Virginia Beach, VA — In a decade of competition as a mixed martial artist, Tom Breese has competed just a dozen times. The former welterweight, now middleweight, has hit the cage just once in the past four years. That’s the sort of pace that stalls careers, frankly. But Breese has stayed busy, always training, in his time away.
“It’s been a good journey of self-development for me. I’m continuing to grow,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press at Thursday’s UFC Norfolk media day. Breese (11-1) returns Saturday in Norfolk, taking on former LFA champ Brendan Allen.
While not fighting, Breese did take part in a grappling competition. That, said Breese, is something he feels was “very important. It’s good to stay active, test myself against some top grapplers and improve my skill set.”
He’ll look to continue competing in that realm — and possibly others. “100%. I’m here to be the best martial artist I can be. I’m in this for self-mastery. Whether it’s mixed martial arts, grappling, any kind of combat sports, even swimming, stuff like that. I’m just here to master myself.”
The reason for Breese’s absence, at least in part, has been struggles with anxiety. That’s something he’s dealt with “my whole life,” he revealed. “It’s a struggle, it’s a struggle in life.” But, Breese added, “it’s beautiful to see where we can come from. If you saw me as a young kid to what I am now, I’ve come a long way. And I will continue to grow.”
As far as advice for fellow anxiety suffers, Breese suggested they “learn about the human condition. Learn about the mind. I’ve really dug into philosophy. Every day, I’m conquering myself. You have to understand, the suffering and the struggle, that’s where we see our best selves.”
“We’ve got to conquer ourselves. We can’t stay in our shell,” he added. “Come out of our shell, see our best selves.”
Watch the full UFC Norfolk media day press scrum with Tom Breese above! The event takes place Saturday, February 29 at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.