'The Hitman': Hodges pursues UFC dream
Janesville's Floyd Hodges is punching, kicking and wrestling his way up the mixed martial arts ranks with the top-league Ultimate Fighting Championship in mind.
"That is my goal," Hodges said of reaching the UFC. "I have the talent to get there. There have been some key fights that I wound up losing, but I was having some personal problems. I had a bad relationship."
Hodges is past that stage, and "The Hitman" is a popular fighter in the Midwest-based Victory Fighting Championship.
Hodges said the VFC compares to the top-ranked UFC as NFL Europe did to the NFL.
Hodges' next fight is Saturday, June 1, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, S.D. Hodges is scheduled to fight Clint Godfrey in the main event on the VFC card.
He also plans to be in the main event of a card at the Pontiac Convention Center set for September. Hodges will fight well-known area fighter Bill Finn of Evansville in that card.
Hodges, who trains in both Janesville and Minneapolis, is known among his peers for his ultra-aggressive fighting style. Hodges got his start in kickboxing under the guidance of his cousin, Jeremy Hodges, and Craig Monyelle.
The Beloit Memorial High graduate played football, wrestled and ran track for the Purple Knights.
Hodges is 11-6 as a professional after going 9-2 as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter.
The 26-year-old spends the majority of his workout time improving his boxing skills, focusing on Jiu Jitsu. His kickboxing and wrestling backgrounds give him an advantage over opponents when on the mat.
"That's where all my wins come from," Hodges said. "I've been concentrating on (Jiu Jitsu) since I've been fighting more serious people. I'm getting more comfortable with it."
Hodges is fighting in the bantamweight division at 135 pounds. He has fought at the featherweight level (145 pounds). He has no problem staying at the level.
He has always been a fitness advocate and is a co-founder and driving force behind Nutrition4MMA, a nutrition consultant for fighters in the ring and the game of weight management.
Hodges works out four days a week at Fearless MMA at 2128 W. Highway 14 in Janesville and has a full-time job.
He hopes all the training will eventually lead to bigger paydays.