Alvin Cacdac knows that a career in mixed martial arts is ripe with challenges - both inside and outside the cage.
Cacdac is an impressive 3-1 in Strikeforce (4-4 overall), and faces talented striker Jose Palacios in the undercard at Strikeforce: 'Destruction' tonight at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
His strategy is simple one:
"He's a tough guy, a good kickboxer, so I'm probably going to take it to the ground and hopefully end it with either a submission or ground and pound."
As a local fighter, getting the chance to compete in Strikeforce is an amazing opportunity, especially considering that Cacdac is relatively new to the sport.
"I train at Nor Cal Fight Factory with little Dave (Velasquez) over here in San Jose. [I haven't been in it] that long, maybe four years. I was always into it in High School and throughout my life. A buddy of mine from work was like, oh yeah I fight, I do MMA. I said alright cool. He got me in."
That choice may have felt right for Cacdac, but it didn't sit well with friends and family, who sometimes see mixed martial arts as nothing more than a threat to the health and safety of a loved one, rather than an actual competitive sport.
"At first they didn't support it because they were like 'You could get hurt'. But you can get hurt at anything. I think they support it now though."
As Cacdac explains, pursuing the dream of becoming a professional fighter is not without its sacrifices.
"I have to give up a lot of my personal time, my free time. You have to be dedicated to it. The free time I do have, I spend it with family and my girlfriend."
Still, the challenge of sticking to those sacrifices is also what keeps him motivated. Cacdac names his family, coaches and himself as the driving forces behind his dedication to MMA.
Of course Cacdac himself is not without a role model, and names one of the sports biggest stars as his inspiration for bettering himself in the competitive world of MMA.
"BJ Penn. I've been watching him ever since I was in high school. I was like 'Oh man, this guy is sick'."
Which could explain how Cacdac ended up with a similar nickname in "The Filipino Phenom."
"I don't know where I got it from. Other than I'm Filipino and my last two fights I slammed two guys in the head and they were like you are crazy, you are a phenom, so they go 'Filipino Phenom'."
When asked about his prediction for tonight's fight, Cacdac didn't hesitate:
"A lot of combinations, get him frustrated. Hopefully not let him get too much of a gap. I don't want to get kicked or anything so hopefully just smother him and give 'em hell."
For more on Alvin Cacdac including sponsorship opportunities, check out his website here and his MySpace page here .