Nick Honstein has finally found a home at flyweight. After years of competing in MMA at higher weight classes and taking his lumps, he is ready to break out.

With consecutive first-round submission victories under his belt, Honstein is now set to face Sean Santella for the Cage Fury Fighting Championships flyweight title on Saturday, April 19, in Morristown, N.J.

Honstein (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

Honstein (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

Santella is coming into this fight riding a five-fight winning streak, but Honstein is confident in his preparation for this bout and feels he has the edge going in.

“The camp has been great,” Honstein told The MMA Corner. “I’ve treated this camp the same as any other opponent or any fight before, just a very specific regimen that they have us at Factory X. We train BJJ a few times a week, Muay Thai a couple times a week, wrestling once a week, mixed in with some CrossFit and some cardio.

“But specifically for this opponent, I’ve been working a lot of wrestling. I feel like that is where I’m going to have the edge in this fight. I know that he’s a real slick BJJ player, and I consider myself a real slick BJJ player as well, but to get the edge I’m going to use my wrestling on this one. I’ve worked with Joe Warren, and I’ve been lucky enough to have him as a teammate as he is preparing to fight for the Bellator title next month. We’ve been working together and I’ve learned a lot from him.”

Warren’s vast experience, both in MMA and in international wrestling competition, has been a huge factor in Honstein’s growth as a fighter.

“I’ve learned a lot from him. Not just basic wrestling, but the head game,” Honstein said. “His whole approach on how he convinces himself that he’s the baddest man on the planet. They don’t call him ‘the baddest man on the planet,’ they call him ‘the self-recognized baddest man on the planet,’ and it’s true. He gives himself that name and he hypes himself up. He is a very humble guy when you train with him, but he fires himself up in a way and convinces himself that it’s him or the other guy every single fight. He’s got to pull the trigger as soon as he can and take that guy out or he loses his job and loses food for his family. He has been helping me with the same kind of head game, helping me realize my full potential.”

Although Honstein is working to grow his confidence, remaining humble is key to his continued growth as a fighter.

“Being humble is very important for me. I’ve found that at practice it’s important to be humble and learn to realize how little you know about the game,” Honstein revealed. “But when it comes time to compete, then it’s all about knowing you are the best and proving you are the best. It takes the ability to be humble when you are getting beat up in practice to know you are the best because you have been through that. I’ll be honest, I train against people way tougher than my opponent, and that’s why I train at the gym I train at. That’s why I choose the teammates that I train with. I train with very high-level fighters at heavier weight classes, and there’s always someone who is better at Muay Thai, always someone that’s better at wrestling and always someone that’s better at BJJ. But when you wrap all of that together in the MMA atmosphere at the flyweight division, I 100 percent believe that I’m the best in the world. And I’ll prove that on Saturday.”

In addition to being humble, fighters need to be pushed to the limit on a daily basis in order to grow. It is difficult to reach new heights if someone isn’t being challenged. That is why elite fighters gravitate to elite gyms.

Honstein (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

Honstein (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

“I was the best guy in the last gym I was training at,” Honstein said. “I loved my gym, I loved training there and I loved working there, but it wasn’t really a pro gym. It was a bunch of amateurs and I got to walk around and be the best, and I learned it doesn’t work that way.

“If you’re not getting beat or challenged constantly, then you are not improving. It’s a pretty simple equation: if you are not challenging yourself to the point where you have to make adjustments, find out what you are doing wrong and expose holes in your game, then you are not training to your full potential. At Factory X, I get those things.”

With the backing of a great team and training partners, Honstein isn’t just ready to break out. He is ready to dominate the competition and take the flyweight division by storm.

“I’ve come a long ways. I’ve worked out a lot of kinks, and I’ve finally landed at the right weight class,” Honstein said. “I have losses all the way up to lightweight and I’ve made my mistakes. I’ve held titles at 145 [pounds] and 135, but I’ve come a long ways and I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my losses and my wins. I’ve finally landed in a division where I don’t feel like I can be beat. I want to continue my winning streak at 125 and show the world that I can be the best.”

At the end of the day, though, fighting is not about winning and losing for Honstein. Fighting is his outlet of expression. His body is his paint brush and his opponent is the canvas.

“I would describe myself as a true martial artist with an emphasis on artist,” Honstein said. “It’s my platform to show exactly my personality through my body movements. It’s just like some kind of weirdo dancer would do an interpretive dance. That’s how I fight. That’s how I express myself. And winning is important. The more I win, the bigger the platform I get to, but that’s really what it’s all about and that’s what it started out for me as, was a way to show off and a way to express myself.

“I know that there [are] a lot of athletes out there, and there are plenty of guys out there who have learned a double leg, side control, kimura. And they use that and they are effective and they are disciplined. They train their body to be a weapon, and that’s what they do. That’s their prerogative. I’m not one to judge that, but I find it boring. Those aren’t the kind of fights I like to watch. I like to see people with flash, a little bit of razzmatazz.”

Nick would like to thank Kru Marc Montoya. He would also like to thank his wife, who’s having a baby this week. He would also like to thank Joe Warren for helping him out and all of his other teammates at Factory X. Follow Honstein on Twitter: @NickHonstein

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.