It will be Greg Desrochers’ one-year anniversary away from the confines of the octagon when he steps foot back onto the ACE Fighting Championship canvas at ACE 6 on Nov. 11. Last year he felt the wrap of the 170-lb championship belt after executing Jonny Tello in the first round with a stunning knockout victory.
He capped the victory with an intense post-fight quote – ‘I was willing to die in the octagon tonight.’
But despite the welterweight’s sensationalism post-victory, nothing less should have been expected of him. He finished his opponent clean within one round and was about to embark on a long and hard fought dream: finally becoming a professional fighter.
“I fight every day. Every sparring session, every time I grapple, that’s a fight in my mind,” said Desrochers. “The only difference is when there’s a crowd there. I’ve known how to fight my entire life and honestly, it’s just another day in the office.”
Unfortunately for Desrochers, finding an opponent for his professional debut was not as seamless as he has hoped. Although he spent the last year training rigorously while attaching faith to the fact that a potential professional debut would emerge, that ended up not being the case.
“My coach tells me who to fight and I just go in and fight,” says Desrochers. “[Dan Hale] always has my best interest at heart. And we were looking for a pro fight, but Canada feels really dry right now. I kind of just thought instead of sitting on the sidelines I would fight one more amateur and try to go pro from there.”
Luckily for Desrochers, even though he shed his need to fight at the grassroots level a year before an amateur welterweight champion; the grassroots level was not done with him.
Upon his return to the amateur sector, the Academix prospect will be taking on the ever gritty and talented youngster, Ergys Sigeta. The matchup screams fireworks as it hosts two men unique in their own styles.
Desrochers understands that as he is preparing for all scenarios. He is a man fully dedicated to improvement while also staying true to his own game.
“I’m just going to go in there and have fun and do my thing, play my game,” said Desrochers. “If I worry too much about what he’s going to do then I’m not doing my game. As long as I go in there and stand in the middle – I know he’s going to try and take me down and pressure me – but he’s got to get close to me first.”
Along the way it has been head coach and close friend, Dan Hale who has guided Desrochers from his Breaking Point days to the re-brand of the facility to what it is today – Academix. The welterweight recites gratitude when speaking of his head coach, believing their partnership is a rare one.
“Since day 1 [Hale has been with me] ,” said Desrochers. “He was the first coach I ever had and he kind of took me under his wing and honestly, I trust him with my life. He hasn’t guided me in the wrong direction and he’s very intelligent in MMA, so I just follow his lead.”
Whether the two men will be making the walk to Desrochers first professional debut or through the maniacal crowd at Nashville North on November 11th, his unrelented gratitude stands.
“I look up to him a lot. Whatever he says goes. Whoever he tells me to fight, I fight,” said Desrochers. “Not only is he my coach but he is also my best friend and not a lot of people can say that. I’m blessed to be able to say that.”
This article is a part of ACE Fighting Championship’s special “Spotlight Series” that will look to explore the GTA’s best amateurs and their respective MMA facilities as they ready for ACE 6 on Nov. 11 . You can also experience the event live in person at Nashville North in Georgetown and you can get your tickets at acefights.com.