Table of Contents
- 1 Al Iaquinta – Lightweight
- 2 Aljamain Sterling – Bantamweight
- 3 Eddie Wineland – Bantamweight
- 4 Dominick Reyes – Light Heavyweight
- 5 Emily Whitmire – Strawweight
- 6 Frankie Edgar – Featherweight
- 7 Geoff Neal – Welterweight
- 8 Paul Felder – Lightweight
- 9 Neil Magny – Welterweight
- 10 Paul Craig – Light Heavyweight
- 11 Stipe Miocic – Heavyweight
- 12 Final Thoughts
When it comes to the sport of MMA, the Ultimate fighting championships promotion is the pinnacle. And signed to its roster are some of the most talented and dedicated MMA fighters in the world today. But some UFC fighters have to still hold down a day job but who are they?
Down through the years, some of the UFC’s top talent has come from regular jobs. Some still continue to hold down a day job while fighting professionally. Including Al Iaquinta, Neil Magny, Dominick Reyes to Stipe Miocic.Shop Best Selling Fighter Apparel and Merchandise
With all manner of stories circulating about the pay structure within the company. It appears for some that being an elite level professional fighter is still not enough to pay all those bills.
And so, some are forced through no fault of their own, or simply because they want to, continue the slough through the 9 – 5 trenches While at the same time training to face off against another human inside a cage.
So with that in mind, I wanted to take a closer look at the present UFC fighters. Who has held down a regular job day job before joining the UFC. Or who continued in their job long after signing on the dotted line.
Some interesting names may shock, with random jobs that may amuse some fans. As we get to see regular people follow their dreams from their place of work to the UFC octagon.
Al Iaquinta – Lightweight
By night raging Al Iaquinta may be one of the top ten UFC lightweights in the world. But by day the man from Valley Stream New York is a realtor with Homesmart Premier Living Realty.
Al has held down the job during his time as a professional fighter due in many ways to his dissatisfaction with the UFC. Vocal about how well fighters are compensated for their fights. He was never going to be the type of guy to sit back and simply take what he was given.
And it would appear on the surface at least that he does pretty well for himself. Having a successful job on the side for when he finally decides to call it quits inside the cage.
Aljamain Sterling – Bantamweight
Top ten bantamweight fighter Aljo Aljamain Sterling is one of the best 135 lb fighters in the world. And for some time has been in the running for a shot at the title.
But outside of punching and kicking people for a living. Like his friend and stablemate Al Iaquinta, Aljamain is also a fellow realtor. Not content to simply take whatever UFC put on the table.
The Uniondale, New York native took a leaf out of Raging Al’s book and got into real estate. And by all accounts, he is doing okay for himself. Having spoken several times publicly about closing deals in the industry.
It looks like his post-fight career may have already been chosen. And living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. No doubt he will make some big paydays when he finally decides to hang up the gloves.
Eddie Wineland – Bantamweight
Another UFC bantamweight fighter who keeps himself busy while out of the octagon is veteran Eddie Wineland. Wineland has been in and around the sport of mixed martial arts for seventeen years.
Having won the inaugural WEC bantamweight title, which he defended one time. Eddie lost in his fight for the interim UFC Bantamweight Championship against Renan Barao.
But when he is not competing inside the octagon. Wineland is busy helping out his Chicago community as a firefighter. A role that the Indiana native takes very seriously.
But you have to sometimes ask how these athletes are able to balance both a professional fighting career. On top of being dedicated to day job helping others. Being able to destroy an opponent inside the octagon, then go back to work and save the neighbours cat.
Dominick Reyes – Light Heavyweight
UFC light heavyweight fighter Dominick Reyes is widely known as the guy who pushed Jon Jones to the limit. Having lost by decision in his quest for the championship UFC 247.
Reyes immediately came on the radar as a very real threat to Jones reign. However, he would not get the opportunity to follow through and rematch the champ, losing in his second attempt to new champion Jan Blachowicz.
But did you know that while competing in the UFC for a period of his time, Dominick was an IT technical support specialist at Oak Hills High School in California.
Managing by day to somehow balance his burgeoning career at the very top of the sport. While by night fight inside the UFC octagon against some of the most dangerous athletes on the planet. Wonder if he ever got grief from some spoilt students about their lousy internet connection?
Emily Whitmire – Strawweight
Fighting out of Xtreme Couture strawweight fighter Emily Whitmire is not just a pretty face. Coming to the UFC back in 2018, the former jockey grew up barrel racing horses at rodeos.
But it was after an impromptu grappling match while drunk. Where she discovered her love for combat and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now competing at 115lbs in the UFC, Whitmire is hoping to move up the ladder and make his way to an eventual challenge for the title. But with such a stacked division in front of her, it’s not going to be an easy task.
But she still manages to balance her agenda between her day job serving tables at a bar while still training full time in MMA. While she may have to someday give up the waitressing. Until she sees some movement in the top ten, it looks like she may just hold on for now.
Frankie Edgar – Featherweight
Frankie Edgar is one of the most consistent and well-respected fighters in the sport of mixed martial arts. The former UFC lightweight champion has seen and done it all.
Having also competed for the featherweight title on two occasions. There was a period in the sport when it seemed as though Edgar was fighting on every second card, I exaggerate, but he was always in the news.
But did you know that at one time the UFC fighter from Tom’s River New Jersey held down three jobs? Where in the morning he worked at his father in law’s plumbing business which took him all over New York state.
In the afternoon he would coach wrestling and by night compete in his true love, MMA. So a busy man for several years before he decided to give up the plumbing and focus solely on mixed martial arts. And boy, for The Answer, it sure did pay some dividends!
Geoff Neal – Welterweight
Geoff Neil is a welterweight fighter who in 2017 burst onto the scene via Dana White’s contender series. Winning his first five fights with the UFC, Neal has looked like a serious contender in the 170lb division. And is eager to push forward and make his way into title contention in the not too distant future.
However, life is all about ups and downs and while Geoff was fighting in the UFC, he still had bills to pay. And after leaving his day job as a server at a Texas roundhouse restaurant chain in Dallas Texas.
He soon returned to make up the difference and keep his head above water. As some will be aware, even though you may make it to the UFC. That does not necessarily guarantee a cash windfall or even financial freedom.
Paul Felder – Lightweight
When not clashing shins with Edson Barbosa. Paul ‘The Irish Dragon’ Felder was busy acting. Well, up to a certain point, before making the full-time switch to MMA.
Felder, a martial artist since the age of 12, had competed at a high level at the Junior Olympics in taekwondo. He would also add Karate and Muay Thai to his repertoire, before finally falling in love with mixed martial arts.
But after graduating from the University of the Arts Philadelphia in 2008. Paul became a full-time actor mainly doing plays, while at the very same time following his love for competition.
Felder would eventually get signed by the UFC in 2014, going on to have some great success. And although his acting career has been put to the side. It’s helped immeasurably in his new role as a UFC commentator and interviewer.
Seems like no matter what The Irish Dragon puts his mind to he does well! Remembering back to when he first thought about making a move to the octagon and saying to himself;
“Yeah, I can do this.”Paul Felder – UFC lightweight fighter
Neil Magny – Welterweight
Born in Brooklyn New York, The Haitian Sensation Neil Magny has been part of the UFC roster since 2013. With wins against some of the biggest names at 170lbs. Neil has continued to be in or around the top 10 of the division for more than a decade.
Still seeking his shot at the title somewhere down the line. Neil managed to keep his calendar full by holding down his daytime job with Illinois National Guard where he worked as a light-wheeled mechanic.
It’s a job that he believes prepared him for the toughness of MMA and by all accounts, it served him well. As many fighters cannot manage to stay signed for more than their original three-fight contract.
Magny has managed to have 23 fights over a seven years period. And with some huge scalps to his name, there’s nothing to say he may not hold that prized title at some point.
Paul Craig – Light Heavyweight
The light heavyweight from Scotland is not your typical cage fighter. Craig previously won the BAMMA world title before making his way to the UFC back in 2015.
BearJew as he is known to his fans had quite a different job before making the full time switch to MMA. Where back at Bellshill Academy in Lanarkshire and Eastwood High and Woodfarm, near Glasgow.
Paul worked with an educational charity called SkillForce that helped kids decide on what vocation they wished to follow after school. And while at one time he hid his participation in the sport from his employers.
Once the proud father of two found success, he could no longer keep a lid on things. But his employers were only too happy for him and backed him all the way as he sought fighting fame and glory in the UFC.
Stipe Miocic – Heavyweight
Probably the most famous holder of a day job in all MMA. The former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is both a full-time father, firefighter and trained medic. And all of which he manages to balance while still remaining the baddest man on the planet at 240 lbs.
Miocic has claimed the championship two times, having lost once to future Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier. But in true warrior spirit which no doubt plays a lot into his role as a firefighter.
Stipe was able to reclaim his title and confirm for many his status as the greatest heavyweight on the planet.
Not bad for a guy who manages to have so much going on outside the octagon. While still holding his position as the very best in the world. With no doubt, when it comes to what he will be doing once he finally decides to hang up those gloves.
If there is one thing for sure, it’s that all of these people make the majority of us look like lazy so and so’s. As they train and fight inside a cage, while at the same time sometimes holding down a full-time job on the side.
Most of us can barely manage to organise when the grocery shopping needs to be done. While at the same time we work our way through another Call of Duty level (multitasking). So hats off to the men and women who can do so well in the sport and hold down a 9 – 5 like everyone else.
But it should be an inspiration for those who think they couldn’t possibly hit their goals. As if these athletes can do it, why not you or me?
So feel inspired and go out and get it. There’s so much more to this life than paying bills. And these people right here are a living embodiment of that fact.
Hi, I’m Ross, at 40 years plus, I have been involved in the Martial arts for most of my life. Along with my first pet Collie dog named Tyson, RIP. My journey in the world of Martial Arts is something I want to share. So that others too can learn from my experiences.