Tonawanda News — The life of a professional mixed martial arts fighter in New York State tests even the most mentally-strong competitor.
Because pro MMA is illegal in New York State, fighters like Tonawanda's Erik Herbert have to travel to get the opportunity to fight, and sometimes even try to make a living. The conditions can be brutal: fighting for a couple hundred dollars, in the home town of an opponent and with very little support.
But Herbert, the No. 1 ranked middleweight in Upstate New York according to upstatemmarankings.com, has figured out a way to make things work, despite the difficulties and frustrations of life on the road. He improved to 5-2 in his pro career Saturday night in Cleveland, Ohio with a unanimous decision victory over Ontario, Canada's Matt Dicensio, who was previously undefeated as a pro.
Herbert was happy with the way he performed in a "big fight" against a tough opponent.
"I've fought some really tough guys and this guy was one of the tougher guys I've ever fought," he said. "I think they brought me in to lose, you know, because I was the out of towner. So it went real well and I got the decision."
The first round was close, but Herbert said he felt he did everything he could but that Dicensio was fighting a good fight as well. In the second "The Bull" started to focus on his ground and pound and abandon his submission gameplan against Dicensio, who is a very talented grappler and jiujitsu guy.
"He knew I was going to come out and try to take him down and try to submit him," Herbert said. "He's one of the more accomplished jiujitsu submission guys out of Canada, and I knew by taking him down we'd be in his world too.