Dustin West (1-1) started his professional Mixed Martial Arts career with a bang, escaping an early triangle attempt and then TKO’ing “The Ultimate Fighter: Season 6” cast member Blake Bowman in the first round back in July of 2009. The first round TKO was just the first step in the evolution of West’s MMA career.

West made the transition to Las Vegas and settled in at the International MMA Fight Club under the tutelage of Muay Thai great, Mark “The Hyena” Beecher.

West’s training and resolve would be tested in his second trip to the cage as he found himself in a three round battle with Alan Aeschlimann that he would end up losing via decision. The loss was just a “lesson learned” in the fighter’s career, and just one of many challenges that West has conquered in his life.

West was a stand out football player in high school earning all state honors, before graduating and enlisting into the United States Marine Corps. Following a six year career in the Marines, which included a tour in Iraq, West picked up right where he left off, playing semi-pro football in Nashville, Tennessee. MMA was the next natural progression for West after being a fan for many years.

West recently made the move back home to Nashville, Tennessee, and is currently training with Ed Clay at Nashville MMA. West will be fighting on the upcoming Gameness Fighting Championships card in Nashville on February 20th, and found a few minutes to sit down with us here at Pro MMA Now (prommanow.com):

ProMMAnow.com- Dustin, thanks for taking some time to talk to us at ProMMAnow.com. You recently transitioned back to Nashville following a stint out in Vegas right?

Dustin West- Yes sir. I spent close to two years in Las Vegas and just this last December made the transition back home to Nashville.

ProMMAnow.com- I know you trained with Mark Beecher while out in Vegas, how much did he add to your overall game, and what was it like training with him?

Dustin West- Training with Mark was great. He really taught me what it meant to train hard, so that when I stepped into a cage or a ring, it nowhere near compared to what he had put my body and mind through in the gym. I was completely new to mixed martial arts when I met Mark, but he was able to take my natural strengths and build a good MMA foundation.

ProMMAnow.com- Fans will be seeing you on the upcoming Gameness card in February, update everyone on where and who you are training with now.

Dustin West- Absolutely! I’m really excited about my new gym. I’m training full time at Nashville MMA with Ed Clay, Shawn Hammonds and Ray Casias. As well as, a great group of training partners that should get credit for everything they have taught me too.

ProMMAnow.com- You are 1-1 as a pro, and after a high profile TKO victory over TUF cast member Blake Bowman, you lost your second fight after going 3 tough rounds. What did you learn from your first loss?

Dustin West- It is what it is, you know? I didn’t really beat myself up over it, like I thought I would. Obviously, I was disappointed that the outcome wasn’t different, but I just took it as a lesson learned. I was honest with myself on what I did wrong to lose the decision, but also, what my opponent did right to win the decision. It opened my eyes to some things I needed to work on and I’ve taken the first big step to correcting them…I came to Nashville and starting training with Ed.

ProMMAnow.com- I know fighting is your life, but what is something that we may find surprising that you like to do when your aren’t in the gym?

Dustin West- I knit, I cook, I love chic flicks…(laughing). That’s what the readers wanted to hear right? Seriously, I’m pretty simple. I like to read a book when I’m relaxing at home and I enjoy hanging out with my close friends. I have the same core group of friends that I have had since high school and I really enjoy hanging out with them. During the Fall, it’s all about football, NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL!

ProMMAnow.com- Alright Marine, you and I have something in common… as both of us are former Marines. First off Semper Fi, devil dog! Secondly, what did your experience in the Marine Corps mean to you?

Dustin West- It’s hard to put into words what being a Marine means. You have to be one to understand it. “Semper Fi till I die” is not just a slogan, it’s the truth. Once a Marine, always a Marine. The Corp taught me honor, courage and commitment and I try to live by those words everyday.

ProMMAnow.com- I know you played football back in the day, who do you have winning the superbowl? Please don’t say the Vikings!! LOL!

Dustin West- Gonna have to go with the Colts. They have too many weapons and one hell of a quarterback. It’s hard to bet against Manning.

ProMMAnow.com- What can we expect from Dustin in 2010?

Dustin West- Hopefully big things are coming in ’10. I moved back to Nashville for a reason and that’s to make some noise this year. My trainers and manager have a plan for me and as long as I train hard and continue to give this sport everything I’ve got, then this could be my year.

ProMMAnow.com- Here’s one totally random, for you… If you could fight any celebrity who would it be and why?

Dustin West- ESPN college football analyst, Mark May! That man talks more trash about my Irish than anyone in the world. Can anyone put that fight together for me?

ProMMAnow.com- Thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at ProMMA.info, are there any sponsors you’d like to thank, or any shoutouts you’d like to send out?

Dustin West- Yeah, I have to take this opportunity to thank the guys in Vegas who put so much time in with me and really taught me so much about being a fighter and how to represent the sport in and out of the cage. Mark Beecher, Bobby Chiodini and Bryan Humes..Thank you! My manager, Jeff Hobbs, he knows how much I appreciate all the hard work he puts in. This has been one hell of a journey we’ve been on and we’re not done yet! Nashville MMA, Ed Clay, I have already learned so much from you. You’re honest generosity and hospitality has been great. I’ve never met a trainer that cares about his fighters and this sport as much as you do. Last but not least, my friends, fans and hometown. You guys are getting more famous locally than I am (laughing). Cheatham County, TN shows up when I need them. I am proud of where I come from!

For more information about Dustin, check out his official website, and for those of you who haven’t seen Dustin fight, here is a video of his TKO victory over Blake Bowman:

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