After injuries to both is biceps sidelined him for nearly three years, lightweight up-and-comer Terry Blackwell has slowly but surely built himself up to a solid contender in the NAAFS over the last two years.
Undefeated as an amateur, when Blackwell returned from injury in 2010, he didn’t step into the shallow end of the pool. As he explained, “I think because the (NAAFS) promoter kind of knew me in martial arts, he had a little higher respect for me and gave my first fight against their (current) 145-pound champion.
“At the same time, that’s what I wanted. If you’re going to go to these bigger shows, you’re going to have to survive against the best fighters. So I kind of take pride in the fact I’ve had tough fights.”
Blackwell’s unconventional start isn’t anything new for him. Coming from a traditional martial arts background, he’s looking to prove that the old ways are still viable in the modern MMA world.
“I feel though even though there hasn’t really been a legitimate Tae Kwon Do fighter that fought in there traditionally, I still feel it’s played a big part as far as making me better as a fighter,” he said. “I believe the technique works; it’s just that people don’t execute it.”
While Blackwell came up short against Frank Caraballo in his first pro fight, he’s won his last two heading into this Saturday’s Caged Vengeance 11 card in East Lake, Ohio, against late replacement Brandon Suber.
“I have some guys that I listen to as far as coaching check them out and give me help, but otherwise I don’t really get into too much who they are and what they do,” said Blackwell of his opposition.
“I’m really trying to change my style and be a little more aggressive. I find myself more of a counter-fighter, and a lot of time that really crowds me into stuff. I think it all falls back to me having more faith in my cardio to bring it for five minutes (each round) like that.”
While he plans on being more aggressive, Blackwell doesn’t want to get caught up in trying to prove to people that he’s more than just a one-dimensional fighter.
“People who watch my amateur highlights, they think I’m a grappler, but when they watch my pro stuff they think I’m more of a striker,” he said.
“I try not to read it too much and want to beat the stigma of trying to prove people wrong by doing the opposite of what they think you should do. I think mentally now it’s just about winning rather than try to please the crowd and stuff like that.”
After seeing other fighters in his area take the next step in their careers, Blackwell told MMAWeekly.com that he hopes his time will come sooner than later starting with Saturday night.
“Right now with all these Ohio fighters really blowing up and getting opportunities. It’s awesome and I’m just sitting back and waiting for my chance,” he said. “I know I’ve got to stay active and be ready for the opportunity when it comes like with this fight.”