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Irvin Captains the Destruction Attack

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

Every squad needs a leader, every battalion needs a commander and as Bill Murray said in ‘Stripes', an army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe.

At Destruction MMA, Eric Irvin fits the bill as all of the above.

"Eric is the captain of the team," says Destruction MMA head coach Joe Worden. "He knows how to drive. He knows how to get guys motivated."

Like so many in the sport, the 26-year-old Irvin got into mixed martial arts through a high school wrestling career. Irvin and his family moved around a lot and in seventh grade set their roots in Farmington. In high school, sports weren't much of a luxury.

"We lived like 20 miles out of town so it was a pain for me to get to and from practice," Irvin said. "My dad said I could do one sport a year. After a year of football, we picked wrestling as his sport as a sophomore and it stuck."

Irvin parlayed that wrestling background into a start in MMA. He took his first amateur fight before he turned 20. He was 10-1 as an amateur with his only loss coming to Lance Benoist, who now fights in the UFC.

"I never was a technician," Irvin said. "When it came to wrestling I was always a balls-to-the-wall brawler. And even now, I might not beat you in the first or second round, but I will beat you in the third or fourth. You are going to know you fought me, win or lose."

Irvin has had five pro fights, going 3-2. Now that he's made the switch to the pro ranks, he's been more deliberate in accepting matches.

"I'm spacing my pro fights out," he said. "I want to concentrate on training and getting better. I need to get my weight down, too."

A college graduate, Irvin spends his days as an artist at a sign shop. But it's in the cage where he feels he creates his masterpieces.

"I want to get better and like everybody, I want to be a full-time fighter," Irvin said. "I have a job and I'm kind of rooted. It's one of those things, I love fighting and I want to be a fighter but I have to provide for my family. Until fighting can do that, I have to do both."

Working full-time along with putting in the rigorous hours needed to be a pro fighter can make for some grinding days and nights.

"I come in with a few guys before work to get in a cardio workout," he said. "Then after work I come straight to the gym until about 8:30. It's a pretty busy schedule."

The long hours have definitely paid off as Irvin adds more and more to his arsenal.

"Eric came to me as a very good wrestler and a raw striker," Worden said. "People wouldn't even know that he is a wrestler now. His striking is getting unreal."

Worden and Irvin have built a bond that is more than fighter/coach.

"He is not only a fighter but a friend of mine," Worden said. "He was at the hospital when my son was born."

That kind of relationship permeates through Destruction MMA.

"Our team is more of a family," Worden said. "We do everything together. I don't care if we lose, the next day, the team is like, ‘that was a great fight. We have to work on some things but it's OK. You win and lose."