COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — For those of you who can say, “Oh, that would be my life’s dream!” What were you willing to sacrifice to make that dream come true?
It might be hard to match AJ Dobson’s dedication.
On Tuesday, the 29-year-old Columbus man will fight, quite literally, to fulfill a dream that’s more than a decade in the making.
Born in Brooklyn, AJ Dobson moved to Jersey as a kid and fell in love with the stage.
“I was kind of a theatre kid, like I would go to theatre camp I would do plays, and band and all that stuff,” Dobson tells me as he sits on a training bench inside Westside Gym. “And when I moved to Ohio I was like let’s do something different.”
He joined the wrestling team at Olentangy Liberty High School. Then he found Jiu Jitsu and in 2011 a dream was born.
“Did you say I’m going to be a champion?” I asked, “No not at all when I was in high school I couldn’t even fathom being as tough as these guys.”
MMA fighters. The octagon. Theatre in a cage.
“I don’t have any ill will toward the person I’m fighting I’m just gonna throw my punch really hard and if it knocks you out I’m sorry,” he says as matter of fact.
“I’ve honestly just put my head down and trained I haven’t missed a week,”
“What pays the bills?” I wondered. “Odd jobs I’ve been taking any kind of job you can think of,” AJ smiles.
Bus boy, lawn care, jacuzzi delivery.. while getting fights with whatever MMA outfit would take him..6 fights no defeats.
“Has anyone said AJ, can you get a real job maybe this isn’t going to work out for you?” I asked sitting across the bench from him. “Every day of this 10 years,” he laughs.
Tuesday he fights in Las Vegas on TV in front of UFC President Dana White’s Contender series. A win gets him the UFC contract.
“Everything you eat, everything you watch, everything you do has to be towards this goal if you want to be in the UFC if you want to be a champion,” AJ insists.
Are you willing to sacrifice for 10 years?
“This guy’s not taking this from me, I’ve worked way too hard I’ve sacrificed way too much I’m too fast I’m too strong, there’s nothing he can do, he’s a really good fighter and a legend in his own right, but it’s the wrong time to fight AJ right now.”