Greg Velasco didn't always know he would end up being a professional mixed martial artist, but he was certainly aware of the sport.
"I was a huge fan," Velasco said. "I loved it. I used to watch PRIDE, Strikeforce, the UFC when it first started. I was a huge, huge fan of all that back in the day."
The 6-foot-2 heavyweight didn't immediately start in the sport. Instead, football was his initial pursuit. However, he started wrestling in high school, and that ultimately took his path in a different direction.
"I was going to be stuck between either going to play football, D-I, or wrestling, and I ended up deciding to wrestle," Velasco said. "After that, I just always loved boxing, so then I was like, 'Well, why don't I just do both and get into mixed martial arts?'"
That meant adding striking skills to his arsenal, and Velasco took that challenge to the extreme. Ever the competitor, he ended up taking 27 amateur muay Thai fights.
"That's what my coach first started me on, and I fell in love with it, so I really stuck with it for a while," Velasco said.
Still, Velasco never lost sight of his ultimate goal, which was to make the move to MMA. "The Viking King" made his pro debut in May 2021 and has since rattled off three wins, all under the CFFC banner.
Velasco has been pleased with his results but admits he's always looking to improve.
"So far, I've been pretty happy," Velasco said. "My second fight, I didn't really have the greatest performance on my end, but we still got the job done, so I wasn't really too upset. My last one, I felt like it was a pretty good showing, and I was just trying to make sure I kept the basics tight and everything strong, listen to my coaches."
Velasco (3-0) gets his next assignment at Friday's CFFC 107, where he takes on Edwin Smart (3-3) in a featured matchup at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City that streams live on UFC Fight Pass.
While Smart has had mixed results thus far in his own professional run, Velasco said he's not taking anything for granted.
"I know he's very well-rounded and a tough guy," Velasco said. "He's fought a couple of big names, and he's had some good showings. I know he's been in the game a while, a little longer than me, but I respect him. He comes from a really tough camp, but I'm just looking forward to a good fight."
If he's able to move to 4-0, especially with another stoppage to his name, bigger opportunities will certainly follow, whether it be under the CFFC banner or perhaps one of the sport's top promotions. Velasco said he's comfortable either way. His dream doesn't have a timeline – Velasco just wants to make sure he's a refined product when he makes the big show.
"I would love to take a more developmental path and take my time and make it to the show," Velasco said. "Of course that's the goal, to be a world champ at the biggest show, but definitely taking it step-by-step, fight-by-fight. If we get a good deal or a contract and it's the right time, it's the right time, otherwise I'll take my time with CFFC. I love the show and I'm always here for it."
Velasco will get his time to shine Friday night, and if his previous performances are any indication, he's sure to deliver heavy on entertainment value.
"My goal is always to get a finish, so whenever I can in the cage, take the least amount of damage and put on a show for you guys, that's what I'm always trying to do," Velasco said.
This story first published at CFFC.tv.