Off the heels of his latest conquest in Japan, mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Frank Trigg (17-6) doesn't seem too concerned about his next challenge, submission expert, Falaniko "Niko" Vitale (26-8). In fact, Trigg's seemingly nonchalant attitude toward the 185-pound limit matchup with Hawaii's top talent could be mistaken for brash overconfidence.
"To me, it's just another day for me," said Trigg, a 2000 Olympic wrestling trials finalist and former UFC welterweight championship challenger who will battle Vitale in a featured Strikeforce "Payback" MMA contest at Broomfield, Colorado's Broomfield Event Center on Friday, October 3rd. "All of my days start to run together so I don't have any thoughts about a particular fighter."
When the subject of conversation turns to the state of his career, though, Trigg's tone suddenly becomes more focused and intense. "I've only got a couple fights left so every fight is important to me."
At 38, Trigg may be nearing the end of his splendid run in professional MMA. It is in the last two years, however, which he has also turned in some of his most impressive performances, to date, including back-to-back wins over Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Kazo "The Grabaka Hitman" Misaki.
Trigg attributes these recent, good fortunes to his adoption of all-time great, Randy "The Natural" Couture, as a mentor. Training at the Xtreme Couture academy in Las Vegas, Nevada has provided him with a new outlook towards competition.
"One of my biggest problems has been that I've been my own worst enemy," admitted Trigg. "I let that get in the way of my fights. One thing about Xtreme Couture, especially hanging out with Randy, is he (emphasizes) doing the best you can, so it really takes the stress off of you. For him, it's always about being fun. So, it's kind of interesting to see how he trains and I try to mimic the style."
While he has surely carved out a legacy in the sport that almost anyone would be proud to call his own, Trigg remains most proud of his career in amateur wrestling, which included team competition at University of Oklahoma and culminated with his outstanding showing in the Olympic trials.
"The whole thing was a great memory for me," said Trigg. "It's one of those things that I'll never forget, especially at the level I took it to. I took it to a level that very few people ever get to go to. Being an amateur wrestler is something that will always be important to me. It developed who I am, what I do, and how I approach things."
Tickets for Strikeforce "Payback," priced from $30, are on sale at Ticketmaster (303-830-TIXS) and Ticketmaster.com
In the main event, knockout artist and Denver native, Duane "Bang" Ludwig (16-8), will attempt to avenge a previous defeat at the hands of "The Ultimate Fighter" season three veteran, Sam "The Squeeze" Morgan (19-10).
Also back in action at Strikeforce "Payback" will be "The New York Badass" Phil Baroni (12-10) and "The Ultimate Fighter" season four veteran, "The Secret Weapon" Pete Spratt (18-14), who will battle Donnie Liles (11-5).
Broomfield Event Center doors will open for Strikeforce "Payback" at 5:30 PM MST and the preliminary card will begin at 6:30 PM MST. The main card will commence at 8 PM MST.