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Former Fort Bragg soldier is rising star in Mixed Martial Arts

James Quigg kicked off his MMA career as an amateur in 2013 while stationed at Fort Bragg.

COURTESY PHOTO/U.S. ARMY

By SAMMY BATTEN | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. (Tribune News Service) | Published: April 23, 2017

James Quigg was once told he wasn’t good enough to be a collegiate wrestler. So, instead, Quigg has become a rising star in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

The 29-year-old from Rock Falls, Illinois, is part of a group of up-and-coming professional MMA fighters training out of Fayetteville’s Team Reality of Combat. Quigg is currently 3-0 as a professional in the popular sport that combines aspects of martial arts, boxing and wrestling.

The latter sport is the one Quigg excelled at until being accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

“I had starred in wrestling for eight years in this little steel mill town I grew up in,’’ Quigg said. “When I graduated from high school and went to West Point, they told me I wasn’t good enough to walk on to the wrestling team there.

“That’s when I found out there was a submission grappling mixed martial arts club at the school. So I started doing that.’’

Following graduation from West Point, Quigg spent a year at Fort Knox in Kentucky before being stationed at Fort Bragg where he kicked off his MMA career as an amateur in 2013. Over the next two years, Quigg would put together an impressive resume that included wins at the Virginia Cagefighting Championships and Bull City Brawls in Durham competing in the Bantamweight class. Quigg was so successful that when his active duty commitment to the Army was complete in 2015, he left to pursue a professional MMA career.

“I knew it would be a struggle,’’ Quigg said. “While on active duty I had employment to play my bills while I was training. You don’t have that as a professional MMA fighter at the beginning.’’

Quigg supports himself now working as an insurance underwriter and doing public affairs work for the the U.S. Army Reserve.

He made his professional debut in February 2016 at Augusta, Georgia, where he scored a first-round win against Zac Cooper in the 145-pound weight class. Quigg has since posted two additional victories, the latest occurring April 8 in Manassas Park, Virginia. He needed just two minutes to stop Josh Aguero in the first round.

Quigg is now plotting the next move in what he hopes will eventually lead to a career in one of the major MMA organizations like Bellator or UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

“I want to take this as far as I can take it,’’ Quigg said. “Getting to the championship ranks in one of the recognized organizations is the goal.’’

While he’s between bouts, Quigg is also touting upcoming bouts by his training partners at Team Reality of Combat.

Da’Mon Blackshear, a 22-year-old featherweight with a 2-0 professional record, will participate in WarFareMMA 15 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Marques Daniels (5-5) will meet D’Juan Owens on May 13 in Raleigh as part of the Next Level Fight Club NLFC7 event, while Paris Artis makes his professional debut May 20 in Greensboro during Cage Rage 5. Artis produced a 6-0 mark as an amateur before turning pro.

“I’ll be supporting my teammates in the month of May,’’ Quigg said. “We joked that May is MMA for Team ROC month. But these guys are all great fighters.’’

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©2017 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Visit The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) at www.fayobserver.com

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