WESTMINSTER * A.J. Robb says he wants to change the face of mixed martial arts.
He started doing that even before making his professional debut.
On Friday, at the weigh-ins the day before his debut, the Widefield High graduate showed up with about two dozen family and friends.
“I just want to change the MMA culture,” Robb said after weighing in at 135 pounds for his bantamweight bout at Tru Fit Athletic Clubs in Westminster.
Part of that wanting to change things is Robb realizing he was taking things too seriously, which contributed to his only amateur loss.
“I wasn’t having the fun aspect of this is actually a really fun job. This is actually a really fun profession,” Robb said. “You can actually have a good time with it.”
Robb will fight Jorge Dominguez (2-1), who weighed 134.4 while wearing sunglasses.
Over the course of his amateur MMA career in which he went 8-1, Robb would show up to weigh in by himself or maybe with his dad.
No posse by any stretch of the imagination.
Most fighters weighing in Friday had no more than five people in tow.
Robb wanted that to change for his debut Saturday at Sparta Combat League’s SCL 60 at the Colorado Convention Center.
He felt like he accomplished that.
“You heard the roar when I stepped up (to the scale) compared to everybody else’s,” Robb said. “We’re changing the game for sure, one step at a time.”
Sparta Combat League founder and CEO Jeff Cisneros is eager to see what Robb can do as a pro. The promoter saw Robb’s amateur debut for another organization and knew Robb had a future in the sport.
“Immediately I went to his (Robb’s) coach and said, ‘Wow, this kid is special. I’d love the opportunity to work with him,’” Cisneros said. “A.J. is one of the special, gifted athletes. But he’s got a very tough task ahead of him tomorrow. Jorge Dominguez is a tough fighter with already three professional fights under his belt.
“But I don’t know too many athletes that work as hard as AJ that have his skill set.”
Robb is scheduled to be the ninth bout of the night. He sold more tickets for this fight than any of the others, meaning Friday’s crowd was just a portion of supporters he expects Saturday night.
With the move to the pro ranks he’s trying to better his game.
“Working a lot with my hands, with my angles, move my feet, so I’m not just standing still,” Robb said. “In a lot of my fight videos you can see when I start punching I just stand there, just throw and won’t move my feet with it. Now that I’m at the pro level I’ve got to make sure I move my feet and have my angles right.”
The fight card begins at 7 p.m.
“I’ve trained my whole life for this,” Robb said. “This is the moment. This is the start of a legacy.”