If there were 36 hours in the day, that would be just fine with Darrick Minner.
The Legacy Fighting Alliance featherweight isn’t just pressing forward with his mission to make it to the UFC. He also coaches eight amateur fighters and runs his own gym in his native Nebraska with his training partner, Kevin Gray. He also has designs of launching a nonprofit anti-bullying campaign that incorporates mixed martial arts.
How do his various endeavors affect Minner’s career?
“I’ve actually gotten better since I started doing all of this,” Minner told Combat Press. “I wake up in the morning and teach practice, then do some cardio and go to my pro practice, then I coach and roll with my guys. I have no complaints. I’m still getting the work I need.”
That work ethic started for Minner at an early age. He began wrestling when he was just four years old and won several medals in state tournaments. He also wrestled for one year while attending community college before embarking on his MMA career, which was love at first fight.
“I took a fight in May 2010 and I became addicted to it right away,” Minner said. “I became hooked on everything about it.”
Since turning pro in 2012, Minner has accumulated a 19-6 record, with 16 of his 19 victories coming via submission. Minner only has one knockout win on his resume.
“My transitions are usually just better when it comes to landing takedowns, so I don’t get a chance to show my striking,” Minner said. “But I know my stand-up is just as good. If I can land a takedown and lock in a neck or an arm, that’s what I’m going to do. I have good coaches, so I know it’s not a problem. I know I can outgrapple most everyone.”
Minner has only lost twice since 2014 while competing for multiple promotions, including the LFA, Victory FC and the former Resurrection Fighting Alliance, among others.
“This kind of feels like home,” Minner said of the LFA. “This is my eighth fight for them and RFA, and I like all the guys here. The competition keeps getting better out there. There are younger guys coming up and more resources to go out and find talent.”
Minner, a featherweight, previously competed at bantamweight, including against former UFC fighter Chico Camus. The issue of weight-cutting has resurfaced in MMA after UFC lightweight Kevin Lee’s arduous weight cut before his fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216 earlier this month.
“I fought at the same size at 135 pounds as I do at 145 pounds,” Minner said. “But now I don’t have to focus so much on my weight. Before, I had to do cardio all the time while also training. But now I can focus more on just my opponent. I realized I was going to kill myself trying to make 135 pounds. If other guys want to cut 40 pounds every time, go ahead. But eventually, they’ll learn.”
Minner’s next fight at featherweight takes place at LFA 25 on Friday, Oct. 20, in his home state of Nebraska. Minner is slated to face Fernando Padilla in the co-main event. Padilla is making his promotional debut after experiencing only one loss in his eight pro fights. If you ask Minner, though, it’s an opportunity Padilla may not entirely deserve.
“He’s tough and he has good jiu-jitsu, and he’s long and tall for a featherweight,” Minner said. “But I’ve done everything I need to do, while he went from fighting on the local circuit to co-headlining a LFA card. I think he jumped too many stairs to get here. You have to fight your way up to this kind of spot.”
With Minner expecting victory at LFA 25, he is not deviating from his tunnel vision to make it to the UFC and experience success on MMA’s biggest stage.
“I’m not OK with just getting there, having a fight or two, then getting cut,” Minner said. “I want to prove what I can do on the most elite stage with the most elite athletes on the planet.”