It’s not very often that a fighter has hype around them before they ever actually step foot in the cage, but that’s exactly what happened to Lance Palmer.
A four time All-American at The Ohio State University, Palmer immediately got attention when he declared after his final match in the NCAA tournaments that he would be making his transition to the sport of MMA.
Palmer immediately signed on with the management team at MMA Inc. and then began his training with Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male in Sacramento.
MMAWeekly.com first chronicled Palmer’s move into MMA in 2011 just prior to his first pro fight, and as this weekend approaches the former Buckeye is now embarking on his third bout as a full fledged mixed martial artist.
Palmer is growing up fast in the sport and with a 2-0 record, looking to make it three in a row, his MMA education is happening more and more with each passing day.
“I think I’ve grown a lot in my first two fights. Just because of the guys that I train with and also the guys that I’ve had to fight,” Palmer told MMAWeekly Radio. “My second fight ended up being a guy that had over 26 pro fights and he’s fought in Elite XC, and he’s been around for a long time.
“My second fight was a fight where I was going out there and trying to finish the guy the whole time, and put on a good show and that helped me grow in just that fight alone by getting ring time and by fighting a guy that’s been in the sport over 8 years.”
Beyond his two fights, Palmer has to face some of the toughest competition in the gym every, single day.
Working alongside UFC contenders like Joseph Benavidez, T.J. Dillashaw, and Chad Mendes force the former All-American to literally get better or go home. Palmer’s pretty sure he’s getting much better, and going home is not an option.
“Me and Joseph (Benavidez) are about a week apart on our fights, he’s the week after me, and even though he’s at 125 now, he’s one of the best fighters in the world at any weight, so just being able to do boxing sparring with him, or any kind of sparring where I’m trying to get better,” Palmer said about his training.
The toughest part about Palmer’s budding MMA career right now might actually be finding the opponents outside the training room.
While he faces former champions and top contenders in his home gym, it’s when it actually comes fight time where Palmer finds it a struggle to get quality opponents to step in the cage with him.
“It’s been tough getting opponents, especially last summer after my first fight. Guys still don’t know a lot about me, but there’s a lot of guys that don’t want to go against a wrestler that has the credentials like me or Chad (Mendes) or any other guys that wrestled in Division I and did well,” Palmer said.
“So it’s kind of tough to get opponents, but I’ve just been as patient as possible and just taking the fights that I can get.”
The next fight he will get is against 3-4 fighter Jordan Chandler this weekend in Orem, Utah. Just like the long line of Team Alpha Male fighters before him, Palmer will continue to put in his work until the time comes that he joins his teammates in the Octagon.
Make no mistake about it, the evolution of Lance Palmer will continue and he won’t stop until there is a UFC contract in his hand.