It’s always interesting to hear the backgrounds of fighters, and how they got into mixed martial arts. Some are NCAA this or world champion that. It’s typical to hear a story of the guy who wrestled or boxed since he was four, or the others who grew up fighting on the streets, but those stories are not exactly few and far between. It gets almost cliché to hear those types of backgrounds.
Bobby “The Wolfman” Moffett is anything but cliché. Sure, he wrestled in high school. Sure, he is an accomplished competitor in Brazilian Jiu-Jiitsu. And, of course, he has some amateur boxing experience. But none of that started until middle school, and most of it was not until after high school. Moffett’s story is a bit more grassroots – sort of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“I started wrestling in sixth grade,” Moffett told Combat Press. “By the time I got to high school, I saw my first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and that’s what sparked my interest. I hadn’t done anything about it besides wrestling until I graduated. I started doing jiu-jitsu with the intent to start fighting. Then, I started boxing, and my first amateur fights were in 2010.”
Moffett has spent the majority of his MMA training in the Chicagoland area, earning his BJJ brown belt under Leo Valdes at Randori Jiu-Jitsu and studying his striking under Glenn Hudson at his Muay Thai academy. Outside of MMA, he is undefeated in his one amateur boxing match and has earned gold medals in BJJ.
“My first brown belt tournament was at Pan-Ams two years ago and I took third,” Moffett said. “Then, a few times at the IBJJF Chicago Open, I was the brown belt absolute champion in no gi, and I won my weight class as well.”
Moffett began his pro MMA career three years ago. He has racked up an 8-1 record, with his only loss coming by decision and seven of his wins coming by stoppage. During 2015, he spent a great deal of the year recovering from a knee injury, but in February, he came back with a vengeance, submitting Caleb Williams in the second round of Hoosier Fight Club 27. After getting back to action and picking up a win, things started to really evolve for the grassroots fighter.
In March, Moffett spent four weeks trying out The MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz. After training with John Crouch and his top-level team, Moffett fell in love with the camp. Then, when he received his next fight, he went back to Arizona in May.
After a previously successful appearance under the Resurrection Fighting Alliance banner, the promotion hit Moffett up for a big step up in competition Friday night at RFA 39 at the Hammond Civic Center, just outside of Chicago in Hammond, Ind. His opponent will be current featherweight champion Raoni Barcelos for a main-event showdown.
“My manager called me and asked if I was ready for a big fight, and I said yeah,” Moffett explained. “Then, he told me it was the title shot against Barcelos. He said nothing was 100 percent yet, but they were offering it to him, and I said yes, obviously. I was supposed to get a title shot for another organization and it didn’t happen. I wasn’t expecting to get Barcelos in Chicago, but they offered it and there was no way I would turn that down. I think it’s a great fight, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Upon arriving back at The MMA Lab in May, Moffett really started to put together a more cohesive approach to his fight game.
“I feel like I’ve gotten my hands to work better,” Moffett said. “I get to work everything at once, and I feel it’s really starting to blend together. My conditioning is going really well out here.”
Crouch’s camp has put out many top fighters and champions across dozens of promotions. The all-inclusive MMA training has Moffett gleaming with confidence as he enters the cage against the champ Barcelos.
“I think we match up really well,” said Moffett. “He seems like more of a power puncher, counter-striker and a grappler, so the ground exchanges are going to be very technical, I think. He’s going to try and power punch and knee and kick, and I’m going to set up good takedowns and good shots. I’m longer than he is, so I think I’ve got the range and strength. It’s a good match-up for me.”
While the upcoming title shot is at the forefront of his mindset, Moffett understands that an RFA title has been known to have UFC implications, and the UFC just happens to be returning to the United Center in his hometown in late July.
“My goal this year – I don’t know what the possibility is of this – but I really want to win this fight decisively, and I would really enjoy getting a late step-in for the Chicago UFC. That’s a goal of mine, slash dream. If that doesn’t happen, I hope to defend the belt by August or September, and hopefully get a call-up to a bigger show by the end of the year.”
Moffett is certainly a grassroots fighter. He is not someone that was groomed since he was a baby, but another guy watching a cool TV show that got hooked and made a career out of it. At RFA 39, Friday night live on AXS TV, the Wolfman will step out of the sheep’s clothing and prove why he deserves the featherweight title.
“They’re going to expect to see somebody very gritty with a lot of heart. I have a good ground game, and they’re going to see a brawl. It’s going to be very exciting.”