After injury and loss, Josh Altum continues toward his goal of becoming an Ultimate Fighting Champion.
Altum, 22, is a mixed martial artist and Texas City native. Altum has been training in combat sports at Texas Striking Academy in La Marque for nearly 10 years and has just recently started a long journey to become a professional fighter.
He recently began his pursuit to the UFC in 2017 with his first professional fight against Zikica Krsmanovic, where he won in 33 seconds.
In 2018, Altum won two more professional fights against Maicon Moraes and B.J. Young, bringing him to a winning record of 3-0. With an undefeated record, he was motivated and excited for his future ahead.
“It was really hard to find a fourth fight,” Altum said. “People legitimately did not want to fight me.”
After a few months, Altum and his trainer, Joel Rivera, finally found a fight June 8 against Jess Martinez in New Mexico.
He ultimately lost by decision, bringing his record to 3-1.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “I can see the mistakes I made right in front of me, and I just have to just train harder to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
The loss sets Altum back on his journey of joining the UFC but does not change his ultimate goal.
“I will be in the UFC by the end of next year,” he said. “I need about four more professional wins.”
Although winning matches is the most important part of becoming a professional mixed martial artist, Altum has gained much more than skills and trophies.
Learning to fight and being a part of a family of people with similar goals has taught Altum discipline and character, two skills he did not possess as an adolescent, he said.
“I remember what my life was before because it was so different from now,” Altum said. “This really got me away from stupid stuff I was doing as a teenager.”
Now, he can’t imagine his life any differently.
“This gave me a purpose, a goal in life,” Altum said. “My life would be 100 percent different, and I’m so glad I chose this path.”
To be successful, Altum knows the importance of keeping a clear mindset and staying consistent, even if it impedes on a social life.
“This has become my life,” he said. “When I’m not training or with my family I don’t feel like I’m doing what I should.”
Rivera is the owner of Texas Striking Academy and has been training Altum through his years of fighting while being a major support through the process. Every minute of training has led to Altum’s pursuit of becoming a professional mixed martial artist.
Mixed martial arts is a full-contact sport that uses techniques from various combat sports and martial arts. It is a sport in discipline and strength that requires years of training.
With the help of Rivera and several different coaches, Altum has become proficient in many fighting styles including, boxing, grappling, wrestling and karate.
Altum spends about six or more hours a day training at Texas Striking Academy as well as CrossFit Undercurrent in Galveston. He also teaches at the academy for supplementary income and more experience.
Altum teaches students of all ages basic techniques and maneuvers in mixed martial arts fighting. The lessons teach students how to perform moves to pin an opponent and to get up from difficult positions.
While Altum prefers fighting to teaching, he enjoys helping people gain some skills.
“It’s cool to see people get better in front of your eyes,” Altum said. “It also helps bring me back to the basics, which are just as important as you get better.”
Although Altum is content with his life, he looks forward to the day where he can do what he loves without having to worry about income or the future.
“It’s what I love to do, and I don’t know what I would do without this,” Altum said. “It is the thing that will help me be able to take care of myself and family one day.”
Altum will search for a fifth fight in late September or early October to reboot his route to the UFC.
“It’s my turn for a home field advantage, so hopefully, they’ll come to me,” he said.