When you ask Resurrection Fighting Alliance’s welterweight title contender Benjamin Smith how his life has changed, both personally and as a fighter, after the birth of his now four-month-old son Wylde, he responds, even over the phone, with joy and excitement.
“He makes our lives better and more meaningful in just about every way,” Smith told Combat Press. “That’s certainly included when it comes to fighting.”
When you are a fighter with a new addition to the family, you find that there is no extra needed motivation. You wake up and look over your son or daughter in the morning and that is all the drive you need.
“Even before he was here, just the thought of him coming and my wife was pregnant, that kind of motivation existed to go out there and actually make something out of the hard work we have put in over the years — at least get up and put our best foot forward,” said Smith.
It also didn’t hurt that Smith and his family were living right on the water line of Lake Mead, which lies just west of Las Vegas. Smith was able to split time for this camp between his home state of Minnesota and Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, which he calls his MMA home.
“We loved it out there,” exclaimed Smith. “It was really phenomenal to wake up to that every day. That’s exactly what I did. I walked out the front door [and] went for a run in the desert around Lake Mead. That’s what I did every day.”
However, why go on a road trip for this camp?
“It’s something my wife and I talked about doing for a long time,” the fighter explained. “So, it was nice to put those wheels in motion, figuratively and literally.”
Come Friday, Smith hopes to keep the good things rolling. In his last fight, he was able to thaw the comeback party for Josh Cavan and extend his winning streak to five fights. Smith put on a very impressive performance against Cavan, but the fighter is willing to admit that it was not perfect.
“Yeah, I could’ve got the finish,” said Smith. “I was close. That last choke at the end was close but it wasn’t tight enough.
“There was one time in the third round where Josh was setting up an arm choke, but he wasn’t very close to getting it. I was certainly bested for part of the round, but I got out of it. So, I could’ve been a little bit better. But other than that, I was real happy with the win. I felt the vast majority of the fight was something I controlled. Even when he was going on the offense with takedowns, I never felt I was in danger. The finish would have been great, but the win was still good.”
That fight is in the past now, and all Smith can do is look forward.
On Friday, at RFA 24, he takes on Indalecio Tat Romero, another surging prospect out of Minnesota. Romero is coming into the fight riding a six-fight winning streak. With 30 fights under his belt, Romero will have the experience advantage.
“I know how it feels to go the distance [in a five-round fight], but I don’t necessarily see that happening in this fight,” Smith revealed. “From what I have seen of Tat, I don’t see him going five rounds. Honestly, I had a great camp. If I need to go five rounds, I certainly can. I’ll be looking to finish Tat and I’ll be looking to do it in the earlier rounds.”
With both men hailing from Minnesota, one would think they would know each other pretty well. However, Smith has spent most of his training time in Las Vegas. He will not go into the fight blind, though.
“I don’t necessarily know him very well. I just know the name with the face, but people around me know him very well,” said Smith. “He has trained with a lot of guys that I train with now. In fact, his last fight was against one of my teammates. He was on a losing streak and I think they brought him in to lose the fight versus Tat. And he did. But he was winning in a lot of different areas up until the point he lost. I have gotten a good look at Tat and I kind of understand, just through secondhand accounts from my coaches and teammates, what he’s going to be about.”
The one thing Smith does know with certainty is his near-future plans. Those plans involve making it to the UFC.