tornado – Two fighters from southern Utah mixed martial arts are looking forward to their upcoming showdown on September 30th in Salt Lake City.
Professional MMA fighter Dustin “DJ” Crawford and amateurs Perry Taylor, both training at the Raven Self Defense Academy in Hurricane, are on the evening ticket for SteelFist Fight Night.
Crawford, who takes on Troy Denison of Salt Lake City in the lightweight class (£155), is chasing his third straight professional win, having defeated both. Kevin Alread And the Brandon Hunsvik On SteelFist shifts earlier this year, both by TKO.
Meanwhile, Taylor will face challenger Tries Tuckett in the amateur welterweight classification (170 pounds).
Taylor said he and his opponent would make “no contest” decisions in their last bout, which was during the SteelFist Fight Night event that took place in June.
“This will definitely be the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far,” Taylor said. “But I will bring as much strength and perseverance as possible.”
Taylor said he appreciates the fact that he and Crawford are able to train together, under the tutelage of Raven Kane.
Taylor said his sparring training with Crawford is often intense.
“You sweat with each other, you bleed and vomit on each other,” he said.
“You are constantly pushing your limits, as well as those of your teammates,” Taylor added. “It keeps you honest and down-to-earth. I came from a different gym before I started training with Raven, and you just don’t get that personal level (elsewhere) of knowing that you’re here to work and that anyone in or out of the ring, you’re going to get that support of your friends and brothers.
Meanwhile, Crawford said he plans to dye his hair blue again for his next fight as he continues to embrace his “Icy Hott” nickname, wearing pants and other outfits emblazoned with images depicting a hot and cold idea.
During an interview during a recent training session, Crawford told St. George’s News that, unlike his recent bout, “there’s no beef” involved this time between him and whoever he’s going to face.
“So, there is absolutely nothing bad to say about my opponent,” he said. “Actually, he is a good friend of mine. So, I am very excited about this. It will be different.”
“I will stay very calm and go there and have a good time,” he added. “I love fighting.”
Crawford, who is currently ninth in the state among professional weightlifters, said he has his sights set on a final title belt.
“With hard work, dedication and consistency, I will earn this title,” he said.
Crawford, who frequently posts on various social media accounts, says he is trying to do his part to help remove the negative stigma sometimes associated with sports.
“MMA used to be really frowned upon,” he said. “When I first started, it was kind of like cockfighting. But it is a legitimate sport.”
On a similar note, he says, “There’s a stigma that comes with addiction, and that’s part of what I want to change. I want to see that go away, just like the stigma of MMA.”
Crawford, whose struggles with addiction kept him out of competitive fighting for more than a decade, now works as a caregiver for Redhead Supports, which helps people with disabilities. The St. George-based facility is one of its sponsors, along with Renaissance Recovery.
“I am writing memoirs. I am addicted,” he added. “What I really want to focus on is that addiction doesn’t have to be the end. There is recovery after addiction. If you can just put in the work and do the things you need to do, that doesn’t have to be the end. You don’t have to die. You don’t have to spend your life in prison. Recovery is possible.
“If you don’t struggle with addiction, you probably know someone,” Crawford added. “And I think it’s definitely something we need to start helping take care of more.”
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