TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

Derek Campos on Life as a Student-Athlete, Signing with Bellator, and Representing USA vs Japan this Weekend

DALLAS, TX, January 26, 2012 – Fighting can often create a tenuous balancing act for those seeking to make their name in the sport while simultaneously worrying about priorities outside of the cage. In addition to physical ability, God-given talent, and obligatory courage, it takes certain amount of mental focus, sticktoitiveness, and wherewithal to succeed in this balancing act of prioritizing MMA with everyday life.

Imperial Fight Management’s Derek Campos of Guy Mezger’s Combat Club is the type of fighter that’s trying to make it happen in both worlds – fighting and “real.” At just 23 years of age, he’s already walked the walk and tested himself against some of the best fighters central and west Texas have had to offer – guys like Adam Schindler, Anselmo Luna, and Diego Brandao. All the while he’s had to split that time between training and studying as he works towards his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sport Science – a goal that’s equality important to him as to one day make it in the UFC.

In truth, with both endeavors, scholastic and pugilistic, Campos is already well on his way. For the former, he’s on schedule to transfer to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where he originally started training under Eric “Big Head” Davila before making his way to Dallas to train under Mezger, the former UFC star and Pancrase champion. And in fighting, he recently signed a deal with Viacom-owned Bellator to join their ranks at lightweight beginning this March.

Prior to making his debut there though, there’s still some business to be taken care of in the cage, named this weekend in Kinder, Louisiana at G1 Fights: Sovereign Valor where he’ll be taking on ZST and Pancrase vet Kota Okazawa as part of the USA vs. Japan main draw. We recently spoke to Derek to get his thoughts on this fight and his future both in and out of the cage for TXMMA.com


Interview – Derek Campos (Guy Mezger’s Combat Club / Imperial Fight Management)


Derek, tell us a little bit again about how you got started in this sport. What’s your story?

I started training in Lubbock Texas with Eric Davilla, and had 6 six amateur fights from august 2007 to April 2008. I then decided I wanted to go pro and moved to Dallas, TX to train with Guy Mezger. He had me compete in two more amateur fights, and then had me turn pro in January of 2009. I moved to Dallas because I wanted to take a journey to find myself and take my spirit to the next level. And I found that through the warrior’s path.

You’ve taken on some tough fighters in your career so far, including Diego Brandao and some others. What’s been your most memorable moment in MMA up to now?

The most memorable moments throughout my fight career and throughout my journey have definitely been meeting all the great professionals, personal friends, and teammates who believe in MMA as much as I do. Great people like my manager Matt Rossini, my coach Guy Mezger, and all my other coaches. The great training partners like Sean Spencer, Jason Sampson, Charles Byrd, Douglas Frey, Sean Holden, Chris Bowles, Alfredo Leija, Buddy Clinton, and many more great training partners. I also have been blessed to train at many great gyms around the Dallas area such as Guy Mezger’s Combat Sports Club, Mohler’s MMA, Octagon MMA, and Star Jiu-Jitsu.

What’s it like training at Guy Mezger’s? How would you describe that environment to a visiting fighter or interested potential student?

Training at Mezger’s is great; they have world class trainers and a world class training facility. Most of all, the environment is a welcoming and family like environment, everybody pushes each other to better one another. For anyone interested in Mezger’s its definitely one of the top gyms in Dallas, TX and they should walk through those doors and experience the next level for themselves. 

What do you do when you’re not training?

When I’m not training I’m a full time student at Brookhaven Community College. I will eventually transfer to Texas Tech University and earn my B.A. in Exercise and Sport Science. But when I’m not in school or training I like to spend time with my family, my girlfriend, and my friends. They are the ones I like to spend my time with because I value them the most. When I’m by myself though I like to play guitar, bowl, take long drives, watch horror movies, or listen to great music.

What are your goals in 2012 for MMA and also outside of the sport? Anything you’re setting your sights on?

For 2012 I plan on taking my career to the next level since I just signed on to fight for Bellator on March 2nd. I plan to earn my spot in the 155 lbs. division and make a run for the lightweight title. Outside of the Cage I plan to continue my education by finishing my basics at Brookhaven Community college and transferring to Texas Tech to earn my BA, all while maintaining my Career as a Pro Fighter.

How do you feel about this upcoming fight at G1: Sovereign Valor and how’s camp been for this fight?

I’m honestly excited and proud to be fighting for G1 on their Japan VS USA Card. I have many friends in the military, including my own mother so it will be an honor representing all of them because they are the true warriors of USA. Camp has been great; I’ve had great training from Guy Mezger’s and Octagon MMA. Working everyday on my standup, the ground game, and my strength and conditioning.

What do you know about your next opponent, Kota Okazawa?

I watched some videos of him and he seems to pretty relaxed in the stand up, but his game is definitely on the ground and going for ankle locks and knee bars. But no matter where the fight goes I’m confident either place; stand up or on the ground.

Any predictions as far as how you want this fight to go?

I’m definitely going to try and keep the fight standing up and break him with my boxing and kickboxing.

What’s next for you after this? Do you have an opponent set for Bellator?

After this I’m lined up to fight March 2nd for Bellator against Patrick Cenoble.

Thanks for your time Derek. Any last words before this weekend?

I want to say thanks to all the people who have helped me get to this point, My family, My girlfriend, My friends, and most of all thanks to my coaches, training partners, and my Manager. Thank you all for the support.


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