With a victory at Dana White’s Contender Series in November, Tucker Lutz has earned a contract to fight professionally in the Ultimate Fighting Championship — Lutz’s dream since he was at Franklin High School.
After a 7-0 amateur career, Lutz began competing in Shogun Fights, through which he competed in nine of his 12 professional fights. Lutz has a professional mixed martial arts record of 11-1, with his only loss coming against Alvin Mercer in his first professional fight in 2015. His last win, which earned him the UFC contract, was by unanimous decision against formerly undefeated Sherrard Blackledge.
Lutz, 26, is excited to compete in the UFC.
“It’s something that I’ve been envisioning for years,” Lutz said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 20. “I feel like it’s already happened in my mind a thousand times, so it’s honestly not too different from what I envisioned it being. … I’m my biggest critic, so if anything I feel like it is overdue. But it’s nice officially being on the roster, for sure.”
Lutz, a native of Reisterstown, Md., was fascinated with the UFC dating back to his days as a freshman at Franklin when he began watching the sport. He wrestled throughout his high school years and joined an MMA gym — Ground Control Academy in Rosedale, Md., which he still fights out of today — as a senior.
“As soon as I was watching it — I mean, from the jump — [I] always fantasized about seeing myself being successful as a fighter,” Lutz said. “My brother and I — he’s two years older than me and he went to Franklin also — we were diehard fans. Our parents’ house, that was the fight spot. Every month we’d have our buddies over and get the pay-per-view, and I always watched and I always fantasized myself in [the octagon], like a lot of kids do.”
While Lutz was a wrestler in high school and enjoyed watching the UFC, he can’t say whether he was a good fighter before he joined Ground Control as an amateur. But Lutz definitely was one to throw down every once in a while.
“Me and my friends would always fight in the backyard, and we were always those goons who were too drunk at high school parties and would get down to scrap,” Lutz said with a laugh. “So I don’t know if I knew. I would like to think I probably did. I was a cocky young high schooler, so I probably thought I could fight.”
Now that Lutz has a contract to fight in the UFC, he has to schedule his first fight — but Lutz said he will likely not be able to compete until February due to a chest injury. His doctors have told him that rest is the most important thing he can do right now to ensure he can hit the octagon as soon as possible. Lutz said he will still be working out in the gym to stay in shape, but it will be tough to not spar with his teammates.
With more rest on the way, Lutz will have more time to field questions about his diet and weight. The 5-foot-7 Lutz fights professionally at 145 pounds, but that’s not his normal weight; he said he currently weighs about 180 pounds. One of his biggest pet peeves is when people try to ask him about his eating habits and how he plans to lose weight.
“This [past] summer, my wife’s birthday is in June, and she had a little cookout at the pool and people were asking. It drives me crazy,” Lutz said. “They were asking, ‘Well, what are you going to be eating?’ It’s like, ‘Eat your own food.’ But I see where they are coming from, I guess it’s out of love, but I’m like, ‘Shut up man, mind your own business.'”
Being able to fight in the UFC means a lot to Lutz as a Baltimore County native, but just because Lutz was able to make it to the big leagues doesn’t mean he won’t keep pushing the rest of the fighters at Ground Control. Lutz believes that every single one of them has the potential to make it to the UFC.
“I think it’s awesome, but I think at the same time, as far as MMA goes, it’s just the beginning,” Lutz said. “I have some really talented teammates, and I think me getting to this stage will help kind of put us all on the map in a sense. And I’m lucky that I have good management. I’m lucky that I got the opportunity for the Contender [Series], but I could have been one of six or seven guys from my gym who could have fought on that show and earned a UFC contract.”
For more from Lutz, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Jason Bloom Productions