Like many others, Terrion Ware didn’t originally dream about becoming an MMA fighter before he became one. His original goal was to put on the white and blue uniform of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And he got a lot closer than many have who had the same dream. Ware was signed by the Angels out of college and played in their minor league system. He made it to their Single A team in 2008 (the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes) as a centerfielder but his dream slipped away due to an arm injury he originally suffered in college.
The Flash”” has continued his athletic pursuits with MMA and reached the mecca of the sport, the UFC. But his time in the UFC is possibly slipping away as well. Ware has fought in the UFC three times against three of the top prospects in the UFC’s bantamweight division, Cody Stamann, Sean O’Malley and Tom Duquesnoy, losing all three by split decision. The losses were close, the last one, against Duquesnoy especially, many were surprised that Ware didn’t walk away with the decision, his coach, Ian Harris of Fight Science, who has worked with Ware for six years felt it was a hometown decision.
“Decisions have not been too kind for Terrion, I think his last fight, I don’t think it was a question., I think he won the fight easily. There was no question in anyone’s mind in the arena, there was no question in anyone’s mind anywhere that watch that fight that he lost that fight. They gave it to Tom, who is a cool guy, I like Tom, he was a good fight and he’s a really tough guy but to give that fight to Tom, the only reason I can think of is because it was in Europe and Tom’s a hero over there and that was it.”
But he has earned the respect of his opponents, including that of his former opponent and currently top ten ranked bantamweight in the UFC Cody Stamann.
“He can be a contender in this division, he has all the right tools, the right body type and he is a tough dude.”
Normally if a fighter loses their first three fights in the UFC they aren’t given a fourth opportunity but because of the level of competition, the controversy in his last fight and that they have been exciting fights, Ware was told he was going to get a fourth fight.
Having grown up in Los Angeles and having lived ten minutes away from the Staples Center, Ware was hoping the fight would’ve been on the UFC 227 card. There were multiple bantamweight bouts and even a few pull outs but Ware didn’t get the call. That’s because he had already accepted a fight on September 15 on the UFC’s first fight card in Russia and at 0-3 in the organization, he wasn’t able to turn down a fight. On that card, he will take on Merab Dvalishvili, a matchup he likes.
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Great night of jiu Jitsu work ran by @kingkevincasey Super happy to see my boy @cgiagos back in the Ufc where he belongs we are both going into to enemy territory for our next fight me Sept 15th in Russia and him September 22nd in Brazil I’m sure we are both underdogs but it’s cool they have no idea #ufcmoscow #ufcsaopaulo #ufc ⚡️+ 🦍
“It’s a very interesting matchup, both of us love to push the pace. He likes to push it more in the grappling department and I like to push it in the striking department. I think it will be a classic case of a striker vs. a grappler. But in his last fight, he looked like he was willing to stand up a little bit more too. We’ll see, I think it will be an exciting matchup no matter what. I think it will be an exciting 15 minutes or less or however long it goes, it will be a really fun fight for the fans.”
Harris believes the keys to the fight for Ware are to pressure his opponent and make sure he isn’t taken down and held.
“I think one is going to be cardio, Terrion’s cardio is insane, we’ve seen this guy gas out before and Terrion puts a major pressure on people. When he pushes forward and gets in the pocket and throws punches, most people can’t handle it.”
“What we can’t do is allow him to hold us against the fence or take down and just lay there. So Terrion has to be very active on the fence, he has to be very active if and when he gets taken down and he has to be very aggressive and just be in the guy’s face the whole time pushing him back.”
“If he does get taken down, when he gets up he has to land a barrage of strikes and get it back and maybe land our own take down.”
With his record in the UFC, Ware admits there is more pressure to win but he has learned to push it to the side in order to be successful.
“At first yeah, but I learned not to put too much pressure on myself, it causes me not to maybe not perform as loosely as I’d like to. This camp not necessarily nonchalant about it but not really putting as much pressure on me as I have in the past. I’m aware of the situation in terms of, for me the UFC may cut me. I’m not really harping on that anymore, not letting that get to me, just kinda going out and building my skills.”
“All you can do is train and prepare as hard as you can and then just go out there and have fun. I enjoy fighting no matter what, what happens with the UFC or with someone else. I just have to constantly remind myself of that and whenever I’m loose and kind of free I’m at my best.”
In order to have the confidence to be loose, Ware has worked on his grappling to make it a strength. He has added more members to his team including Kenny Johnson and Bubba Jenkins at Blackhouse, Josh Barnett and his team and Fight Academy in Pasadena.
But there is one area where he won’t have control which has proven to be a weakness and that has been leaving the decision in the hands of the judges, if that happens his coach doesn’t seem optimistic.
“We’re facing a Russian, in Russia on the first Russia UFC card, it does not bode well for us,” said Harris.
(Editor’s Note, Dvalishvili is from Georgia, a neighboring country to Russia)
But Ware isn’t worried, because he believes the judges won’t be necessary.
“I see myself knocking him out.”