Ep. #67 – Nate Smith

Nate Smith is an undefeated mixed martial artist who most recently competed in the Flyweight division for LFA. In his six professional victories, he rallied off four straight stoppage victories en route to earn a contract to compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.

Nate Smith: And where uh, where are you what what is this in the background? Well, let it be known, i don’t. I don’t just talk the talk right now. I walk the walk so right now we’re uh i’m at another protest that we’re leading at the state capitol. Another organization is kind of leading the way on this one and me, and my my brother and sisters. We were following suit and see how this going to play out. I just want to make sure everybody be safe, but also let it be known. We’Re not going to continue to accept racism, not only within their own police force and tragic deaths that shouldn’t become death itself, like there’s different ways to apprehend people just different. Take down people and granted every race. Has this bad egg glad the same sense a life? Can can never be replaced yeah? I love that you’re using your platform to spread uh to spread a positive message. I find a lot of people. Don’T don’t use their platform in a positive way, so i’m glad that that’s what you’re doing um. As for you, how have you been throughout the pandemic? Uh i’ve been i’ve been good. I can’t say it’s been all right: uh, you know sunshine and rainbows, but it’s been, it’s been a journey itself, it’s been a blessing in the curse, you know uh and it took. I took a lot of losses during this time with this pandemic, but then, alongside while still being out here, protesting making sure you know let it be known like this. Racism cannot be accepted, but while trying to not even 100 training just a quarter into the training, it’s just a quick. You know a quarter for saying i’ve been training yourself, it’s been, it’s been. Quite it’s been quite a quiet ordeal man. So what sorts of things have you been doing, uh to train? I’M sure training has been a little bit uh a little bit hindered almost uh not being able to to get the full access to gym and training partners. So what sorts of things have you been doing? Well as far as right now, my gym is open. We we have taken the precautions. We have done everything we need to do just to get everybody in it, because we have too many guys for fights a couple of my own teammates and are on the same card as i’m on uh, but it’s uh, oh man, it’s like just getting my teammates Together, we we, you know during the pandemic, like in early march yeah, i’m good um, checking in on me um, but yeah, just getting one of my teammates against the train, man uh working on some condition, i’m a wrestler, so normally um wrestlers. We kind of already have our you know: training regimen, so we never really break that. So i just kind of was doing my own thing until we got to the point where we’re able to you know kind of sneak around and you know get some work work in. You know accidentally left the door open to the you know. You know type ordeal. So yeah it’s been like, i said it’s been a journey, but it’s a blessing, it’s a blessing to curse and disguise that i’ve been ready, staying, ready, uh for whenever and whatever so you. You hear a lot of wrestlers transitioning into mma, guys like daniel cormier, guys, like your car closes, there’s been a a a wide range of fighters who have who have made the leap. What was the reason to to transition into mma and what was the transition? Like? Oh man, the reasoning for transitioning to mma for me was financial reason. Okay, i’m like i’m a broke college kid. You know why not i’m not really, i’m not really making any money and wrestling because uh, greco-roman freestyle wrestling is overlooked by a lot of people and they don’t understand. You know it’s one of the originators of the sports itself, so you know we’re a different breed in that factory. But when uh, when i started doing mma the transitioning uh transition into doing mma, i was already doing a little mma training uh, but just not competitively back in high school um elementary and into high school. But i wasn’t doing the pathway. I was just learning how to defend myself and uh from that. I kind of just fell in love with after a few fights made, some good money put on some great shows people was recommending for me. You know i was just constantly asking for me when nick smith’s gon na come back, he’s gon na get back on the card, and i was like okay and my coach, just kind of made it clear and probably no fighting during the season. So i was like. Okay, so that you know it the transition itself, it was, it was rough, it wasn’t easy. It took a lot to get to the point where i can’t have the confidence to say i’m ready as a pro, and here we are, what was the? What was the hardest part? Was it the stand up? Was it the jiu jitsu? I mean i hear a lot of people saying you know what the stand up was probably the hardest, but, like you said, you had a little bit of training to begin with. What was the hardest uh martial art to pick up? Oh me, it was jiu jitsu uh, because as a wrestler, you know we get told to like wrestlers. We, we transition, jiu jitsu pretty easily, and just you know, depending on skill, set things in that nature. That takes into account so i’m a sponge. I pick up things pretty quickly, but it takes it took time and repetition a lot for me to perfect these certain angles. These crash passes open guards these these ankle locks. These knee bars these armor platas things. In that nature, etc, to fully understand the reason why i move my head this way, why am i doing this? Why am i doing that, and why isn’t this working for me? Yeah again, i became obsessed just like i came obsessed with mma. I became obsessed with jiu jitsu, so ah um literally a big old freaking watch with one on my arm. Anyway, hey yeah man, it it took a lot and um to just understand. Jiu, jitsu and uh live and breathe the life of jiu jitsu. It’S kind of being the same segment of being a wrestler living and breathing and eating the life as a wrestler, and not many people can do it. So now, we’ve got fast forward to today. You’Ve got your fight coming up now, in less than a month. Um, you had a long period off uh before your last fight, like it was almost a year. Oh yeah um. What was it like taking such a long period of time, and do you think it benefited your performance or do you think it hindered your performance uh? It benefited, i wouldn’t say it hindered uh. The only thing that hindered was my mental because i was kind of bored and then from that factor i benefited from it, not only i grew as a martial artist. I kept growing and that’s why i tell a lot of people in these interviews. I steady grow like i’m, not the same person as i was the day before uh i studied change. I made adjustments. I steady continue to make sure i improve as a martial artist to let it be known like there’s no holes in my game and when i go out there and fight, i’m not afraid to lose, i don’t lose. I take lessons so as for me being young, like i can care less everybody get too wrapped around being undefeated and all that other stuff. I can care less because there’s always a bigger fish in the sea. I want to be that bigger fish. So how can i make myself a bigger fish? You know and that’s what i’ve been doing. That’S what i’m continuing doing, and it’s not going to change. It’S not going to stop so. Oh yeah, all right! Just thinking about it right now, i kind of just broke out some memories right. I cannot wait for august 11.. I just i can’t so you’re now, you’re now 6-0, like you, said, you’re undefeated, 6-0 um. Those last four have all been finishes. What can we kind of? What can we expect to see from you come august 11th. I know like with the contender series dana white’s often looking for finishes. Is that something that you’re going to try to prioritize, or is it just? If it happens, it happens if it doesn’t. I don’t i’m not focusing on that. I’M i’m really not focusing on that. If it happens, it happens. I mean uh a lot of people kind of underestimate, like my wrestling side and they’re, just not seeing it saying. Also like oh he’s, not just a striker, you know he can wrestle. He can grapple as well just based off my last performance, so i have to consume continuously, prove myself and let it be known like i’m, a bad mother after and uh, i’m not the one you really want to toy with, and i keep telling people that you Know i i i don’t like it, but it kind of gives me a sense of uh energy, but i mean look past i’d be like oh okay, that’s how you want to do it because at the end of the day, you’re gon na have to see me And like it’s, it’s it’s on and popping like man, because, if the opportunity itself i’m going to finish, that’s the goal is to finish it right. But that’s not the case. The goal is to get the contract. The goal is to sustain myself and let me know i’m one of the bad baddest up-and-comers in the us in the flat week: division um. The goal is to, let me know, like hey, dana white, i’m your guy, i’m your new guy now and a lot of people kind of say that and they don’t live up to it. They’Re part of the hype or you know they. They show these uh different aspirations. When i tell you when i tell you something, i mean it, it’s just like i’m a man of my word so i’ll make things happen and the only way for an individual to beat me. They have to be the better man to me that day, there’s no excuses. On my hand, everybody like to do that. So when i come august 11 i’m going to go out there, i’m going to put on a hell of a show um wherever i finish him is where i finish him, no matter. If it’s on the feet, the man is on the ground. The master goes all three [ __ ]. If he wants two more rounds, we can add two more. All i do know is it’s gon na be done, it’s gon na be handled. What do you see in jp buys as an opponent? Do you watch any film or do you just focus on you and whatever jp by shows up shows up or do you watch film? I watch film uh. I got over a long period of time. I had to start learning how to start watching family mothers, because i used to just go in and say i don’t care just with that wrestling mentality. I don’t care you know, but i watched him fell on him he’s he has some very uh very nice wrestling uh credentials himself. So right now, i’m not gon na underestimate him on that factor. Um, but honestly he doesn’t. He doesn’t pose a threat to me. Uh. The only only thing that can honestly be him is me, you know and uh or for him to beat me literally me. So there’s no way or not for him to win this. Unless you know every dog has their day, everybody gets hit with a shot. So the fight game is, you know it’s like that’s a coin toss, but otherwise, okay, otherwise it’s you know it’s not it’s not going to be that way. For me, it’s not going to be that way for him, because i’m going to finish him, no matter where we go like i said ground standing wrestling whatever you want, we can do it. Oh man, i love my people out here. I love it man. I love that that’s awesome, so it’s like it seems like only a few months ago, the flyweight divisions they weren’t sure. What were your thoughts on david white? Well, the whole ordeal with the flyweight division itself. It’S been, it’s been uh yeah, it’s the whole flyweight the whole issue with that. It kind of scared me a little bit um, because on how everything was looking like everything was out for grabs. Everything was kind of shaky kind of rocky. You know, and i was like man all right. I guess i have to go up over class. You know so from that uh. I was just like what like what else do i have to do. That’S reason why i like the record i went up and at 35 just let me know and took on my belt back and retired him and he was dangerous, very, very seasoned veteran and it was like okay. If they need me at 35, i’m here as well, you know so this look, how it is now i’m happy, because i can. I can shake the flower division to a store. My old teammate brandon roy bell is a perfect example of what he did already, so they let that be known, like my boy, went in there on a last minute notice, be one of the top top contenders in the flywheel division that we both grew up watching And from there it is it’s honestly, it’s just. It shows not only where he is but where i’m at as well, and if everybody keep looking past me in that factor, it’s going to be their biggest mind like it is going to be their biggest downfall. Do you think, do you think what the flyweight division really means is a face someone to represent this highway division, uh conor mcgregor, someone who can really uh like be the vision. Is that what you think that the division needs? Is that what you can do? Yes, that’s that’s a part of my plan, but the point of plan is also to add into the fact of being demetrious mighty mouse’s record man, because that dude is still to me the ultimate pound for pound goat. I grew up watching him say it all. I like to do sometimes when he don’t speak, but about the simple fact that yeah, but the simple fact of that um man uh. I i really feel like the ufc is waiting for this new person to be like hey. They are you know this. This person is the new the new flyweight face. This person is the new like the mcgregor and the you know the kamaruz man, you know things in that nature coming in and dominating. I want to be that guy. I want to be that guy to take on anybody anywhere. Anytime am. I am because i refuse to just sit back and just yeah yeah. I see it all right, um! I want to be that guy that that’s that go-to guy. I want to be that guy that be like nate is a monster who goes out there viciously and put on the show every time and look for the face and gets defense every single time. That’S what i want to be all right, i’ll. Ask you a couple more questions and then i’ll, let you get back to that uh to that protest. What’S what’s it been like working at, in my opinion, the best amsterdam 2020, and how do you think that’s going to impact your performance august 11th. I’M sorry! I can’t repeat that one more time for me yeah, so what’s it been like working at, in my opinion, the best cam so far in 2020, and how do you think that’s going to play it pull into your performance on august 11.? Um, honestly, i’m not sure. I just know why i go out there and put on put on my performances, i’m going to it’s how i’m going to show the world, but like hey, my name is nate smith. I deserve a usc contract. I deserve to be working cyber cyber with a wonderful organization and i’m ready to take over not take part. I like it one last question and then i’ll. Let you go is part of the reason why you want this bigger platform to share your message of positivity and if so, how can you do that by continuously making a fan? If you stand for something you won’t fall for anything and then within that you have to understand that it’s bigger than me it’s bigger than you it’s bigger than everyone, because i have a daughter, that’s nick. I am black in puerto rico. My door is black puerto rican and caucasian. So the simple fact that i have to continue to live like this, i’m from the west side of chicago i have done and dealt with the most racist segregation that you have ever thought or could imagine because it’s real, and this is something that you can’t fake. They live in the world, unjustly all right man all the best. Thank you for uh taking the time to speak to me all the best come august 11th best of luck, uh spreading the message there and uh enjoy the rest of your day. Now appreciate you. I do apologize for the sound, so i know it’s kind of a little a little harsh on the end, but i do think that you have another podcast. All the best man uh stay safe, wash your hands, don’t catch anything before august 11.. No, you feel like got ta stay safe man got ta stay safe, got ta, make it to the fight right right, all the best.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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