Texas City native Josh Altum is headlining the Fury Challenger Series on Friday at the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston. Altum, an accomplished mixed martial arts fighter, reflects on his journey and aims to make a big impact in the event.
| Texas City Native Looks to Shine in Latest Chapter of His MMA Story |
Josh Altum, a Texas City native, is headlining the Fury Challenger Series on Friday at the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston. Altum, who has been a professional mixed martial arts competitor for five years, reflects on his journey and aims to make a big impact in the event. He will face Brazilian Gabriel Macario at a catchweight of 150 pounds. Altum hopes to catch the attention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship with an impressive performance.
| Hayden Briers to Defend Bantamweight Title |
Hayden Briers, one of Altum’s proteges, will also be competing in the Fury Challenger Series. Briers, who has dual championships in the amateur ranks, will defend his bantamweight title. This will be the first time Briers competes at the same event as Altum, allowing them to train together in a full pre-fight training camp.
Texas City Native Looks to Shine in Latest Chapter of His MMA Story
Wednesday echoes from the clanging sounds of the venue being assembled act as the quiet thunder claps preceding an upcoming storm; it’s a moment for Texas City native Josh Altum to reflect on a young life that has already come a long way.
Altum, 26, admits his childhood was far from idyllic. Frequently fighting in the streets or in backyards, he was on a path toward nowhere, at best. At worst, he may very well have been just another statistic.
But, at age 13, Altum found an outlet for his youthful aggression, training in the various disciplines of mixed martial arts. Over the 13 years that followed, Altum would earn the elite distinction of being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and he has been a professional mixed martial arts competitor for five years now.
“What got me into a gym was getting into trouble young,” Altum said. “As you get good, it’s a motivator, and from there, you just fall in love with it. I think everybody would love it if they got into it — the jiu-jitsu part, at least, maybe not the punching part.”
His family was initially skeptical of his choice to pursue MMA, but they’re now his biggest fans, Altum said.
“It got me out of a lot trouble, because I was a bad kid,” Altum said. “Once I got in the gym and they saw the change in me, they fully supported me. My granny can’t stop talking about it every day.”
Friday will be Altum’s greatest opportunity to date, as he’ll headline the Fury Fighting Championship event to be held right across the causeway from his hometown at the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston.
“It’s huge; it’s something I’ve thought about doing for years,” Altum said, also noting that many of his local supporters have already scooped up tickets to cheer him on.
Not only an established professional athlete on the cusp of his sport’s grandest stage, Altum — who trains at the Gator Boxing Gym in Dickinson, as well as a facility in Tomball — is also now a mentor and cornerman for other up-and-coming fighters.
One of those proteges is San Leon’s Hayden Briers, a 23-year-old whose humble demeanor belies an imposing MMA skillset that has led him to dual championships in the amateur ranks at bantamweight (135 pounds) and flyweight (125 pounds).
Briers, one of multiple local competitors scheduled to compete on the fight card, is set to defend his bantamweight title on Friday, which will be the first time he has competed at the same event as Altum. This allowed him to partake in a full pre-fight training camp alongside his MMA mentor for the first time, as well.
“Usually, he’s cornering me and stuff like that, and now we get to be on the same card,” said Briers, adding he’ll be looking to turn pro in one of his next couple of fights. “So, that’s been pretty cool to be able to start with (Altum) and train. “So, that’s cool.”
Altum, who has compiled a 4-2 professional record, is slated Friday to face Brazilian Gabriel Macario — the culmination of an intensive two-plus months of fight preparation, which includes this week’s grueling weight cut.
While Altum normally fights at featherweight (145 pounds), just finding a willing opponent was its own separate battle, and he’ll face the usually heavier Macario, whose pro record is 8-7, at a catchweight of 150 pounds.
In that spirit of competition, Altum said he is not merely looking to win, but to win emphatically. In doing so as the main event draw of one of the country’s top regional fight promotions, Altum and his coach Joel Rivera hope to grab the attention of the world’s preeminent MMA entity: the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“If I go out and have an impressive performance, a lot of the right people are going know about this,” Altum said. “I want to send a message; I want to make something really big happen here.”
— James Lacomb
James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, [email protected] or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews