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NEWS | Sept. 8, 2014

MMA: Mixed Martial Airman

By Airman 1st Class Devin Scott Michaels 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

It had been about two minutes into the first round, but it felt longer to him. A fist approached his face like a cannonball tunneling through the air, ready to pass through and destroy whatever it hit. At that moment, his instincts kicked in. He dipped under the punch and threw himself forward, colliding with his opponent and taking him to the ground. He pressed his hand against the face looking up at him. Similar to the way a bolt of lightning strikes the Earth, he swung his elbow downward, cutting into the side of his opponent's face. Blood was shed and the fight was over.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Juston Campos, 36th Intelligence Squadron target development analyst, is a mixed martial artist. He has won every fight he has been in so far, but even when he wins, the fights still leave their mark.

"My friends and coworkers know I fight," said Campos. "When they see me with a scratch or bruise on my face, they tease or ask if I lost. I tell them 'No, but if I was better, I wouldn't have gotten hit in the first place.'"

Not getting hit means being the best, which is important to Campos. He wants his son to grow up proud of his father and his accomplishments, but knows it means working hard. His life revolves around training and learning as much as he can to put his skills to practical use.

"Every factor of my success that I can control, I will control," said Campos. "I will train harder and work harder to be the best fighter I am capable of being. It can be intense doing what I do, and some people may crumble, but I will never be one of those people."

As a mixed martial artist, the pressure usually sets into Campos when he gets in the cage, but through having experienced a few fights, he has learned to remain calm. He knows if he does not rise to his expectations, he will fall to his training and the factors of his success will be the products of his instinctual will to win the fight.

"Going down into the cage, it's all about my will to survive," said Campos. "I block out the rest of the world and target the individual in front of me. It's very exhilarating. Once I hear the word 'Fight,' I immediately snap into what I've been trained to do and take control of the situation."

Campos spends a large portion of his free time training, when he could be sleeping or going out with friends. His training includes going to the gym at four in the morning, running 10 to 15 miles a week, weight-lifting and practicing at an MMA gym.

"Nobody is going to defeat me because they worked harder than me," said Campos. "That is the worst way to lose a fight. If they win, it's because they have more natural talent."

Campos believes his work ethic is an important factor to his success, having a record of four wins, zero draws and zero losses. He said he adapted his mature mind-frame from his mother growing up.

"I get my work ethic from my mom," he explained. "Watching her be a single mother of three kids, I knew how hard she was working. When she wasn't home, I felt like I had to fill the spot of a responsible adult. My twin brother was always up to his shenanigans and my sister was just the girl."

Campos' family is his foundation. Without having grown up with his siblings to take care of and mother to look up to; without his son to make proud and the support of his wife, he said would not be the same person he is today.

"I just want to be successful for my family," said Campos. "I want my son to grow up and look back at the things I had done and be proud of me. My wife didn't used to support my fighting, but she's okay with it now and it really helps having her support. You can be strong on your own, but you will never be as strong without a support system."