Danis had a smile on his face as he spoke about his passion for Jiu Jitsu. After training for several years, the black belt has seen many positive changes for himself. “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu changed my life as a little kid, and I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to travel all over the world for BJJ. As a martial artist, my life has completely changed. I am the person I am today because of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s all a part of me, the things that I have seen and the things that I have been through.” The 2014 Abu Dhabi Pro champion knows that he has gained so much from the sport.
To an outsider, the tall, fit, lean, blonde-haired and blue-eyed beauty must have it all. However, Aveen has had a journey that was anything but simple.“I suffered severely from depression and alcoholism,” she states, almost as if saying she had the flu or broke her leg. Grace’s infectious and bubbly personality shines through even as she reflects on her darkest times. The athlete moved to New York City from Ireland five years ago and in her early months of adjusting to America, she made sure to party hard and to party often.
Charming and funny, McGeary isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself or others around him. Wisecracks abound and, possessing a subtle sass, he could be a part-time comedian if he chose to. Despite his frightening height and physical stature, he comes off as more of a massive teddy bear than a professional fighter. His loss of the belt to Phil Davis is the only stain on an otherwise perfect record. With 13 fights altogether, McGeary holds wins over notable opponents such as Tito Ortiz. His last fight against Brett McDermott was stopped in the second round with a win by TKO. Beyond his amiable personality, Liam is tall, lean, and dangerous. He comes to win his fights, not just survive them.
“It seems like a great opportunity for us to have a secure feeling around our jobs,” he says. “It’s not easy being a fighter because so much depends on actually putting the fights together and sometimes things don’t go the way you’d like them to. They’re offering both a monthly salary and the chance for this prize money. The new format made me want to stay, but the guys at WSOF were always very good to me. I have no complaints whatsoever, and I just signed another 4-fight deal.”
Jake Shields has been in the game for a very long time. A black belt under Cesar Gracie and a newer addition to John Danaher’s blue basement-dungeon, the experienced fighter continues to compete at a high level. While some athletes look to hang up the gloves the closer they get to 40, Shields is going strong and training several hours a day at the age of 38.