In the world of MMA, we almost always hear of the hard work and dedication that it took for a fighter to finally arrive to the UFC. We hear of the pain and suffering, and the stories of the countless hours spent in the gym. We’ve come to expect it, and we’ve come to respect it.

But how many times have we heard of those who sacrifice themselves so that these individuals—mixed martial artists—can live out their dreams? We hear of the training partners and coaches that have helped accelerate these athletes’ skill sets and mindsets. While we might hear a mention of “mom and dad” here and there, the average fan never sees what goes on behind the scenes. That is, however, unless the martial artist shares stories of those who’ve helped him become all he set out to be.

Enter UFC’s newest addition to the middleweight division, Tom DeBlass.

A product of the East Coast and the state of New Jersey, DeBlass has never turned a shoulder to the truth. The truth being he would never, ever, have made

DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

it to his current state without the help and motivation of his family. For DeBlass, a major part of his family consists of his parents, grandparents, his students at Ocean County Jiu-Jitsu, and the one who gave him this life, God.

“I love my Nana dearly,” admitted DeBlass in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I was also very close with my Pop, who passed away over a year ago.

“They were one another’s rock. They modeled how to love one another. I try to spend as much time as possible with my Nana now, but it’s difficult at times with my training schedule. She has always worked hard for the family and tried to give all of her grandchildren as much as possible. She’s been through a lot, and I respect her so much for it.”

DeBlass, now a father to an 18-month-old girl, is beginning to see the responsibility and importance of family. With a desire not only to provide for his daughter, Isabelle, but also his students at Ocean County, DeBlass fully understands what it means to put others before himself. Through this, DeBlass has been rewarded beyond measure.

DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“I think the most rewarding part of teaching is simply seeing people and individuals accomplish their goals. I love being a part of someone’s life and celebrating their accomplishments,” said DeBlass. “Even if I had a minor part in it, to know I helped make a difference is very rewarding.”

DeBlass will look to represent his family and students when he meets Riki Fukuda in his 185-pound debut on Nov. 10 on UFC on Fuel TV 6. This bout comes after DeBlass had to withdraw from a previous engagement against Nick Penner earlier this year due to an injury. As DeBlass approaches his own highly-anticipated middleweight debut, he hopes to shine a light on his family’s sacrifices and his God above.

“I have God to thank for everything. I’ve never questioned God when things go wrong. I’ve always had faith in him. It’s just something that I believe in dearly. I’m far from perfect, but I try to improve as a person each and every day. Even if people deny Jesus as the Son of God, there is no denying that there was a man named Jesus who was crucified, and while crucified, he stood for what he believed in the whole time,” said DeBlass. “How can you not respect that?”

“I also want to dedicate this fight to my mother and father, my fiancé Delilah, and my daughter Isabelle,” said DeBlass. “Thank you everyone for the support.”

While DeBlass’ occupation consists of fighting for the world’s most elite promotion, his heart lies with his family and students.

Top Photo: Tom DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

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