For someone who never planned to compete in mixed martial arts, Josh Collins’ MMA fighting career is off to a good start.
“I’ve always wanted to do the training because the training puts you in great shape, but I said I’d never fight,” said Collins, a lifelong resident of Effingham County.
“I’ve never been a fighter — just always a nice, quiet guy, you know?” he added with a smile.
Collins took up MMA training three years ago and “ended up falling in love with it.” He eventually decided to enter the ring because of a friendship he has with a fight promoter in Charleston, S.C., and the camaraderie he has seen among MMA competitors.
The decision has worked out well. In his first two fights, Collins has two first-round wins.
He said he took his first fight, in February of last year, on just two weeks’ notice. Collins used a move known as a guillotine choke to defeat his opponent just a minute and 41 seconds into the first round.
Collins went nearly two years before his next fight, in the meantime training five days a week at The Asylum gym in Rincon under the tutelage of gym owner and professional boxer Jamie Day. Collins said Day has “helped (him) tremendously” in his training.
The hard work in the gym paid off for his second fight, on Dec. 8 in Charleston. Competing in the 205-pound weight class, Collins employed a strategy he and Day had worked on in the gym to win by a first-round knockout.
“We set it up with body shots — throw the jab, go to the body,” Collins said. “I did that twice and, on the third time, when I went to the head, he assumed I was going to the body again, and I went straight to the chin. I punched him on the chin and crumbled him up.”
Collins currently fights as an amateur on the undercard of professional fights, so he does not earn prize money. However, he receives a portion of the ticket sales, along with free gear from athletic equipment companies.
Collins does aspire to fight professionally one day. His next fight is tentatively scheduled for May in Savannah.
“My home crowd can come,” he said.