In a special education classroom somewhere in Topeka, Kansas, many of the students are facing court cases, possible jail time and little hope for the future. To say the least, their outlook is seemingly so bleak that even many of the adults in their lives have given up on them. But not Aaron Poston. Then again, Aaron Poston is not your average teacher.

“If you guys ever need anything or want to get something off your chest, come talk to me. I’ll listen,” says Mr. Poston, a six year special education teacher and a former National Guardsmen. According to Poston, many of his students roll their eyes and dismiss him until he shows them a video. The video instantly shifts their focus. With their newly undivided attention he asks rhetorically, “Now do you believe me? I’m not your average teacher.”

At age 33, standing 5’ 9” weighting 155 pounds, Poston is a teacher by day – a fighter by night.

Poston recalled how he got started, “I was just lifting weights and this guy I knew said he had been training MMA and told me to try it out – said I might be pretty good at it,” Poston said. “First day I got thrown in the ring, I got my nose broke.”

Some first day.

A broken nose on the first day would be reason enough to make it a person’s last day but Poston refused to be discouraged. “I don’t consider it a fight unless I get my nose broke,” Poston said quite frankly, “so I didn’t want to take a beating and then quit.” Seven years later, he’s still competing and is scheduled to fight William Joplin at Friday’s Shamrock FC: Charged event that will stream live on GFL.tv.

Poston said he has been studying Joplin to learn some of his “bread and butter” moves. Although Poston feels confident his training will pay off, he is trying not to “psych” himself out too much.

Poston described the emotional roller coaster he rides during the days leading up to the fight: “I can feel like superman one day and on the same day, be drained of all confidence.”

The fighter believes he’s learned to control his emotions and nerves, even though he knows they’ll always be there. “Those nerves don’t control me,” Poston humbly asserted. “I expect to win. I know I can. If I lose, I’ll be upset. But I’m not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself.” Poston says, with a laugh, “The point is to never give up.”

When asked if there’s anybody special that he fights for, Poston paused for a long time. He began to recall all the fundraising and benefit competitions he was involved in, but remembered one in particular. “There was this one time I fought to raise money for this five year old boy suffering from one of the rarest childhood cancers around.”

Part of Poston’s plan was to design fight shirts featuring the boy’s favorite superhero. “When I asked him who his favorite superhero was, he said above all, he likes firefighters because they never give up.”

Poston was blown away by the five-year-old’s answer. He didn’t expect a boy so young and enduring a life-threatening illness to have the maturity to say something so profound.

Poston took the boy’s words and ran with them. He’s been reciting it to himself and the people he works with ever since. “That’s what I think separates me from other fighters, is that ‘never give up’ mentality,” Poston said. “That’s what I preach to the kids I teach and it’s a sort of motto I live by.”

Poston is not a one man show. In fact, he’s rather humble when he extends his gratitude to the many people and organizations that helped him achieved what he has thus far. He gives a huge thanks to his sponsors, Engineering Athletes and Team Legacy Fighting, He also thanks his chiropractor, Dr. Heather Russel, and his teammates, family and friends. Naturally, being the dedicated teacher he is, he thanks his students for all that they have given him.

“I teach them and they teach me: Don’t ever give up, you know?” Poston said. “I keep telling them, ‘I’m not your average teacher.’”