Starting out with Jeet Kune Do, Lovato transitioned to boxing and later Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, where he became a world champion. And now he hopes to replicate that success in MMA.
“My whole life I’ve been familiar with MMA and training everything and all different ranges of combat,” Lovato told MMAWeekly.com. “It was always a goal of mine to eventually compete in MMA as I saw the UFC come around and the growth of the sport.
“I stayed in the jiu-jitsu game for quite a while, and I’ve been able to grow my team and my name in that world, but in 2014 I felt like it was time (to jump to MMA). I wanted a new challenge and wanted to feel that motivation again.”
When asked how he felt his transition to MMA has gone, Lovato replied, “I felt like a lot of it comes naturally to me, because that’s what I grew up doing. It was like tapping back into that and developing my MMA game.”
On April 22 in Catoosa, Oklahoma, Lovato (2-0) gets his first opportunity to claim an MMA championship when he takes on Marcelo Nunes (5-0) in a 185lb main event of Legacy FC 54.
“Going into this fight I’m very confident in all areas and all ranges,” said Lovato. “I’m excited to put it all together. I think (Nunes will) bring that out in me.
“He’s a great jiu-jitsu guy himself, he has stand-up experience, and seeing some of his fights he’s not afraid to throw. I’m 100% ready for that kind of fight and I’m confident for it. I’m not just understanding that it’s a possibility – I’m ready for it.”
Having claimed championships before, Lovato approaches this opportunity with the same level of preparedness as he would any other opportunity.
“It’s definitely the icing on the cake and gives you more motivation, but I’ve always approached every competition and try to be as diligent as possible with my preparation and go out there 100 percent,” Lovato said. “The title is nice for sure, and it’s a goal, and it will help me catapult my career, but I would have trained just as hard with or without it.”
After a bit of a setback last year, Lovato is looking forward to making 2016 a far more successful one.
“I planned on keeping up the MMA routine, but with the injury I spent the first half of 2015 recovering,” said Lovato. “At the end of last year I said I really wanted to make a run at this, so the biggest goal this year is to become the Legacy champion and see what opportunities arise after that.”