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RCSJ Grad Connor Dixon: Dedication and Hard Work Payoff for Undefeated MMA Fighter

3/10/2020

Rowan College at Gloucester County (now Rowan College of South Jersey) alumnus Connor Dixon, class of 2018, is working hard to prove himself in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and hopes to develop into one of the best Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitors in the world.  A graduate of the College's Health and Physical Education program, the Millville native knew from a young age that his future would be in competitive sports.

Choosing to transition to community college after high school was a “no brainer," recalled Dixon.  “Both of my parents have always pushed me to attend college after high school. It wasn't an option to not go.  I really wanted to continue to build my wrestling skills after high school and prepare for my MMA career.  RCGC had a wrestling team where I could do that." 

And prepare he did.  While wrestling at the College, Dixon qualified for nationals not once, but twice.  Ask him about important lessons learned along the way and he credits his time at RCGC with helping to learn the value of hard work and being prepared.  Attending college full time while training for MMA he admits was an extremely challenging, but uniquely valuable experience.

“My experience was particularly difficult because I was taking 14 credits a semester, training in-between classes every single day in Philly and Washington Township, coaching/training martial arts at night in Millville, and then working on weekends," said Dixon.

Dixon credits his RCGC wrestling experience with pushing him to further his MMA career, and helping him to build the skills necessary to be a well-rounded athlete.  He credits former wrestling coach, Mike Wilcox, for helping with his wrestling career and also for introducing him to his current MMA team.  Another person of influence was Assistant Professor Robert Valli.  A favorite because of his experience working in all levels of education, Valli always found a way to relate teaching lessons to what was actually happening in the schools, and made them entertaining.

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After graduating from RCGC, Dixon continued his studies in Health and Physical Education at Rowan University.  Presently, he is taking a break to focus solely on training and coaching because his MMA career has fast-tracked so much quicker than he initially anticipated. 

“I've been coaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu almost my whole life and it seemed like a really good fit for my lifestyle with training and coaching," said Dixon whose future plans include eventually finishing his bachelor's degree so that he can teach and coach wrestling, and continue to coach martial arts.  For now though, he plans to continue to prove himself every time he enters the cage and keep his undefeated record. The goal is to one day get signed to the UFC and become one of the best fighters in the world.

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“You don't have to be the most naturally talented or smartest person to be successful in your own field. If you put your head down, work hard and have good training habits, you can find success," advised Dixon.  “I'm not the most athletic or physically gifted person but I have been able to become a professional athlete and find success through many, many years of hard work and dedication.  The goal is to get 1% better every single day and hopefully, in a couple years, you will find yourself with a very developed set of skills.  Just surround yourself with people who you know have your best interest at heart and don't give up."

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