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Steve Cofield

Dwarf looks to make it as a pro MMA fighter

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

There are some shorter guys fighting in the bantamweight division. And even more may be on the way when WEC adds a 125-pound division, but a dwarf fighting professionally is something we've never seen on the big stage. Tyler Freeland wants to be the first little person to break through and make a living fighting. Just 5-foot tall, Freeland is seen here sparring with MMA blogger Aaron Tru. He looks to have some skills after logging 21 amateur fights.

"Growing up sucked. I'd get picked on and made fun of all my life," said Freeland, who tried wrestling in high school to channel his aggression. Now he's moved to Las Vegas to work on MMA with Shawn Tompkins and his crew at the TapouT Training Center.

Freeland has hypochondroplasia and never got taller than his current height. He shouldn't have problems finding fights down at 145 pounds, but he does face certain challenges. His limited reach makes striking difficult and as you can see in this fight video from 2009, he's especially susceptible to submissions when sitting in someone's guard. On the positive side, he'll be a tough guy to defend the takedown against. Either way, it's a nice story to follow and gives little people a role model.

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