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James Head balancing fighting and engineering heading into UFC on Fuel 2


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James Head (Getty)

In an average day, UFC welterweight James Head will walk his dogs, work for hours for a major gas and oil company, get in a strength and conditioning workout, go back to the desk job, train for several hours, and then cheer on his St. Louis Cardinals before doing it all over again the next day.

Just reading through that schedule is exhausting, but Head, who is facing Papy Abedi at UFC on Fuel 2 Saturday in Sweden, told Cagewriter it's perfect because he never gets bored.

"It's mentally challenging and I like that. That's why I fight, because it's a mental and physical challenge. It keeps me sharp. I'm always learning things about my industry and fighting. That's how I was brought up. If I get bored with something, it's not really worth my time. I haven't gotten bored with any of the aspects of my life."

The industry is petroleum engineering, where it is Head's job to design and implement oil wells that will produce oil and natural gas. He started fighting when he was studying engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla (now called the Missouri University of Science and Technology.) When boredom hit, he tried fighting.

"The school was pretty male-dominant, so I didn't have a lot of distractions in the small town of Rolla. That's what led me to mixed martial arts. I went into a gym. It was a boxing gym, and my grandfather was a boxer. I was bought up around it. Walked into the gym, and that's where it all started."

Since then, his life has been about engineering and training MMA. For nine years, he has balanced the two demanding jobs. He likes that both challenge his mind.

"I'm cerebral in all aspects of my life, or I try to be. When it comes to training, I'm always seeking out the best training partners, the best dietitian, the best coaches. You can't be the expert in everything, you just have to have faith in the people who surround you. One of my main strengths is the mind God blessed me with."

Now he will try to take that style to Saturday's bout with Abedi. Since Abedi is from Sweden, Head will be in enemy territory. But no matter how many supporters Abedi has outside the cage, Head is confident all the fans in the world won't matter when the Octagon door closes.

"It doesn't really matter if you have all the king's horses and all the king's men on the outside of the cage. At the end of the day, it's just me and him. I'm looking forward to it."

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