From the famed Greg Nelson’s The Academy, Nick “The Natural” Compton is currently the Driller Promotions Featherweight champion. Coming off of a 5 round split decision in September over Matt Veal to win the title. He’s currently injured and was forced to miss his January 11th fight but should be back in the cage soon!
Fighting out of Minnesota and Greg Nelson’s The Academy, can you tell the fans a little about yourself and what made you want to first get into the cage 3 years ago for the first time? Was there any one fight or fighter that you saw and made you just know that is exactly where you want to be?
Compton: I first saw the UFC when I was 13, I remember renting the VHS from blockbuster. I didn’t know what to think but I was curious to watch it. Royce Gracie quickly became my favorite fighter due to how much smaller he was than most the competition on that night. As I was a smaller kid for my age it was awesome to see him have such success with BJJ. I continued to follow the sport from that point on.
Fighting out of The Academy with veterans like Sean Sherk, Dave Menne, Pat Barry, Jacob Volkmann and even at one time Brock Lesnar comes with some expectations. But I’m sure it also comes as a great learning tool. What’s it like being around so many guys that have made it and what have you learned from them? Is that a driving factor in training there knowing that you can make it to the top and the main stage seeing guys around you that already have?
Compton: I started with David Menne at his gym known as the Northway Gym, it was a small but full of great fighters and it was a fighters gym to the core. I was lucky to have found such a high level place to start my MMA career.
Back in September, you defeated Matt Veal for the Driller Promotions Featherweight title in a five round war. Ending in a split-decision and your hand raised. What was that moment like when they said and new champion… Nick Compton? Can you walk us through your thoughts on that fight and is there a rematch coming since it was a close fight?
Compton: Honestly, I watched the fight a number of times and come back with the same conclusion that I won at least 3 rounds for sure. When They said split decision I was suprised. I don’t intend on a rematch. I’m ready for new challenges at this point.
Your last loss was to Bobby Cooper via decision over a year ago. Since then you’ve gotten two straight wins (including the championship). What did you learn from that loss and do to make yourself a better fighter?
Compton: I took the Cooper fight on a weeks notice because it was a oppertunity I could not pass up. It was Cooper’s first time coming down from 170 and his size and reach played a big factor in the fight. I believe the experience of fighting on a Bigger show really helped me in the long run.I also realized I’m a featherweight not a lightweight at the next level.
Most of your wins have come via submission, is the ground and grappling where you are most comfortable?
Compton: Yes, training under Dave Menne for the bulk of my career thus and now the Academy has elevated my game especially in grappling. I have since gained experience pro boxing a couple times as well.
You had been scheduled to face off with undefeated Codie Kahler on January 11th but had to withdraw due to injury. Can you update us on what the injury was and the timetable for recovery? When can we expect you to be back in the cage and facing Codie or the next challenger for your title?
Compton: I hurt my ankle bad enough to force me to withdraw 2 weeks out from the fight. I’m hoping to get back in the gym training light next week. We are exploring A rescheduled date to the Kahler fight and other options as well right now.
As a fighter, what was your most memorable fight and as a fan what is the one fight that either made you love this sport or really stands out as your favorite of all time. If you had your pick, anyone throughout the history of MMA, who would be your dream opponent?
Compton: I would say my fight against Billy Christianson because I took that fight on two weeks notice and that fight was very exciting to be a part of and put me on the MN MMA map I believe. I really enjoyed the Bonnar vs Griffin first TUF final. Both guys wanted it and they left it all in there that night, awesome to watch. My dream opponent is whoever the UFC would give me to fight at 145 right now lol.
Nick, thanks for taking the time. Anyone you’d like to thank (Sponsors)? And where can fans find more info on you or stay up to date with you?
Compton: First Dave Menne for sticking with me early on and seeing something in me, Greg Nelson and my Academy teammates. Sterling Entertainment Group, Currine Fighter, Gamma Labs and my family for there support. (Editor’s Note: Find more and keep up with Nick on Twitter @Nickthenatural1)