Failure always has a way of bringing future success if one chooses to embrace their setbacks. Turning a negative into a positive 1 minute 17 seconds in the first round is all it would take for Ben Egli to become the new King of the Cage champion.
Since his professional debut in 2013, Egli has been on a mission to cement himself as a dominant force in the Northwest fight scene. His talent definitely drives his mission, as records show off his three-year undefeated streak, finishing all of his opponents in the first round.
Unfortunately, not all good things last forever. In March of 2016, Egli would suffer the first loss of his career by unanimous decision to EJ Brooks at Titan FC 37, bringing his unbeaten reign to an end. Tasting the agony of defeat was a tough pill to swallow for Ben Egli. However, positives would also arise out of this tough ordeal.
“My biggest downfall was I didn’t stick to my game plan, and played into my opponent’s game plan,” Egli said. “The loss was negative in that I will forever have at least 1 loss on my record, I let my training partners and friends and family down, but the loss motivated me in a very positive way to do even better. I was back in the gym the following Monday with stitches over my eye and a very sore foot.
“Even a few days after the loss I was waiting to see if I was going to have a mental breakdown or something, but I just became more focused, motivated, and a little meaner.”
With the first loss on his resume and no fights on the horizon, the series of misfortune didn’t stop this ambitious competitor. With the desire to improve Egli continued his daily routine of perfecting his striking skills, teaching his students, and continuing his path to becoming a BJJ black belt. For Egli, it is that motivation that allows him to improve as a martial artist and also prepares him for his next battle in the cage.
“Not getting the fights I want or need was super frustrating, but what keeps me going is the desire to improve as a martial artist. I am constantly training to be ready for any opponent, but I really train so that I can beat the old Ben Egli to death.”
He wouldn’t have to wait on the sidelines for long as a golden opportunity would arise for the Oregon native. Impressed with his past fight work, a dream call from King of the Cage Federation put Egli on the frontline to compete for the KOTC Welterweight Championship. Egli’s daily training routine immediately intensified in preparation for the title bout. From his strength and conditioning to the added assistance of Dan Burke at Burke Muay Thai, Egli was determined to come out on victorious.
“Fighting for a title, especially in a big, well-established promotion like KOTC could be life changing,” he said. “Being a champion in the organization obviously brings glory, and also for me it should mean steady work. I had 11 weeks to train for this fight. I know that I did a great job and that I was in the best shape of my life so that I would be ready for a 5 round fight.”
The eleven-week training camp was showcased in the championship match against Aaron Hedrick at KOTC – High Caliber. Hedrick got a slight advantage seconds into the round with a kick to Egli’s knee which left his foot numb throughout the encounter. Pressing forward, a slight error allowed Egli to capitalize with a high knee, leaving a cut above Hedrick’s eye. From there the fight would swing in Egli’s favor as he closed range, punishing his opponent with vicious strikes followed by a wrestling snap down. Following through this tactic allowed Egli to finish his opponent with his trademark guillotine submission hold, forcing Hedrick to tap at 1:17 in the first round. Ben Egli was crowned the new KOTC Welterweight Champion.
“Winning a fight is the most satisfying feeling in the whole world, after weeks of pain, suffering, and weight cutting to get your reward.”
Winning the title is a huge stepping stone in the career of Ben Egli. As the new KOTC champion, Egli looks forward to demonstrating why he owns the belt and continuing to push himself to reach his maximum potential.