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Rite of Passage 5 - Dillon Fraley

Amateur featherweight fighter Dillon Fraley (Am 8-0) could well be one of the hottest prospects coming out of the southern region at the moment. Tapology has him ranked 2nd out of 681 featherweight amateurs in the south eastern region of the United States. At Rite of Passage 1, Fraley submitted Christopher Miller (Am 3-4). He later followed up his success at ROP 3 when he handed Andrew Davis (Am 6-1) his only loss. ROP 5 sees Fraley return once again in a bout for the amateur featherweight championship when he faces possibly his toughest opponent to date, Roland Landry (8-3).

From an early age, Fraley wanted to be involved in the sport of MMA;

“It’s always something I wanted to pursue. It was my dream to get to fight professionally when I was 13 or 14 years old. I never knew how to go about it. I joined the military and was in the National Guard. I was deployed to Kuwait and met Brock Washington. He was a purple belt under John Blunschi. I thought I knew about Jiu Jitsu, but they were choking me and getting the better of me. I enlisted in the National Guard at 17 and was deployed 2 years later. Most National Guard guys were local, which is how Brock and I were stationed together. As soon as I got back I went to train with Jon. I’ve been training there 2-3 years, 4 in all with Brock in Kuwait.”

John Blunschi is the only authorized affiliate of Kron Gracie and a Brazilain Jiu jitsu black belt. It goes without saying that one would expect Fraley’s strength to be Jiu Jitsu;

“It is my strength but I don’t think Jiu Jitsu gets integrated properly by most people. John incorporates striking and self-defense as well. It’s not a typical sport style club. It gives us an advantage for MMA.”

It’s because of this that Fraley feels he has had the success he has to date in the sport;

“It boils down to the self-defense side of the art. There have been times I’ve been in trouble. In the Chris Miller fight I was up a weight class at a day’s notice. The bad spots he put me in, I was able to neutralize and take minimum damage until the 2nd round. Also my cardio’s good, me and Jesse Butler are able to outlast people. That’s something John focuses on. It’s as important as skill. As the fight goes on without conditioning you aren’t able to use your skill and as the fight goes on it goes downhill fast. There’s no moment in life when you are more present than when the door closes and the cage locks. In a moment a guy is going to run across the cage and try and kill you. People talk about mindfulness and being in the moment, but right then thoughts of bills, your girlfriend or wife goes out the window. You are just focused on performing well.”

Fraley trains as frequently as any professional fighter;

“I train Monday to Saturday and take Sundays off to rest and recover. Every morning it is strength and conditioning and skill work. In the evening it’s adult classes and sparring. Saturdays we are more relaxed and do a big cardio session, sparring and classes.

I have several jobs that fit around it. I do catering at the Iron cactus, one of my sponsors in Calhoun, Monroe. I deliver food and occasionally host in the restaurant. Once a month I drill with the National Guard. I teach Jiu Jitsu at Clayburn Christian and also train clients at Gorilla Fitness. I forget that’s work as it mixes in. I come in early at 5.30 AM, work with the guys and then do my own training. It rolls into my schedule so much I don’t think about it.’

Fraley recognizes his opponent is competent but feels he has what it takes to get the victory;

“He has a good record, 8-3 and a lot of experience. I looked at a bit of footage. He comes forward, which is what I like to do. He doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that stays on the outside. I think he comes from a wrestling background and likes to grind it out. It will make it one hell of a fight. I think it’s perfect.”

For Fraley winning the AKA title is something he wants to achieve;

“It will be my second amateur title. After this I’ll be making my pro debut at FSC3 on January 19th against Roy Sarabia. We were in a tournament before and due to face each other, but he was injured so his opponent who he beat fought me. Si it’s a bit of a grudge match as it should have been our final fight. My sole focus right now is Landry, and I’m looking to go 9-0.

I’d like to thanks Gorilla Fitness and Kron Jiu Jitsu West Monroe, John Blunschi, Jonathan Brantley, Jessie Butler, my number one training partner and JB Blunschi, Jon’s son. We have tons of other students and training partners, but they’re the four horsemen. Also I’d like to give a shout out to Comp Guards and Iron Cactus who are my sponsors. I’d also like to thank my wife, Lilieel, she’s the biggest supporter I have; and also my friends and family.”

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