA!