Ranked #2 by MMA Weekly is Mixed Martial Artist Middleweight Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort. Scheduled to fight at UFC 152 on September 22, 2012 against #1 Light Heavyweight Jon Jones; so when Belfort says “have you ever thought about coaching” it might be a great time to think about coaching. Vitor Belfort inspired Jon Dye to begin his coaching career. He did and is very successful. Jon Dye View all 7 photos Vitor inspires Jon to become a successful MMA Coach Jon Dye Meet Birmingham, Alabama’s Champions Freestyle MMA Fight Team Coach – Jon Dye. Champions Fight Team has 17 mixed martial arts amateur fighters and 5 PRO MMA fighters. They have won 14 titles in 3 short years and travel extensively all over the Southeast. That is a pretty impressive fact for a little gym in Birmingham, Alabama. The catalyst behind the highly successful fight team – Coach Jon Dye. Jon Dye has always been an athlete and played sports his whole life. While attending college at the University of Alabama he got into boxing and loved it. He graduated and moved back to Birmingham where he met Curt McCune at an amateur boxing event. McCune is a former 4-time State of Alabama amateur boxing champion, the 1994 International Law Enforcement Games Boxing Champion and a licensed professional boxing trainer and registered Level II coach with USA Boxing. McCune started working with Dye and taught him how to box first as an amateur and then as a professional. Jon met an MMA promoter at a boxing event. He asked Jon if he had ever thought about fighting in a cage. Jon said “ I told him I had watched some of the earlier UFC events but had never been to one live”. The very first live MMA fight he attended – he fought in. The next few years the fights started rolling in one after the other – but so were the injuries. After one particular knee surgery he was so eager to get back into his perfecting his skills and training that he flew out to Las Vegas to train with some of the very best. Dye trained with Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu Academy founder Mark Laimon and Floyd Mayweather, Sr. Also on the list of the best of the best, Xtreme Couture, a training organization headed by former UFC Champion and former co-founder of Team Quest, Randy Couture. Many past and current top MMA fighters train at Couture so Jon was eager to train there too. One day while grappling with UFC Fighter Jay “Thoroughbred” Hieron and sparring with UFC Middleweight Vitor Belfort, Jon was talking to Jay about the numerous injuries he had sustained when Vitor walked into the conversation and asked Jon if he had ever thought about coaching. The seed was planted. On the plane ride home he started thinking about what Belfort had suggested and Jon’s very own dad had enjoyed coaching when he was younger and decided to start coaching. His first guy to coach was Walt Harris – whom he had seen at Gold’s Gym. Walt was huge, athletic and had a lot of interest in boxing. Even though Harris was a heavyweight – he moved like a lightweight and picked up techniques amazingly fast. Then Dye met Fred Weaver and started coaching him. After a few fights – Harris and Weaver were becoming stand out favorites and were defeating other skilled experienced fighters left and right. Jon loved coaching and watching his trained and skilled athletes compete. He decided to open a gym – Champions Freestyle MMA — and the potential fighters started pouring in. In Alabama, coaches are quick to train State Champion Wrestlers, Amateur Boxers and Karate and BJJ guys but most of the fighters coming into Champions MMA did not have a background in combat sports and were starting from scratch. That was 3 short years ago. Since then, Champions Freestyle MMA Fight Team has competed in Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, New Orleans, Georgia, Kentucky, Las Vegas and several other states. Champions heads to Biloxi, Mississippi just about every weekend to fight. In just 3 years – Champion’s Pro Heavyweight Fighter Walt “Big Ticket” Harris has knocked out an undefeated fighter from Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts. The same Jackson’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico where Sherdog.com reports that fighters have a win percentage of 81% and to this day, the camp has produced ten world champions. Champion’s amateur Pro fighter Fred Weaver has also fought and knocked out a guy from Baja Gracie at the main event in Las Vegas. Eryk Anders (former linebacker from the University of Alabama’s Championship Football Team and now an amateur MMA fighter) has defeated a previously undefeated fighter from Hardcore Gym in Athens, Georgia. Hardcore Gym is home to numerous world champs including Forrest Griffin. Fight Team member Anthony Retic has also fought and KO’d a guy from Hardcore Gym. Former Champions Pro fighter – Adrian Miles moved to Mississippi and began training and coaching at UFC fighter Alan Belcher’s MMA gym in Biloxi. Champions fighters are rapidly becoming some of the most sought after pro and amateur fighters to have on an MMA fight card. Coach Dye said “With as many top guys as we have in our gym you can not help but get better. I love coaching and plan on doing it until I am old and gray”. Thanks Vitor – for your help in inspiring and encouraging Jon Dye to give coaching a try and good luck in your upcoming bout with Jones.