Dobbins Finds Success in First Pro Fight
AGF Fighter Cole Dobbins Dives into Fight 2 Win Pro Circuit
By Brett Hart
There's a big difference between amateur fighting and that on a professional stage. For Tuscaloosa fighter Cole Dobbins the pressures of stepping into the Fight 2 Win professional ring for the first time mimic those he felt his very first tournament.
''I remember being told at my first tournament that it feels like everyone is watching you, but in reality, only a few people are watching at a tournament with multiple mats,'' Dobbins said.
Dobbins, who trained in Karate until age 12 and then switched to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu nine years later, had his F2W professional debut at the American Grappling Federation's Battle of the Big Easy on Aug. 6 in Westwego, Louisiana during the Fight 2 Win Pro portion of the otherwise amateur BJJ tournament. Now a 26-year-old, 220-pound BJJ purple belt, Dobbins said, ''At Fight 2 Win everyone is really watching you. You and your opponent are the only ones out there. Add in the lights, music, stage and a big crowd, and you've got yourself a perfect scenario to have 'stage fright' or the 'first tournament jitters' all over again.''
With that being said, Dobbins rose to the challenge and won his Fight 2 Win Pro 10 match by arm bar.
The BJJ Obsession
''I started training BJJ because I wanted to fight in the cage,'' Dobbins said. ''I knew that if I could fight on the ground like any of the great black belts in the UFC then I would be okay.''
He quickly came to realize the humbling effects of BJJ. Beginning his training in a small gym, Dobbins said, ''Day in and day out I got my tail beat by guys a lot smaller than me. Even kids were submitting me. It didn't take long for me to start to love this art!''
Dobbins now trains at Checkmat affiliate Cobra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, under the tutelage of Kurtis Taylor who received his black belt from Cobra BJJ (Plano, Texas) owner Eddie Ricardo in January 2015.
Prior to his professional debut, Dobbins honed his skills and passion in the amateur realms of the Greatmats-sponsored AGF tournament circuit.
''What's not to like about AGF?'' Dobbins said. ''The staff is great. They are always on time. I think that they actually finished an hour ahead of schedule once. That is unheard of among tournaments. I love the format of gi and no gi. The AGF rule set opens up the leg lock game at purple belt which I enjoy a lot.''
In his final amateur tournament, Dobbins won gold in both the gi and no gi open classes and took silver in both of his super heavy weight class divisions at the AGF Columbus BJJ Championships in May.
As his love of BJJ has grown, Dobbins has immersed himself in the BJJ family. His girlfriend, Ashley, is a blue belt who helps get him ready to compete in at least one tournament per month.
''I love that there is always someone better than you,'' Dobbins said. ''There will always be someone out there who can catch you. I love that jiu jitsu is constantly evolving. This is the best, most rewarding martial art on the planet. BJJ teaches you so many life lessons and surrounds you with a like minded people from all sorts of different backgrounds.''
He's even drawn his own family into the experience with him.
His parents and sister, who have no personal experience in the martial arts, were apprehensive at first about Cole competing in BJJ, but have now become some of his biggest supporters.
That support is much appreciated by Cole who admits keeping a positive mentality when you plateau in your progression can be quite challenging.
''I think this is why you see so many people quit at blue belt, because they stop seeing large improvements,'' Dobbins said.
With the support of his BJJ family, immediate and extended, Dobbins intends to continue push past those plateaus, following the words of BJJ cult hero and Pan American Champion Kurt Osiander - ''Go Train!''
Learn more about American Grappling Federation Tournaments and athletes by visiting Greatmats' AGF Tournament Resource Page.