There are countless stories of people who grew up outside of the United States and then moved here at a young age. They recount memories of their early childhood. These stories can put a smile on just about anyone’s face.
Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight Victor Altamirano grew up in Mexico City. When he was nine years old, his family moved to Dennison, Texas.
“I remember always having to look both ways before crossing the street,” Altamirano told Combat Press. “I remember always looking out for stray dogs on the street all the time. If you look like a snack to them, they will chase you and try to bite you. I remember the buses, the taxis, and traffic. There were tacos on the street at every bus stop. If you wanted to take a bus, which we did pretty often, you just waited at the bus stop. Just about every bus stop in Mexico had tacos, and a lot of people stopped there.”
Altamirano likens the bus stops in Mexico to his experience when he visited New York City. People of all walks of life, from the homeless to the urban professionals, were waiting for transportation and eating food. This created a certain vibe.
Altamirano’s memories also revolve around Mexico’s love of boxing. In fact, his family’s lifestyle was greatly rooted in the sport. This ultimately led to his own career as a professional fighter.
“My grandfathers were both boxers,” Altamirano explained. “I don’t think they ever made it to the big stage, but they were great aficionados and so were most of my uncles and extended family members. Combat sports were just always around. Growing up, I just saw that as another thing people could be good at — another skill. Because I would see it often, I would try it out. I would put some gloves on and hit some mitts with my grandfather. I just grew to like it.
“After I got older — being a kid watching [Mighty Morphin] Power Rangers — my curiosity took me to realize there’s a lot more than just punches. You can kick. You can knee. You can do all these things, and I wanted to learn how to do that. I took taekwondo when I was a little kid, and I thought that was cool. As I learned more, I started to realize there’s more to this sport.”
It wasn’t the idea of new fighting techniques that drove Altamirano’s desire to learn more in the combat arts. It was the mental preparation that really drove his desire to excel.
It all started when he was six years old. Altamirano’s parents enrolled him in both an English class and a taekwondo school.
“I would go to the English class dressed in my gi,” Altamirano admitted. “I would sit there in silence and not participate at all. Then, I would run around the corner and go to taekwondo.”
Unfortunately, while still in Mexico, Altamirano suffered an injury on his foot from a broken glass bottle and required stitches. His taekwondo training was put on hold. Then, his family moved. It wasn’t until he was 12 that Altamirano was finally able to get back into the martial arts.
“I’m thankful for the people I have had luck in finding,” Altamirano said. “There are many people who like to chase the dream, who like to chase the career, or maybe just start it as a hobby and want to train martial arts. With all these people, it’s difficult to find the right gym, the right culture, and the right people, who are not only going to push you, but are going to watch out for your well-being. There are a lot of fighters who go to a gym and just become another person, another number, and as far as the team and the gym goes, they don’t really care about that person.
“I was lucky to find a gym that really cared about their students and their fighters — the people who were wanting to step it up from just being a hobby. In doing so, I was able to prepare myself for the MMA world and being ready to fight. Thanks to the people that helped me, I’ve been able to accomplish the things I’ve wanted to accomplish.”
Altamirano trains out of Peak Performance Watauga under the tutelage of head coach Juan Tatum. He also works out with V-FIT Martial Arts, House of Champions in Kennedale, and at Arlington Martial Arts with Eric Flores.
After a two-year amateur career that ended in a 4-3 record, Altamirano made his professional debut in late 2017. He picked up a first-round submission win. It was the beginning of a campaign in which he now sits at 8-1 as a pro with all of his wins coming in the LFA cage. All but two of those victories were stoppages. His sole loss was a submission in the Warrior Xtreme Cagefighting organization, but he has picked up back-to-back wins since then.
Now, Altamirano is slated to headline LFA 100 on Friday night at the Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan. He fought on the promotion’s first-ever card as an amateur four years ago, so to fight on the league’s 100th show is truly an honor. The bout is for the vacant flyweight title, which is just icing on the cake.
“It means a lot,” said the Mexico City native. “Just the opportunity alone means I’ve come a long way since LFA 1, when I was on the prelims. It let me know that the time that I’ve put in has been worth it. When you go home and then go back to the gym, the next day and the next day and the next day, it let’s you know that you’re making progress and you’re growing. Having this opportunity lets me know that I’m not the only one noticing the work that is being put in. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”
Altamirano’s opponent was supposed to be Carlos Mota, an undefeated up-and-comer out of Brazil. However, this changed on short notice less than two weeks out from the fight..
“Unfortunately, due to some visa problems, [Mota] was not able to make it into the States,” Altamirano said. “I now have Nate Smith, who I believe fought on the [Dana White’’s] Contender Series about four months ago. I know he is a wrestler and has some good striking as well. He doesn’t shy away from trading some leather, and I’m really looking forward to that.”
Smith has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling and started training in MMA in Omaha, Neb., while he was in college. He eventually moved out to Denver, where he’s now a member of the Elevation Fight Team. He’s 6-1 as a pro, with most of his wins coming by stoppage. Smith lost his Contender Series fight to former LFA flyweight champ Jimmy Flick in September.
Altamirano has come a long way since his childhood in Mexico City, but he still has great memories of eating suadero tacos at the bus stops. His family dynamic has changed a lot as well over the years, but he is now starting a family of his own. He and his wife are expecting their first child in June, and nothing would make him happier than to welcome his first-born into a world where he is a champion.
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