When most people hear the word “commune,” they immediately think of some crazy hippie wanderlust kind of situation. However, commune, by definition, is “a group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities.” In a normal society, this can be a very functional situation and really isn’t that much different from having a few roommates in college.

Communal living is actually very commonplace in society, but that word still carries that connotation. That’s what makes it so interesting when hearing professional fighter Benjamin Smith explain his living situation.

“We all live together,” Smith told Combat Press. “We have a duplex with an upper and a lower, and we’re upstairs, so I’m kind of like Uncle Jesse to my nieces. It’s a little bit of a commune, which is awesome. It works out really well for our families.”

On the surface, that may sound odd, but in reality, Smith and his family are just normal people. He has a wife and a son, a small contracting business, and trains under the legendary Greg Nelson at The Academy on the outskirts of Minneapolis. His living situation is simple. His family lives in one half of the house, and his wife’s sister and her family live in the other half. His son is one year old and his nieces are three and five, so they are like three siblings. For the parents, the situation is perfect.

“We’ve got a little troop, and they’re growing every day,” Smith intimated. “They grow so fast. Anytime we’ve got our own crap weighing us down, I think the kids are just a foothold in happiness.”

Smith’s wife, Soktevy, works part-time as research assistant at the University of Minnesota, so when she’s not there, she’s holding down the fort.

“It’s kind of hit or miss when she’s there, so she’s taking care of the house, taking care of me, making sure the kids can get into the gym with me when they can,” Smith elaborated.

Outside of the home, Smith has been a busy guy. As a professional fighter, he has been in the cage 17 times in just five years. Only three of those did not go his way. Before his last fight, he was on a five-fight winning streak. That bout was for the Resurrection Fighting Alliance welterweight title at RFA 26 in June. Unfortunately, it did not go his way, getting tapped out by the incumbent champ Gilbert Smith late in the third round.

“The last fight was really good until it wasn’t,” Smith said. “I got caught in an armbar, and you just need to be present. You need to keep that present state of mind and be watching for everything. I’ve tried to hype that up in my training.”

Obviously, Smith was not happy with this outcome, so he got right back to work, and, within a couple months, he was back on the docket for RFA 32, which takes place tomorrow night at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minn. On the other side of the cage will be promotional newcomer Craig Eckelberg.

Eckelberg has only been a pro for 21 months, but is 5-0, stopping all of his opponents by submission or knockout. Four of those wins were on the ground. With 17 fights under his belt, Smith isn’t too concerned about that record.

“We have similar styles,” Smith stated. “He’s a wrestling/submission guy. I don’t think that he’s really shown a lot in his previous fights when it comes to striking and stand-up, but you never know. He’s a relatively young fighter in his career – he’s undefeated, but he’s still only had five professional fights. I know where I was at when I was at five, so my strongest advantage is experience.”

By no means is Smith discounting his opponent, and he is definitely looking to showcase the improvements he has made since his last fight. This is a theme that has run through his entire career.

“Every fight, it’s the same objective for me,” Smith explained. “I try to open up and let my abilities shine. I’ve put a good amount of cage time in, and I feel like I’ve made great progress with every fight, and I feel this one should be no different. I want to impose some stand-up, and I think this is a really good fight for me to do that. I’ve been pushing that in most of my fights to broaden myself as a fighter.”

Smith is broadening his game, indeed. In his last fight, he was doing really well with his stand-up, which is not something he considered his proficiency. It was just very unfortunate that he got caught in the third. However, as any pro knows, anything can happen in that cage, and he is not going to let his guard down again.

At 35 years old, Benjamin Smith is a veteran of the cage with a lot to fight for. He has a small business and a family to take care of, but with all that on his plate, he is still ready to get back in the saddle and continue to move toward that goal of getting into a big promotion. Tomorrow night is the next step as he steps into the cage live on AXS TV during the main card of RFA 32.

Benjamin would like to thank his coach, his teammates, his family and all who support him. Follow Smith on Twitter: @silverxsmith

About The Author

Dan Kuhl
Interview Manager

Dan Kuhl has been following MMA since the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. He holds belts in multiple martial arts disciplines, and currently trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under a decorated black belt. Dan has an M.B.A. in Finance and Investment Management and a B.S. in Horticulture. Prior to joining Combat Press, his work appeared on The MMA Corner.

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