Interview with Adam Assenza
An athlete sacrifices what most would consider a typical life: They replace social time with training time, time off with extra sessions in a gym, and turn draining mental energy into focused energy for success. Being a professional athlete takes a high degree of commitment and dedication. Adam Assenza, 31, attributes a lot of his passion for training to growing up as an elite tumbler and gymnast. Training upwards of 22 hours a week for close to 12 years, Assenza learned early on what commitment looked and felt like. “Training in gymnastics you need to be committed because the payoff happens later in the career, which is where most gymnasts aim for the Olympics. But you don’t get all your skill and strength until after puberty, so it’s a big commitment – you have to really love the sport. I take that same commitment and value to MMA. ”
Despite his upbringing in gymnastics, his athletic career took a different direction after he participated in a sparring night at a local martial arts club. Assenza realized that he was a natural striker as he fought seasoned opponents with a degree of ease that surprised not only himself, but others around him. There began Assenza’s passion for MMA and ultimately, the beginning stages of his fighting career.
As a potential UFC contender and top-ranked Canadian pro MMA fighter, Assenza always looks forward to his next fight. He respects hard work and looks up to fighters who have similar strengths. When asked about mentors in the MMA world, Assenza admires fighters like Stephen “The Wonder Boy” Thompson, a former kickboxer, regarded as one of the best strikers in the business. Assenza, a fellow striker who once planned to make a professional boxing debut, believes his style of fighting is similar. “I’m a fan of Stephen Thompson because I’m a fan of the old school kickboxing era; Bill ‘Super Foot’ Wallace, Benny the Jet – I loved those guys growing up. Thompson is the last of that style. I love using gaps and some of the same kicking styles in my game.”
What’s next for Assenza? “Win big fights,” he answers, knowing that with his already successful career full steam ahead, he needs to keep on his game and catch the attention of scouts for the UFC. Assenza hopes to one day represent Burlington proudly as a professional MMA fighter with the UFC. “I’ve been doing this long enough now where the goal has not changed and I’m closer than ever; I would like to fight in the UFC, so the plan is to keep winning fights impressively.”