Bellator 221’s Tywan Claxton has a great future in fighting – but it seems he has a great future in the tech world as well. Just don’t ask him to choose between his two passions.
Chicago, IL — Tywan Claxton is quickly making a name for himself in Bellator’s 145lb division. The app developer is gifted on the feet and on the ground, is well spoken, and with his background in coding (self taught, at least early on), he stands out from the rest of the pack when it comes to fighters.
Bucking the trend, in other words. Think Rosi Sexton, who competed in both the UFC and Bellator, but doubled as a mathematician with a PHD in theoretical computer science.
Claxton picked up another win on Saturday at Bellator 221, the fifth of his career. And the fifth to come under the Bellator banner. Putting away James Bennett, Claxton moved closer to the featherweight grand prix. But it was no easy task, he told reporters including Cageside Press post-fight.
“I hit him with some shots, man. Like some serious shots,” Claxton recalled. “Clean shots. Grabbing the wrists, from the wrist to the elbow shots. And he just ate them, and he did it with a smile on his face.” Not at all what ‘Air Claxton’ had expected beforehand. “So after the fight, I just had to tell it how it was. Like look, this is one tough dude. I don’t care what this fight looked like, man he was a tough guy. So I had to give him all the credit. Because to be honest, I didn’t think he’d be that tough.”
Claxton had expected an early finish. However, “everything I threw at him, he ate.”
Including a flying knee. “He ate it. That’s another shot. He took that knee,” he said, incredulously. “The first knee [in his pro debut] I pulled his head down, this knee I didn’t get a chance to pull the head down, I misjudged the distance. But it still clipped him, I heard it crack, I heard his face crack and I was like ‘he’s done.’ And he wasn’t done. So we had to keep fighting.”
The extra time has an upside, however. “It takes 10,000 hours to be good at something, right? I think the more cage time that I get the better,” said Claxton after the bout. “I’ve been consistent with fighting and I’ve been consistent with training.”
“The more hours the better,” he said about training in preparation for his fights, and those of training partners. “But the more cage time, the better too.”
The now 5-0 fighter simply could not get over his opponent’s reactions in the cage at Bellator 221. “He was f*cking laughing. He was laughing, he was smiling, he was like ‘f*ck.’ The entire time, he’s just like ‘f*ck, f*ck.’ Every shot that I hit, he’s like ‘fuck.’ And I’m like ‘f*ck!’ He’s not stopping! It was a talkative match.”
It was also a different kind of match for Claxton, who sometimes runs on autopilot when fighting. “I was in the moment this fight. I was there. It wasn’t just autopilot,” he explained. “Usually when I watch my fights, I’m like damn, that happened, that happened. But I could walk you through this one. This one was a fun one. This one showed me that — in my mind, I knew that I belonged here, but it just showed me that hey, dude, you’re here. So that was a big fight for me.”
It was also a fight that will be remembered for Claxton briefly calling out to 50 Cent, seated cageside, mid-fight. “I said ‘whaddup 50.’ I need a loan, tell 50 Cent to come give me a loan.” As Claxton recalled, “I was just sitting there, doing ground n’ pound, I look up, it’s f*cking 50 Cent sitting behind the monitor. I’m like ‘damn, I was just listening to your music, like what up, 50?'”
“He said he’d get the strap on me. I guess that means I’m a pretty tough guy, if 50 Cent don’t want to fight me,” he added.
A tough guy, and a smart guy. Claxton also revealed Saturday night that he might have a future with Google. “I got a call from a guy at Google. So I guess I’ve got an interview with Google on Monday.”
Claxton’s approach to learning may sound familiar to many. “I never liked school but I like learning, if that made any sense. I never liked school, but I liked learning. And I found two things that I’ll never get tired of learning.” Those would be coding, and fighting.
“You can never know enough about code, there’s always some cool tech shit, you’re like ‘f*ck,’ you think you’re a good developer, and then you meet somebody that’s been developing for 40 years, and they’re like ‘do you know about this this this and this?’ And it fucking drags you on. That’s one thing that I’ll never get tired of, it never feels like work.”
And if it does, well, “then f*ck man, I get to go out there and just throw some heat. Any frustration, any coding error, the hours and sh*t, you’re like ‘yo I get to go out here and just fight somebody.’ I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.”
If he was forced to choose, by Google or anyone else, however, Claxton wouldn’t be ready to just walk away. “I feel like if they really cared about me, they wouldn’t make me pick between two things I love. So I’d have to pick the one sport that didn’t make me pick between the two things I love. So I’d fight. I’d fight.”
Watch the full Bellator 221 post-fight press scrum with Tywan Claxton above!