UFC lightweight contender Hermes Franca is living the dream, fighting for the premier mixed martial arts promotion in the world.
He soaks up every ounce of it and just loves his place in life right now. As if the perma-grin didn't give it away, Franca — a resident of Jupiter, Florida — recently spoke with the Palm Beach Post about his long road to the UFC that began in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Here's a big snip:
Franca, who played soccer as a child, was introduced to the discipline in 1994 after tagging along with friends to a local martial arts school.
Franca spent the next six years training in Brazilian jujitsu, and eventually achieved the rank of brown belt.
After moving to the United States in April 2000, his work commitments left him little time to pursue serious martial arts training.
Six months later, however, he jumped right back in.
Franca, the father of a 4-year-old son, was competing independently in a national Brazilian jujitsu tournament when he was noticed by a Boca Raton martial arts teacher.
Immediately, the instructor offered to cover Franca's training expenses.
Franca accepted the offer without hesitation, and for the next four years, he trained full-time in Brazilian jujitsu at the Silveira Brothers Brazilian Jiujitsu Academy in Boca Raton.
During that time, he also began competing in Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts.
Franca — who is riding high on an eight-fight win streak — is slated to face Sean Sherk at UFC 73 this summer for the 155-pound belt.
It's a fight that not too many people expect him to win. But, something tells me Franca couldn't care less.
He's too busy smiling.
Check out the entire article if you have some time.