Eli Tamez is an undefeated prospect looking for a big paycheck, but first, he’ll have to return to the cage.
There are plenty of prospects in the MMA world who are working a normal job while also training and sparring, attempting to turn a dream into a reality with an MMA career. Eli Tamez is one of those fighters, but with a little more interesting of a story involved.
Tamez is a hairdresser and a triathlete. It isn’t that he doesn’t love the sport of MMA, Tamez knows how talented he is, it’s that he needs to make money to continue to support his family. He also has other loves in the world of sport. Tamez hasn’t fought since 2017 at the first-ever LFA event.
“I just got worn out, I want to come back very soon but I wanted to give other things a try. I’ve been loving track and doing marathons, I still train but it is a hard life to live with everything going on. Training was a lot of stress, and the pay is low, so I decided to take a break.”
Tamez admits his love for the sport has never been in question, but with four children at home and a business he runs, training day in and day out was an extra load of stress, without the extra paycheck reward.
“I love doing what I do. I love my business and being my own boss. I actually think that owning my own business has helped my fight game, I don’t ‘need to win.’ I have other options and other chances to make a living, so I do this for the love of the sport and that helps take away unnecessary stress.”
In his life, the 10-0 fighter has always believed in himself and set a goal to make it to the UFC. Although, it has always been a side goal that he hasn’t let overtake his life.
“Fighting is on the side for me. I know I can be great but I don’t rush into anything. When I set a fight date and have a training camp, that’s when fighting takes over my life 100-percent, but only then.”
Tamez’s most recent victory and fight were at LFA 1 back in 2017. That victory came after another two-year break from the sport. It may seem odd to some that someone thinks they could come back after a two-year hiatus and jump right back into a fiery prospect pool, but Tamez has proven he can, and will look to do it again.
“I love LFA, it is a feeding ground for the UFC, that isn’t a secret. LFA always treated me great and I’d love to fight with them again but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the main goal is the UFC, even as a late replacement.”
With the idea of the UFC in mind, I asked Tamez if the Contender Series is something that could catch his eye if given the chance seeing as many touted prospects are winning contracts through that medium recently.
“Absolutely, I mean anything I can do to get my name into the UFC. It is a little bit of a risk though because even if you win you aren’t promised a contract but whatever it takes to complete this goal. I don’t want to fight forever, so whatever it takes.”
Tamez admitted that ever since he was 5-0 that he believed he was only one or two wins away from that UFC call. It is something that explains the inactivity he has displayed recently, but the goal is still there.
“I thought since I won my fifth fight I’d be getting a call any day. I thought with my background being a hairstylist, being undefeated, being a Mexican fighter, but so far, I haven’t received the call.”
In his two year layoff, Tamez has not been taking time off from the world of sports. Tamez has competed in marathons, triathlons, track events and more, while also training in MMA.
“It’s a different environment, I did an Iron Man in October last minute and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I mean, I have always had good cardio but it is so different. But I’ve fallen in love with it, I’m not sure if any of it transfers to MMA but that’s what we will find out.”
Tamez plans to return to the cage sometime this year. He has nothing set in stone, not even a definite promotion that he has chosen for his comeback fight, but the one he has in mind is the UFC. He is hopeful to get a call and become an active fighter once again.