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UFC Road to the Octagon: Cummins vs Vilante

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[MUSIC PLAYING] NARRATOR: Few fighters in combat sports history have been thrust into the spotlight like Patrick Cummins was just three years ago when on short notice, he took on his division's future champion, Daniel Cormier.

PATRICK CUMMINS: I was at the breaking point.

All my money ran out.

I didn't have a car.

Rode my bike down to the coffee shop.

I pick up a job, and I'm the baker.

One day, my manager comes busting through the door, why aren't you answering your phone?

What is wrong with you?

And my boss at the coffee shop is like, sir, sir, you can't come back here, you know.

He leaves and walks around outside to the drive-through like I'm serving a car.

He looks over, hey, this fight is going to happen.

What are you talking about?

I've been up since 3:00 AM.

I have no idea what you're talking about.

You're in your pajamas freaking out.

What is this?

He's like, you need to take this call.

Do you want to fight Daniel?

Do you want to fight Cormier?

And I said, yeah, all right.

What?

By 3:00 in the afternoon, a car comes.

Picks us up.

And that night, I'm on TV.

And I'm going to fight in eight days in a huge fight-- I'm a co-main event.

NARRATOR: Patrick Cummins' UFC debut against Cormier changed his life because although he did not win that night, he won his next three straight fights in impressive fashion.

And since that fateful day, he has fought more times than any other light heavyweight, including impressive wins over hardened veterans.

That showcased his heart and made his journey from baker to UFC standout even more remarkable.

- So what do you think?

PATRICK CUMMINS: I'll take it.

- OK.

PATRICK CUMMINS: People know me best as oh, you're the coffee guy that fought Cormier last minute.

And I'm like, yeah, that's a cool story.

But I want to be known as the guy that started out that way and worked his way to the top.

- I wish you lots of luck.

PATRICK CUMMINS: Thank you, man.

- And are you going to pull it through?

PATRICK CUMMINS: Yeah, I appreciate it.

- And I'm growing a mustache after he wins.

PATRICK CUMMINS: Yeah, the bet is on.

Thank you, man.

- Absolutely, Patrick.

I think a Tesla might not be a mustache-worthy car.

But that's pretty awesome.

NARRATOR: Earlier this year, Cummins began working with former world boxing champion Antonio Tarver to further his evolution from all-American wrestler to dominant striker.

ANTONIO TARVER: Get them in [INAUDIBLE].

.

You're going to feel that hunch, baby.

You're going to feel that hunch.

That's how you make-- right here, your shoulder.

Good-- ah, there you go.

Good.

He really learns quick.

It makes my job a lot easier.

So natural power.

He don't have to load up.

Don't have to do much.

He's going to be more comfortable in a standup.

And I think you'll see him starting knocking a couple of these guys out, man, with the power that he has, the natural power that he has.

The pressure's on him.

He's got to perform in his home crowd.

PATRICK CUMMINS: It's easy for me to stop that.

NEIL MELANSON: I wanted him.

I had wanted him a long time ago because I could see that he would be a perfect athlete for me to coach.

ANTONIO TARVER: I don't feel it.

I don't feel it.

NEIL MELANSON: People don't really know where he's at yet.

And that only works to our favor.

We're ready, and on fight night, we're going to be ready.

- All the secret lies in the mustache, my friend.

All the secret lies in the moustache.

PATRICK CUMMINS: Not anymore.

Secret's out.

[MUSIC - CUT ONE, "EVIL GOT A HOLD"] - Drink that holy water.

PATRICK CUMMINS: Everything that I do, whether it's a punch or a takedown or a kick, it doesn't matter.

I want that shock effect.

- God, won't you let me be stronger?

PATRICK CUMMINS: Visualize it in my head how I want that fight to go.

And it turns out happening that way.

That's success to me.

I'm the bad guy.

I'm bad.

That's why I grew a mustache.

I'm the bad guy.

I need to own that role.

NARRATOR: 1,000 miles to the north, few things have ever stopped 31-year-old Gian Villante from smiling in the face of adversity.

GIAN VILLANTE: We moved around a lot as a kid.

Went to a couple of different schools.

Parents split up when I was pretty young.

And then we didn't have a lot of money or anything like that.

So we moved around a lot of different apartments.

Always had sports to lean on.

They kept me straight and kept me out of trouble.

Everyone has their hardships.

I'm not going to make any complaints.

It shaped me to who I was today.

NARRATOR: Throughout his fighting career, former Hofstra University football star Gian Villante has been electric.

Out of his 15 victories thus far, twelve have come via stopwatch, and three have earned UFC Fight of the Night awards, all testaments to Villante's thrilling style and outstanding power.

And now one of the best middle linebackers Hofstra University has ever known seeks to once again showcase his tremendous athleticism in front of a hometown crowd, this time wearing four-ounce gloves.

GIAN VILLANTE: You ever see me fight, you know I played linebacker.

I was a mean, nasty guy.

Just go forward and hit people.

And that's what I did here.

I have the most tackles ever at Hofstra University.

And it'll never be broken because we don't have football anymore.

So it's pretty great.

I have a all-time record.

Never be broken.

I was playing football.

I planed on being in the NFL.

I was pretty close.

And I had some tryouts and run-ins with different teams and minicamps in different places.

And all didn't really work out the way I would have liked it to work out.

But in the long run, I think it put me in a better place.

I had the football thing going on, but I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete.

Once I started fighting, everything, every minute I had of my day went towards fighting.

This guy, he's my personal bodyguard.

KEITH TRIMBLE: Gian didn't fight at all yet.

When he walked in, he was trying out for the NFL.

He didn't make it.

And he decided to turn to MMA because he had a wrestling background.

And that's when he started with me.

He never did any kickboxing, any striking.

Matter of fact, it was a rough go at first.

I just make fun of him all the time.

I'm like, I thought you were this athletic guy?

It's like you've got two left feet.

So there's always room to improve.

Until this day, there's still room to improve on everything.

But I mean, he really has come you know night and day from when we first started.

GIAN VILLANTE: There isn't a fight out there that hasn't been the biggest fight in my life.

This is the biggest fight of my life, huge fight.

And now it's in Long Island.

It's not even 30 seconds from where I played my college football.

No matter what, if it was in his basement, it wwas still going to be the most important part of my life.

Once I get hit once, I know I'm in a fight.

And I'll be in that moment of the fight instead of all the fans cheering and stuff like that.

It'll be great.

If you like two guys going in there and wanting to put on a show, he's the guy to that he-- there's no quit in him.

There's no quit in me.

No matter how much you hurt him, no matter how much you hurt me, we're going to keep going until the ref pulls you off.

It's a fight that two guys are going to go until someone steps in there to stop us.

And both of us.

There's no quit.

We're just going to keep going.