Jesse and Amy Lennox’ frozen wedding cake went from anniversary tradition to victory meal.
To go along with one year of marriage, the couple had plenty to celebrate this month.
Lennox, who had to forego eating cake due to cutting weight before his latest bout, scored a major victory in his mixed martial arts career. He notched a technical knockout out over Brazillian Danillo Villefort in a welterweight fight during the Ultimate Fighting Championship 101: Declaration pay-per-view Aug. 8 in Philadelphia.
“It was a very legitimate win,” said Lennox, who had one fight for World Extreme Cagefighting, considered a Triple-A of MMA. “The guy was a world champion in jujitsu and judo and I’m a world champion in nothing.
“It was a big first accomplishment to win the first one out of the gate, It was a good first impression.”
The Cedar Rapids native trains eight hours a day, preparing for a fight, as a member of Miletich Fighting Systems. A longtime wrestler, who prepped at North-Linn, takes pride in working harder than his opponents. That mentality was evident in his latest triumph.
“At the end of the day, I’m not the most technical fighter. I’m not the most flashy fighter, but I’ll outwork you,” said Lennox, who works as a paramedic and resides in Davenport. “I work full-time then I go to my other full-time job at the gym. Put plenty of hours in the gym and my wife lets me know it.”
His stock is certainly on the rise. More UFC events are likely to be in his future.
“I’m sure he’s going to be around the UFC for quite awhile,” Lennox’ Coach Pat Miletich said. “He’s got the work ethic and the style, the hard-nosed mentality, that he can easily become a world champion eventually. As long as he keeps up the rate that he’s going right now, he definitely can end up winning a title.”
The 27-year-old began training five years ago as a way to remain active and compete, but didn’t have aspirations of a professional MMA career.
It has blossomed and Lennox has built a 15-1 record, which led him to Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center and a crowd of more than 17,100.
Lennox said it was the biggest venue he had ever been in as a fighter or a fan, but he avoided being overwhelmed.
“The biggest thing for me was keeping it all in check,” he said. “You have all these cameras, you have the lights, you got everyone’s put on to make the show flashy, but you have one thing to worry about and that’s the dude on the other side of the cage.”
Lennox had victory in hand when the referee stopped the fight in the third round due to a cut over Villefort’s eye. The pair had split the first two rounds, according to some experts, bur Lennox was in control in the final round when it was stopped.
Miletich said the match went as expected. He praised the showing, especially for a debut and a tough opponent.
“It’s the biggest show there is and the best fighters in the world are there and Jesse performed great,” Miletich said. “I think he fought a smart fight. He out-hustled Villefort. He wore him down.”
The end result made Lennox ecstatic. All the hard work paid dividends.
“After it was all said and done, I looked up in the crowd and saw all the lights and was like, ‘Damn, that’s pretty cool,’” Lennox said. “Everything that just happened, that’s pretty sweet.”
The celebration didn’t last long. Lennox hit the gym the following, training for his next opportunity in a sport where you win and advance up the ranks. He’s waiting for that call to inform him of what lies ahead.
“I want to be one of those guys that’s going to play full-contact wheelchair hockey when I’m 80 years old,” Lennox said. “I started training just for fun and to do something.
“One fight leads to a second fight and it just spiraled to where we are now.”
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