On July 25, Resurrection Fighting Alliance will welcome its newest welterweight to the cage. That man is Josh Cavan, who is set to take on fellow prospect Chris Heatherly in a main-card bout. The fight takes place in Colorado, a place Cavan has called home for the last 16 years. The crowd will undoubtedly be in his favor.

Cavan, currently on a four-fight winning streak, hopes to make a big splash in his debut on AXS TV. Like most fighters, he hopes to one day make his way into the UFC. A former collegiate hockey player, he is accustomed to the stress that competition can bring, but Friday will be just another day at the office.

“You just have to look at it as another fight. There’s going to be bigger venues and smaller venues, televised and not-televised, and I think you really just have to stay humble and look at it as just another fight,” Cavan said on The Fuller Fight Factor LIVE, a radio show hosted by The MMA Corner writer Justin Fuller. “Obviously, I have bigger goals in mind with getting into the UFC, but there’s a process of getting there and I think with this RFA fight, yes, I think there is added pressure, but on the other hand it is just another fight with another opponent. You’ve got to take it like that, I feel.”

His opponent, Heatherly, will be making his second RFA appearance and has only seen defeat one time in 12 professional bouts.

“I know he’s going to be tough. I fight tough guys. I’m glad to say that. The last guy I fought was 5-0 and his previous win before fighting me was against a UFC vet,” Cavan said. “I’ve fought Joe Riggs. I’ve fought tough guys out there, and he’s definitely up there among those guys. I’m not expecting this to be an easy fight whatsoever. I know he’s tough, and I’m going to be ready for it.”

Not many fighters are able to survive without an additional source of income, especially those who have yet to gain fame and fortune in larger promotions, but Cavan knew that if he was going to succeed in this sport he had to be in it all the way.

“I quit my job to pursue this full-time. During the day—it depends on what day it is—I’m training multiple times a day in different disciplines just to stay balanced in every facet of it,” Cavan explained. “If this fight goes to the ground or if it stands up, I just feel comfortable wherever it is.”

When he began training, Cavan immediately fell in love with the fight game. His time in hockey already had him used to the pain and violence, but it was the technical aspect of training which has resonated the most with him.

“I love MMA in general—the striking game, the ground game, the wrestling, everything about it,” he said. “It’s just kind of weird, having a hockey background, that most of my wins are from submissions. You know, you go from grabbing a guy’s jersey to swinging all out in hockey to, okay, now you take a guy down and beating him with a submission or whatever it is.”

His transition was also a unique one. Unlike most athletes who came from a different sport before entering fighting, Cavan did not find fighting so much as fighting found him. After his competitive hockey career ended, he found himself on the coaching staff of a high school team as the strength and conditioning coach and the offensive coach.

“We would drive down from practice to the MMA gym, which had weights in it and stuff like that. So that’s where I would do the actual conditioning with the guys,” Cavan explained. “So, I take some classes here and there and stuff, and it’s just kind of funny that one day I was going in to go lift, because we won the state championship and were headed up to the national championships, and these guys just walk into the gym and start beating each other up. I walk up to them and say, ‘Hey, I’m Josh. Can I train with you guys today?’ Twenty minutes later, I’m bleeding out of my mouth, my nose, with a huge smile on my face. Man, that was a blast. Thanks, guys!”

It wasn’t long before he was committed to training and already getting ready to make his amateur debut.

“We’re at the national championships getting ready to play in the semifinal game, and I get a call from my coach saying, ‘Hey, I’ve gotta fight for you in six weeks.’ I was like, ‘What?’ I just started freaking out just like, ‘Am I going to be ready for this?’ Came back home, started training and had my amateur debut.”

Being a full-time fighter and pursuing your dream in an unconventional career has its own set of challenges. Cavan has to deal with critics and skeptics in his life. Although MMA is closer to the mainstream today than it was five years ago, the concept of being a full-time professional fighter still seems to baffle some.

“I quit my job to pursue fighting, and because I’ve opened up more hours out of my day, that’s going to be used towards work. It kind of drives me crazy [when people ask], ‘How’s being unemployed?’ No, it’s self-employed. Different term, everybody,” Cavan said. “You spend a day in my shoes—I train two to three times a day, and I use a lot of that time to be training, and when I’m not, I’m eating healthy and taking a nap and recovering, letting my body heal, spending that extra time going to my chiropractor or getting a massage or whatever.”

Cavan doesn’t let all that training overwhelm him, though. Just like anyone else, he has to find time to decompress. His weapon of choice? You guessed it: video games.

“If we’re deep in fight camp like this, it’s all video games. It’s all Xbox,” Cavan said with a hint of humor in his voice. “It’s a great stress reliever and time waster.”

Some would say having supportive friends and family is a key to success. Leaving his career in the finance world behind to become a prize fighter definitely took its toll on some of Cavan’s relationships, but it also let him know who his real friends were. It also gave him the clarity to focus on what’s important.

“The mental stress, the weight cutting—the list goes on,” he said. “That’s part of the reason why this sport’s going and it’s so exciting, because more and more people are understanding how hard it is and how hard of a process it is. It’s still kind of funny talking to someone who doesn’t understand it.

“I was actually working full-time in finance. So I would come to work with a certain tie and then have a black eye or busted lip or something like that, and it definitely made for some funny times.”

If the scene sounds like it came from the movie Fight Club, that wouldn’t be far off. When Cavan first started competing in MMA, there were days when he would show up to work a little more than banged and bruised up. However, he looks back on those moments as key to getting to where he is now.

“I have a picture I took a while ago when I was working in a cubicle, and it was pretty funny because I’m just sitting there in a shirt and tie with a huge black eye,” said Cavan. “It’s kind of cool because I actually made some good relationships with people in the financial world and some of my top clients when I worked there would fly across the country to come see me fight and stuff like that, too, so it was pretty cool.”

The support he got from his higher-ups and top clients continues to this day, and it’s a contributing factor in his success thus far. If someone didn’t get it, or like it, then it doesn’t matter to him.

“People either got it or they didn’t, especially in the financial world. I had some people I worked with who didn’t understand it and they kind of poo-pooed it, but I had some people who were there in upper management and they would buy VIP tables and bring some of their clients and they loved it, and those clients actually bought a table for this next fight.”

About The Author

Justin Fuller
Associate Editor/Senior Writer

Justin Fuller is a writer, broadcaster, and political analyst. With a background in sports talk radio, he now runs his own podcast, "The Fuller Fight Factor LIVE."