Everyone fights for different reasons. For some, it’s the glory. For some, it’s the money. Some fight because they don’t know any other life. There could be a multitude of reasons, but whatever gets you to the gym, right?

For 37-year-old heavyweight Josh “The Freight Train” Diekmann, the answer wasn’t really obvious for why he keeps doing his weekly commutes from Connecticut to Boston to get some work in at coach Mark DellaGrotte’s Sityodtong gym. When most other men his age get off work, they go back to their families and watch American Idol. When Diekmann’s work day is over, it’s off to lift weights with the guys or get some rounds in. Mason to fighter—one tough job to another.

Diekmann (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Diekmann (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“When I started fighting, I think I did it to prove to other people that I could,” Diekmann admitted to The MMA Corner. “Then, once I kept doing it, 20 fights later, I think I do it to prove to myself.”

Prove what, though? After almost 10 years of fighting professionally with a record of 14-5, Diekmann has certainly felt that his addiction to training and competing has had negative effects on his personal life.

“You don’t see the people you care about all the time,” he explained. “Your relationships suffer almost to a point that they’re nonexistent.”

Diekmann confessed that it’s a tough task justifying all the time spent away from home.

“People don’t understand that you show up at the fight, and it’s the last 15 minutes of nine, 10 weeks of hard work. They don’t see all the car rides,” he said.

Yet at the same time, Diekmann’s relationships with his teammates are largely what drive him to stay motivated and keep making sacrifices. He considers them family.

“I’ve known these guys for years,” said Diekmann. “It’s like they’re my brothers. I like this. This is what we do. This is the best time, at the gym or in the locker room before the fights.

“You win together. You lose together. Everybody says it’s an individual sport; it’s not. You may compete by yourself, but you don’t, because your guys are there and the rest of your buddies are in the crowd.”

The validation for the Connecticut native is not only the fight purse, the win on the record and the chance to compete, but also performing in front of all those friends and family who don’t really get why their pal is such a maniac.

Diekmann (L) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Diekmann (L) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

It was especially disappointing for Diekmann and his fans when his last fight ended in a no-contest after an accidental eye poke. His opponent, Manny Lara, had to be assisted out of the cage by his coaches at Bellator 110. It was an odd sight considering the two had barely exchanged for only 18 seconds into the first round.

“I don’t know. I try not to judge,” said Diekmann. “I’d like to think he wasn’t a total bullshitter, but I don’t know. It’s hard to say. It’s not like I did anything to make him [limp]. I kicked him once. Maybe that’s why he was limping, but that’s not enough to make you want out of a fight. If so, he should be ashamed of himself.”

Diekmann is hoping for a better showing this time around when he faces Keith Bell at CES MMA 23, where a number of other Mark DellaGrotte fighters will be competing as well.

After this bout, Diekmann plans on competing again in Bellator, where he has a contract. He’d also love to compete in a tournament if given a chance. However, even if his heart is still in it, it’s only a matter of time before the heavyweight’s body can’t endure anymore.

“I’m no spring chicken,” said Diekmann with a smile on his face.

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.