Last year, Seattle-based welterweight Ben “Flat Top” Fodor returned to fighting after a couple years off and has been having a good run in the professional ranks after a long period of amateur excellence.
In four bouts since making the move up to the pro ranks, Fodor is undefeated, though the road back wasn’t an easy one.
“I’d taken a long break, a couple of years off, and I felt like I had a long of ring rust,” Fodor told MMAWeekly.com. “Everything was hard, harder than I thought. But every fight I’ve gotten better, and if you watch my fights in a row, you see each mistake get fixed and get better.”
During his time away from active competition, Fodor made news as real-life superhero Phoenix Jones. It was feeling he could differentiate the two aspects of his life, fighting in a cage and fighting crime, that allowed Fodor to return to MMA full time.
“I always worried that someone was going to think that my fighting was to promote my Phoenix Jones work, or that my Phoenix Jones work was to promote my fighting, but it just got to a point where I felt I could do what I wanted,” said Fodor.
“I’d always been training in the gym, but just without the intention of fighting. When the Cage Warrior Combat show came up (in 2013), I thought it was a good opportunity and I was going to give it a shot.”
While Fodor is able to separate one career from another, he’s found that often others aren’t so easily able to distinguish the two.
“I think they have a hard time wrapping their heads around everything,” he said. “I think they think I’m some kind of show. But they don’t realize I have actual skills. I was a fighter who used his fighting skills to become a super hero and then went back to what he’s good at.”
Fodor (4-0) will look to keep his undefeated ways going at Super Fight League: America 2 on Saturday night against unblemished prospect Tyson Cunningham (3-0) in Tacoma, Wash., in a 170-pound title fight.
“I think the key is controlling the takedown,” said Fodor. “I have to make sure I sprawl and get (Cunningham) off me and get angles on him. I think my technical boxing is going to out-match him. I’ve got good hands, but it’s not just the power, it’s the angles that I come from. I don’t think he’s ready for that.
“If we go to the ground, I’m going to do a lot of getting up or submission attempts. I don’t want stay in the guard or sitting there with him on top – he’s just too dangerous for that.”
Fighting for the SFL American welterweight title is a big thing for Fodor, as he looks at the larger picture of his career overall when considering championships.
“Winning is the most important thing, winning is what it about, but the other thing is your legacy,” he said. “I need to prove to my son at some point that I had a reason and this was worth it. Titles are something I take to him when he’s 20 and say I was a champion and it’s something I can prove.”