By Bryanna Fissori
The Ultimate Fighter Season 16 Cast Member, Cameron Diffley has been going non-stop since the end of the reality show. With a new place to train, a incredible set of coaches and teammates and renewed motivation, Cameron is looking forward to continuing his climb up the MMA welterweight ranks.
“I started training at R1 in march of this year after meeting Rico Chiapparelli through Renato Magno,” Diffley told MMAOnline.com. “I was working for my grandfather living in southern California and just training a little bit, unsure of what I wanted to do after TUF. I tried out for Rico and luckily he agreed to train me. I knew what a break this was for me because I have not had a coach for years let alone the guy who I believe is the best coach in MMA.”
Amongst other accolades, Chiapparelli is a NCAA Wrestling Champion and also coaches UFC veteran Mac Danzig who most recently fought on UFC on Fox 8. “He has really took me under his wing, letting me live at the gym and focus and get support for my career in a way that I never really have. It has really kicked my motivation up to another level. Rico has been wrestling since he was six, has been competing at an international level since he was a teenager, he is a national and world champion and has been around and training martial arts and MMA since its inception, coaching several of the sports biggest names. With that experience comes the ability to understand me and my capabilities, and direct my training with short and long term goals. As long as I do my end, that direction will insure great success. He understands all the aspects of the game and the transitions and makes sure that I am getting great training, in the right amount and at the right intensity, as well as having me work with R1′s amazing strength and conditioning coach Doug Gizzy.”
Like many fighters, Diffley began taking traditional martial arts classes at a young age, giving him foundation in multiple disciplines. “I began my journey into the fight world through the martial arts. I studied taekwondo, karate, jkd, and Kali when I was a kid. The problem with a lot of martial arts schools is that they are geared (like most of the world) for a profit and not to teach people the physical and mental aspects of martial arts for the real world outside of the gym. So upon realizing that, later in high school I got very into MMA as it is the closest martial arts competition to the real thing.”
“I started training at the Las Vegas Combat Club, one of the original schools in Vegas, my senior year. The school was more of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school that had a lot of heavyweight MMA pros that trained together. I got heavily into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition scene as my goals were to get my black belt, win the bigger tournaments and then start fighting. After getting my black belt I was coaching a lot of MMA guys and was getting more and more focused on that side of Jiu Jitsu. It is very different from sport competition Jiu Jitsu, and getting into MMA was my main long term goal. After getting frustrated with some of the guys that I was training I figured out that I should be focusing my own competitive goals and I started fighting myself.”
Now that Diffley has found a solid home base to continue his progression his renewed focus keeps him motivated to live the full fighters lifestyle. “When I’m not at the gym I’m usually at the gym,” laughs Diffley. “If not training I am watching tape and studying what other guys are up to. I am into cars, music, nature, philosophy and psychology so I’ll take time to study all of that a little bit but I still relate most of it to fighting as that’s my focus. I might cruise down to the beach to relax a little bit or hang out with family and friends but I’ve got a lot of work to do so that’s mostly what I am up to.”
Diffley hopes to secure some cage time this summer and test his new and improved competitive edge. “The next step for me is to keep getting better, listen to my coaches and stay focused on my goals,” said Diffley. “We are looking for fights currently and are continuing to build me as a complete mixed martial artist and athlete. Hoping that a fight August 9th pans out we will know soon.”
The growth that Diffley has undergone in his short time since TUF Season 16 is something he is excited to share with fight fans and hopefully again in the octagon on a global level. “In five years I see myself as the number one welterweight in the world getting ready to defend my position, doing the same things I’m doing today, except with a project car and living close to the beach,” said Diffley. “I like teaching as well so probably running a few classes to help out some regular students and up and coming fighters.”
With a passion for coaching and sharing his art Diffley encourages those interested in the sport to invest in some formal training at a top-notch gym where they can see what it is really like. “I would advise any one looking to break into the fight game to go down to a gym and check it out and get some training in. I’d say go down to one of the smaller amateur or pro shows and see what it’s like Reality is a lot different than TV. If your into it, do your research and surround yourself with the right people from there it’s just about how far you wanna go.”
MMAOnline.com Also got a chance to get Diffley’s opinion on some random recent topics in the industry:
Suspension for Marijuna Use: I think Marijuana should be legal across the board, not just in MMA. I don’t think that guys should be allowed to fight on any drug, and if you feel like smoking that close to your fight better for me haha. Seriously though the stuff is significantly less harmful to your body and psyche than alcohol (which is more harmful than heroin physically btw) and has a ton of medicinal uses. People need to get with science and away from stigma and dogma.
New Style for MMA Gloves: The idea of changing the gloves used in MMA to this crazy webbed design sounds interesting. I think eye pokes are a problem but limiting the ability to use your fingers and hand would be more detrimental to all the grapplers in the sport. If they are going to be like the shooto gloves I think they will work fine. I am curious to see the actual design.
Anderson Silva’s Performance v Chris Weidman: I don’t believe the Anderson fight was a fix, I think he was pushing the boundaries of what he already likes to do in fights and Weidman wasn’t having any of it found his range and clipped him. I think this will just bring Anderson back to the basics and make him better.
What are your thoughts?