The Arizona desert has produced more than a few quality mixed martial artists. Spanning back to the days of Don Frye pioneering the sport in the earliest of UFC tournaments. Desert fighters have always been in the mix.
There are names like Drew Fickett, George Roop, Ben Henderson, Efrain Escudero, Ryan Bader, C.B. Dolloway, you get the picture. The future holds names like Askren, Vorel, and Steffans.
Another AZ fighter that has recently made his mark on the sport is Seth Baczynski. Baczynski was a competitor on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter under coach Tito Ortiz and eventually Rich Franklin.
Seth paid his dues on the "The Ultimate Fighter" show and made one UFC appearance. After a hard fought war with Brad Tavares, he was surprisingly cut from the UFC.
Yet often in life, when one door closes, another one opens. Such was the case for Baczynski when Strikeforce came knocking with a new contract offer for this promising fighter.
Seth was slated to make his Strikeforce debut in front of his home crowd in Phoenix, Arizona in August but with a sport as fluid as MMA, sometimes it’s just not in the cards. Seth will patiently wait until the circumstances are right.
Seth was kind enough to sit down with Hurtsbad.com to talk about his stint on the The Ultimate Fighter, Strikeforce, his camp, and being a family man.
Speaking of his camp, Baczynski spent a lot of time with Southwest MMA, but now trains primarily out of Scott Peter’s Lion's Den of Scottsdale . Seth talked about the competitive atmosphere in that camp.
“We've got a bunch of guys in the gym that are on future cards so it’s real loud in there. It’s like a construction zone. There’s all kinds of work going on, all kinds of cracking, and popping, that's when I like being in the gym.”
“We've got a ton of good guys around 205 and 185, every one constantly just gunning for that top spot, so it makes every practice good.”
Baczynski spoke highly of the level of coaching and elite level of competition roaming the mats in Scottsdale. “Weve got some really good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructors over there. I work primarily with Rob Monroe, mostly on the mits.”
“Thom Ortiz who used to be the head wrestling coach at ASU helps a lot. We have Ryan Bader and all those guys to wrestle with as well, like Ben Askren. You've just got so many good guys, there’s so much good information in that gym. Every day I learn something new.”
Baczynski will compete in the 170 pound division for Strikeforce. When asked if he had a plan of attack or an aim for certain fighters he had an incredible answer.
“I’ve been fighting long enough to know that if you start looking up over the mountain you can slip and fall real easily. So I just try and stay focused on whoever I'm fighting. I get with my coaches and try to come up with a good game plan to beat him and I just try to take it one fight at a time.”
Seth added, “I know it sounds so cliche but in this sport, it’s not like football or basketball where you have a bad day and you lose. You go out there not focused or not mentally prepared, you get knocked out or embarrassed in front of everybody, nobody wants that feeling and nobody wants that to happen. I really try not to overlook anybody because you can lose so many ways in this sport.”
Baczynski was obviously disappointed with the news that his fight on the Strikeforce Challengers AZ card fell through but looks to the future. “As far as I know they are going to push us to the next card in San Jose. We will go do it there. It really sucks because I was in really good shape and ready to go, but it’s just the name of the game.”
He went on to state, “Strikeforce was really cool about it all. They really wanted to get me on the card for obvious reasons, it’s in my hometown we were going to sell some tickets and do some things. Unfortunately it didn't work out for both of us.”
Looking back, The Ultimate Fighter was a rewarding experience and right up Seth’s alley. “It was a trip, it was a lot of fun. Someone just asked me recently would I do it again, I’d do it over and over.”
He discussed the upside of the experience. “You get put in a house with a bunch of very knowledgeable coaches. You get to go out there and learn new stuff every day and focus on training. There was a lot of good stuff and a lot of bad stuff, but definitely the positives outweighed the negatives in that situation.”
Seth talked about the opportunity he was given to redeem himself after an illegal blow on Brad Tavares that ended his chances at becoming The Ultimate Fighter. Tavares and Baczynski fought a three round war on the finale with Seth coming out with a tough loss to a dear friend.
He holds his head high and is confident in his efforts during his short time under the UFC banner. “I hate losing, but at the same time, if I put an honest camp in and I train and do everything right and go in there and fight my hardest, I'm not happy with the outcome, but in my heart I know that I gave it 100 percent.”
He added, “At the end of the day, you're the only person who can answer that question. I knew I did give it 100 percent.”
Mr. Baczynski is a proud and humble father of three munchkins. He sacrifices a lot to be the fighter he is, but he makes the most of his opportunities because of the motivation he finds in his family.
“I think for me, I work out all the time. I don't have much time for anything else. Especially after I got on the show. It has all been coming at me so much that when it’s time to go out and compete I tell myself to go out and make it worth it. Go out and make it worth spending that time away from your kids.”
He added, “I just try to spend as much time as I can with them and try to get the most out of every work out so it’s not as though I'm doing it for nothing.”
Overall, Seth is a humble fighter, with a lot of potential and guidance steering him towards what is amounting to a promising MMA career. With the support of a strong camp, and a wonderful family that drives him to make the most out of every opportunity, it is exciting to imagine what the future might hold.
Check him out if you get a chance, he is an exciting fighter who has been all over this sport. He is always looking to put on a great show for you, be sure and support him back and watch him compete.
This article originally featured at Hurtsbad.com . Entire interview available through Hurtsbad Radio.