The biggest joy that UFC heavyweight Joey Beltran will find this summer is not in a cage, but at a kid’s fitness camp.
Long before his UFC days, Beltran was employed by an event company that handled kid’s camps in the summers. He admits that gives him a wealth of experience on how to organize the activities, but he wishes he could have started it earlier and it is not your typical kid’s camp.
Beltran was happy to announce that this is the first year he gets to run “Joey Beltran Kid’s Ultimate Fitness Camp” in Ocean Side, Calif. The event, for kids aged four through twelve, runs from July 11 – July 15, and July 18 – July 22.
“It’s going to be kid’s UFC,” Beltran told MMA DieHards. “I run the kid’s program at the gym, so I’m really stoked. We had the idea to do it last year, but for whatever reason it just didn’t come together. This year we’re finally doing it and I’m really excited. This is something I have always wanted to do, even before I was training professionally.”
Beltran had a switch in opponents leading up to his UFC 131 fight, and the frustrating thing to him was being in limbo, not knowing who he would be facing in the Octagon. He was fully prepared to fight Dave Herman, or anybody else the UFC asked him to fight, for that matter. There were a couple of days that had Beltran hearing that Jon Olav Einemo might be his opponent, then the former 5150 Combat League champion told his manager he just wanted to fight, and he did not care who it was against.
At UFC 119, Matt Mitrione met Beltran, and the two men battled to a decision “The Mexicutioner” lost, however they did grab fight of the night honors. Then Beltran showed grit and will in against Pat Barry, but again, the California native came up short.
The back-to-back losses have Beltran in the hot seat, but he is not necessarily feeling the heat.
“In a way I feel tons of pressure because if I don’t win, I’m done,” Beltran confessed to DieHards. “But, in a way I don’t feel any pressure because I’m getting a second chance. I shouldn’t be here. I mean 99 percent of fighters get cut after two straight losses. The fact is Joe Silva, Dana White and Mr. (Lorenzo) Fertitta were gracious enough to give me another chance, so I have nothing to lose attitude, but then again, everything is riding on this fight.”
Alliance MMA, Beltran’s home gym, is riding a wave of momentum with Travis Browne coming off a devastating knockout over Stefan Struve at UFC 130. Beltran spent a large portion of his training camp preparing with Browne, plus other large men while getting ready to fight Aaron Rosa.
“Training camp went great,” Beltran said. “To have everybody in there was just a really great atmosphere. I basically went through training camp simultaneously with Travis (Browne), and we were able to bring in a couple of big heavyweights, because originally I was supposed to fight Dave Herman, and Travis (was training to fight) Stefan Struve.
“Coach Eric Del Fierro was able to get Daniel Gallagher, a big kickboxer from Kansas, he’s about 270 (pounds) about Travis’ height. He’s actually going to be making his pro debut in Titan (FC) soon. Andreas “Big Daddy” Kraniotakes; who is a really great heavyweight from Germany. And then a couple of other good local heavyweights from San Diego, plus Alexander Gustafsson, who is a heavyweight right now, weighing about 230 – 240 (pounds).”
Rosa is new to the UFC, but his career began in 2005, and he carries a 16-3 record. Rosa holds 10 finishes in those 16 wins, and to hardcore MMA fans, he is not a new face on the scene. Rosa’s popularity outside of the Octagon made is easy for Beltran to find video footage on the UFC newcomer, but the youth self-defense instructor admits that he was a fan of Rosa’s before the contract to fight was signed.
“I’ve known who Aaron Rosa is for a while, now,” Beltran admitted. “Even before I was supposed to fight him, I knew who he was. The first time I ever seen him fight was when he fought Jared Hamman in I believe it was EliteXC (ShoXC), and back then I wasn’t even training, I was just a fan of his.”
Beltran has shown traits of an exciting brawler in his past fights, nonetheless “The Mexicutioner” stated that he is not a one dimensional fighter and his objective is to become a well-rounded mixed martial artist.
Beltran has been working on his ground game and wrestling to achieve his goal, and with the work effort he embodies, along with his excellent coaches, the former Strikeforce fighter sees an improvement. Now, Beltran is prepared to showcase is skills wherever the fight takes place, fearlessly.
“There’s always a game plan, but I definitely won’t shy away from getting in there and trading some blows, and if it goes to the ground I won’t be afraid to play that game, as well,” Beltran explained. “I’ve been working on my overall game and I look forward to the challenges that he poises and I’m excited to get out there for Saturday.”
Most mixed martial artists have been involved in some form of combat sports consistently throughout their entire lives, yet Beltran is a natural of sorts in the gym.
After playing high school football and wrestling, Beltran did not have much experience in combat sports, besides a little boxing. He was an avid fan of the sport when decided to start training in specifically MMA, in 2006. In just these five past years he has already endured a UFC stint and created a buzz about his name from his tough as nails fighting attitude.
Beltran understands his exciting performances in regional shows got him to where he is at, but he also realizes there is always room for progression. The high school Greco Roman wrestler admits that he focuses on improving his strengths in the gym, but he is always evolving and bettering his weaknesses
“I know my granite chin is what got me here,” Beltan admitted. “It’s what made the UFC sign me. That helps me get in there in a fight and get past some of my weaknesses, but as I’m getting better at my weaknesses, I’m definitely going to spend more time working on my strengths.”
Though, Beltran is trying to accomplish becoming an elite fighter, he does know his limits.
“I’m pretty realistic with my lack of athleticism,” Beltran jokingly said. “I know what I’m capable of and you’re not going to see any acrobatic, (Anthony) “Showtime” Pettis off-wall-kicks from me.”
Maybe he’ll leave that move to the kids.