Written By Hurtsbad MMA Senior Analyst Todd Jackson
For the mixed martial artist on the rise the game of MMA can be unforgiving and relentlessly challenging. Their early career is littered with hard choices, questions, and obstacles. If not navigated with an educated awareness, led by knowledgeable coaching, and a discriminating approach a fighter can fall into any number of pitfalls that await aspiring athletes.
Many fighters with a wealth of ability may never realize their full potential due to poor leadership, bad choices, limited opportunity, or falling prey to the masses who seek to use their skills to suit their own advantages.
On the other hand when a fighter follows the right path and makes rewarding decisions the right fighter with the right skill set can solidify a foundation that will guide them to the very opportunities they need to maximize their potential.
Rising fighter Nicholas Piedmont is a fighter who has found a path that is elevating him as a person, as an athlete, and as a fighter. He is a young man who cut his teeth on the regional Arizona scene. He has competed for local shows and twice for Bellator Fighting Championships finding mixed results across his career. His current record stands at 5-3 but for those who truly know what Piedmont brings to the table that record is not a reflection of his potential or his ability.
With the support of his management team and long-time coach George Castro Piedmont came to the realization that his potential was being smothered by the limits of his environment. As they continued to train and compete Piedmont and his team felt he had hit a wall with regard to his ability to grow as a fighter with the limited resources available to him in his hometown of Tucson Arizona.
Following his most recent loss in Bellator, his second consecutive loss, Piedmont and his camp knew it was time for a change. It was the advice of his mentor Castro, and UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz that really drove that point home. It was that monumental evening that drove him to seek out a new path and take charge of a career that very well may have stagnated had he not changed everything about how he approached it.
Now eight months later Piedmont has refocused and rededicated his career under the umbrella of world class MMA camp Alliance MMA. He has not fought in a cage since that night for Bellator, but every day has been a battle to reconfigure his undeniable talent in a lair of warriors that breeds champions. Now it is time for the kid they call â€œNo Limitâ€ to once again take place inside a cage and reap the rewards of changes he made which will define his future.
Hurtsbad MMA caught up with Piedmont one week out from his next bout to talk about what this transition has done for him as an athlete and what Alliance MMA has done for his mindset and skill set.
â€œNo Limitâ€ Piedmont talked about the move from his long-time home of Tucson to sunny San Diego California. â€œMoving to Alliance MMA in California has been a blessing in more ways than one. It was kind of crazy how it all came together. After that last loss in Bellator I had a conversation the night of that fight with Dominick Cruz and my manager George Castro. They were just saying â€˜You donâ€™t have to move your family and change your life but you have to get outside of your comfort zone. You have to grow as a fighter and a person.â€™â€
Taking the invitation of the UFC champ, and more importantly the advice, Piedmont made the move leaving his loving fiancÃ© and beautiful daughter behind to chase his dreams. It didnâ€™t take long for Piedmont to know he had made the right move.
He explained, â€œWe have killers out here at Alliance from top to bottom. Here I was sparring with them just thrown into the mix. After that first practice on that first day I knew this was what I needed to do and where I need to be. So I called my girl Sydney and told her this was the right choice and now we just had to make the move happen as a family.â€
He talked about the tone that has been set on the mats at Alliance. The gravity of transitioning from a smaller gym with a few prospects to a world class camp immediately held weight with Piedmont. â€œI showed up in December with my duffle bag full of gear and I knew this was going to be my new home, this was it. After you walk in the room and even if you have only been there for fifteen minutes of training when you look around and see the look in everyoneâ€™s eyes and the emotion it is clear they are all in that room for the right reason. The people in that room are either a champion already or doing everything in their power to become a champion someday. That speaks for itself.â€
After six months of sharpening his blade in that intense and driven environment Piedmont is now chomping at the bit to compete and put himself to the test. He will get that opportunity as he competes in a private show for United States Marines at 29 Palms Marine Base. He will fight Ivan Herrera for the Xplode Fight Series as they put on a show for the troops which has Piedmont very excited.
He told Hurtsbad, â€œFrom the beginning I have always been a very active fighter. I fought five times last year but havenâ€™t fought in eight months so I have been hungry just to compete and have been looking for the right fight. They told us this was a closed event that was just for the Marines. You know those guys are going to be rowdy and I get to go fight for them. That has really had me hyped up.â€
Being new to the west coast fight scene Piedmont knows very little about his opponent which he explained suits him just fine. â€œComing out here I was a small fish in a big pond and I had to be mentally strong and supportive of myself. In that process I have learned so many things about myself. Because of that I donâ€™t really care who I am fighting or whether I know about them or not. It is all the same to me. When I look at the losses on my record I realize that I lost those fights, I beat myself, and I didnâ€™t live up to my potential.â€
He looks to brandish that mentality as he returns to action on June 22nd. He knows if he does Nick Piedmont that the rest should take care of itself. He has a new found attitude about his approach to the fight game moving forward. â€œFrom here on out I have changed some things. I joke with some of the guys around the gym that now there is no love coming from â€œNo Limitâ€ Piedmont. I know what I can do, I know what I am capable of, and if I go out to fight someone who beats me they will have my respect. Also if I fight someone and it goes the way I expect it to hopefully I gain their respect.â€
Much of that confidence has always been there for the young fighter. But much of it has also been forged in day to day tests he passes and fails as he breaks himself against many of the sportâ€™s elite during training.
Piedmont showed a humble confidence as he explained, â€œOne of the blessings of me training at Alliance is I feel this is one of the best places for a guy my size. I may not have had any fights for eight months but two times a week at Alliance MMA we spar and each time we spar I know Iâ€™m going to be in a fight. I spar with guys like the UFCâ€™s Ross Pearson, Chad Dietmeyer, now we have Bellator champion Michael Chandler out here. When you are sparring with guys like that two times a week there really is no one you canâ€™t test yourself against.â€
He closed the interview by stating, â€œIf you give yourself an honest gauge against those guys you can instill two things in your head. You can instill how much improvement you really need to make or how good you actually are. On sparring days I know there will be a fight, on grappling days I know I am going to get choked out, on wrestling days I am getting taken down or thrown. But I am alright with that and would rather test myself against those guys and try to do the same to them than to be comfortable and not run into any trouble during training.â€
Those choices and opportunities mentioned earlier seem to be coming together nicely for this MMA prospect. He has removed himself from all comfort zones bringing only his fiancÃ© and daughter with him to Alliance in California as he became a stranger in a strange land.
Now today six months later Piedmont is no longer the new kid on the block looking to find his way. He has integrated himself into the fabric of one of the worldâ€™s most prestigious camps and is looking forward to proving that he has made the most of his sacrifices. Now it is time to show that the difficult decisions he had to make were the right choices for his career. The time has now come for all that potential that has always been there to blossom into fruition.
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