Many fighters, including Lyoto Machida, Frank Mir and most of the original Gracies, just to name a few, began their martial arts training under the guidance of their fathers.  Colorado native Adam Stroup is no different.  His father, Greg, got him into martial arts at a young age.

From the mid-90’s through late summer of 2010, Stroup took martial arts classes on and off with Progressive Martial Arts (PMA) in the Denver area. Then, in 2010, Stroup decided to focus on his primary interest in MMA as a sport, so he left PMA and began training at Factory X Muay Thai in Littleton, Colo.

“I train with the Camozzi brothers, Nick Macias, Chase Hackett, Chris Holland and all the guys at Factory X,” Stroup said in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner.

Under the guidance of Kru Marc Montoya, Stroup was able to build upon his previous training and excelled immediately.  With the type of work ethic that creates legends, he was able to earn his first amateur shot in the ring in Jan. 2011.

Stroup (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Despite the fact that he has a strong striking game, Stroup finished his first fight with a first-round submission.  Following that trend, he took on three more opponents over the course of the next nine months, finishing all of his opponents by first- or second-round submission.  At 6-foot-3 in the middleweight division, Stroup’s rangy build, while giving him a clear advantage in striking, also proved to be an asset on the ground.

By Feb. 2012, after competing for only a year and compiling a 4-0 amateur record, Stroup earned his first professional fight against T.J. Nunnaley, who had a three-and-a-half-year experience advantage.  The fight did not go as quickly as his previous challenges, but Stroup did earn a third-round submission, beginning his professional career just as he did his amateur run.

Stroup next fought Todd Meredith, also of the Denver area, in his toughest battle yet.  Both fighters battered each other for three full rounds, and Stroup was handed his first loss, by decision.  He suffered a broken right hand and was sidelined from training for a few months, but he was back in the saddle as quickly as possible.  The loss to Meredith was a learning experience.

“More than anything, I learned that I can take a big shot,” Stroup said.  “I took a couple big shots to the chin, and I was able to keep going.  I also went the full fifteen.  I had never gone the full fifteen before.  It was rough, but I know I could do it again if I had to.”

While his iron chin and slick submission game are great assets to have, Stroup also learned that he needed to work on many other aspects of the sport, especially his cardio.

“I’m working a lot of conditioning, putting in a lot of road work, more than I ever have before,” Stroup explained.  “I’m putting in a lot of miles.  I’m trying to get my lungs nice and strong for the late rounds.  I’m always working the striking, always working the ground game, just adding in the cardio.”

Cardio is definitely a fighter’s best friend, and Stroup found that out the hard way in both of his professional bouts.  Both bouts went to the third round, and both times he felt winded, but all that is changing in preparation for his next fight.

In Sept. 2011, two smaller promoters in the Denver area combined forces to create the Sparta Combat League (SCL).  This Friday, Nov. 9, at Red and Jerry’s in Englewood, Colo., SCL will be hosting it’s next event, SCL: Gladiators, with Stroup on the main card.

Stroup was originally set to fight Forrest Clouse, a BJJ-heavy fighter out of Colorado Springs who posed a big challenge for Stroup, but Clouse had to pull out with an injury.  That injury was disappointing, but it didn’t spoil Stroup’s plans for his new opponent, Steven Lee Jr.

“It happens.  It’s part of the sport,” Stroup admitted.  “Forrest Clouse would have been my first fight where my opponent was taller than me.  He’s pretty tall for the weight class.  Things happen.  I’m just happy and hoping this fight goes through.  I just want to get fighting.”

Stroup’s new opponent, Lee, is a stocky middleweight, and, at 5-foot-10, is five inches shorter than Stroup.

“From what I’ve seen, he looks like a pretty thick dude,” Stroup stated.  “It looks like he’s going to throw some bombs.  He looks like a tough guy.  I don’t know too much about him.  I’m taller and longer.  Definitely my ground game is an advantage.  I feel that my advantage is anywhere the fight goes for this one.”

Stroup is feeling very confident for his third pro fight, no matter who his opponent is.

“I feel good about the match-up,” Stroup explained.  “I’ve been working real hard for this since July, getting back in shape to get another fight.  I feel good about any match-up.  I’m just going to come out there and do my thing.”

And, what is his “thing”?

“I would like to finish this thing in the first or second round, either by submission or TKO,” Stroup stated.  “I really don’t want it to go to the third round.”

Stroup is now training full-time as a professional fighter, less than a year into his professional fighting career.  He is a dedicated athlete that loves to fight, and that is pretty much all he focuses on.

“I don’t really know what’s next,” Stroup said.  “I don’t know if I’ll be able to squeeze another one in before the year’s over.  It depends on how healthy I am.  I just want to stay busy and keep fighting.”

Stroup (L) looks for a flying knee (Paul Kincaid/Sanskirt Photography)

Stroup’s aspirations for the future aren’t much different.

“I’d like to just keep fighting and make enough money to live my life,” he admitted.  “I don’t really care if I make a big show right off the bat.  I just want to be healthy, still fighting, still improving.  And I can’t wait to just be able to support myself.”

Stroup presents the mark of a true professional.  He never mentions fighting to buy a Bentley or a million-dollar home.  He just wants to do what he loves and make enough money to get by.  Money’s not the most important thing.  Fighting is.

Outside of training, Stroup’s life is fairly uneventful.

“I’m just at home relaxing,” he explained.  “I don’t really have time for too much else.  I just go back to the house and relax a little while until we go back to the gym.”

The humble, focused fighter does want MMA fans to know a few things about him.

“I’m just a hard-working dude,” Stroup said.  “I put it all out there.  I always show up.  Come watch me and support.  Come watch my fights.  I’m going to go hard and I’m going to leave it all out there.”

And leave it all out there, he will.  Stroup always comes to throw down and he never disappoints.  With five first- or second-round submission victories and his only loss coming after a three-round war, he always makes sure the fireworks fly.  On Nov. 9, he will be sure to put on another great show on the path to bigger and better things.

Adam would like to thank his coaches: Marc Montoya, J.J. Pugsley, Andres Hermida and Wade Brinkman, as well as all of his teammates at Factory X Muay Thai.  He would also like to thank his sponsors: Performance MMA, 5280 Armory, Ride the West RV, Rome’s Saloon, Marlee Liquors and Lowsa Electrical.

Top Photo: Adam Stroup (center) after a win (Factory X Muay Thai)

About The Author

Dan Kuhl
Interview Coordinator