I started loosely following Billy Benz's career roughly at the time I started Knockout Lounge. I believe there was an article or some little fun-fact that pointed out that he was originally born in New Jersey, and that's when I was eyeing up the New Jersey talent (local) that I could conduct my first interviews with. Turns out he wasn't so easy to reach as you will learn in his interview, he wasn't exactly local at the time. Finally broke the ice and contacted Billy and he was definitely more than willing to fill out this Q&A and discuss his life and current state of his career. Billy ends his Amatuer MMA career with a 16-8 record, holding 10 titles and will look to make a statement as a professional in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled!
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and what was life like growing up? (Family, school, friends):
Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and most definitely claim the east coast! My mother wanted to locate her natural father, and so my step-father and her and I took a trip to Kansas. Life growing up was very interesting, looking back. Grew up in very poor circumstances most of the time. Grew up surviving one might say!
Were you involved in any sports as a youth in or outside of school?
I played 6-man football my 7th grade year, track and field, and every year I tried to play basketball my parents would end up making me quit because we lived in the country and they never wanted to drive to get me after practice, rather embarrassing then.
What is your favorite child-hood memory?
My favorite child hood memory is probably when my best friend, Mason and I used to just roam the creeks and rivers throughout Kansas in a small town called Burlington. We would catch snakes, fish, turtles, you name it!
Any interesting child-hood stories and/or fun facts?
One time I was with my best friend Mason, and we were probably in the 4th grade or so, and I took a crap under a bridge near a creek, but then walked up the hill, and sadly slid down the mud into what I had left behind, pretty funny looking back.
Getting involved in MMA:
How did you get involved?
I started wrestling at NCCC in Chanute, KS- and if there was one thing I knew then, it was that I wanted to fight! I wrestled at 4 colleges and met a lot of tough wrestlers.
What discipline did you begin with and care to share a bit about your early experiences learning the sport(s)?
Wrestling. Hard work will eventually beat the natural talent of others!
At what point did you know you were ready to step in the cage for the first time?
I always knew I could fight from growing up the way I did. Always would get into fights since I can remember, maybe 1st grade.
When the cage locked behind you in your first fight, can you recall what what through your mind? How did your first fight turn out?
First fight was at 145 lbs against a stacked Marine from Texas in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He got me by a decision, but I and many others felt like I had won the fight! …And my thoughts were, I am here this is what I want!
What is something you've learned while being involved in this sport?
I’ve learned that practice partners can either make or break you.
What gym are you currently fighting out of?
What is your current record (ammy/pro) and at what weight?
Ammy record finished at 16-8 with Ten Titles.
Do you currently have a nickname in this sport? If so, what is it and why?
I’ve had a few different ones, actually but figured I would just go with my name.
If you could improve one aspect of your game, what would it be and why?
I would like to improve my Jiu Jitsu, because there are so many different moves that I feel like I have a long way to go to “master” that discipline.
What is your most memorable experience as an MMA fighter?
When I re-matched Mark Thomlinson for the Midwest ISCF Bantamweight Title on April 19th, 2013. Revenge is sweet!
Any interesting stories to share or learning experiences whilst fighting you would like to share?
My first title win was interesting because it was a 9 second KO. I tapped gloves with a guy named Zach Hubbard who is currently pro and he attempted to take me down, unexpectedly, I circled and then it became “hammer” time.
If you could offer one bit of advice to an aspiring fighter what would it be?
Never give up in this game, or in life, or anything! Work hard, and treat others kindly and learn as much as you are able.
Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors individuals who have supported you?
Dr. Matheny of Matheny Chiropractic, my cell phone company to Mr. Isacc Gallegos via Solavei, Dr. Stock of Warrensburg Vision Eye Care Center, Coach Ed Jones, Coach Yeamans, Coach Vander Linden, any Assistant Coaches that I have had, Coach May of Baker University, Bill Manwaring, and I am sure I missed some of you and I am sorry! More interviews to come, hopefully!
What are your goals for the future in the sport?
To be one of the best flyweight athletes in the world.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport and where it's headed?
I really don’t know what to expect from Kansas, nor do I honestly care. Missouri is more important to me.
If you could change one thing in the sport, what would it be?
Fair Judging, but I guess hey, NEVER leave it to the judges!!
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Well, hopefully I will be done fighting professional and have already had a Bellator, or UFC title. It will not be an easy road, but if I can at least have a decent successful pro career then I am ok with that!
Favorite Food/Dish: Sushi and Ice cream
Favorite type of Music: Alternative
Favorite Movie: Braveheart
Favorite TV Show: Late show with David Letterman
Favorite Quote: "What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger!"
Do you have any children? Do you plan on having any/more?: 2 sons and not planning for more..
Best day of your life: Not sure about that yet lol
Interesting/Unknown Fact about yourself: I am left handed and that I love to run in high altitude such as the Colorado mountains!
Favorite Hobbies: Family, training, camping, fishing, loving the outdoors!
Who is your favorite super hero and why? Everyone plays a role in this world, no matter what. Faith in humanity, I guess?
Facebook Page/Fan Page: Billy Benz – please “like” my fan page !
Manager Contact (for sponsorship/fight inquiries): Kyle Franza 314 496 7005
Email Address: bbenz2012@gmail
All Images Couresy of CatsEye Photography