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Trey Ogden punches Nikolas Motta of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Trey Ogden: 'I Want To Experience Life'

Hoping To Get His Hand Raised For The First Time Since 2022, Trey Ogden Heads Into UFC Fight Night: Ribas vs Namajunas In His Best Place Yet

Trey Ogden isn’t like the other fighters. And he’s fine with that. But he also believes that he’s not the only one who approaches the sport with a mindset more in line with traditional martial arts. 

“I don't think I'm alone,” said Ogden. “But I feel like I interpret the world both logically and rationally, and also through religious terminology, if that makes sense. I think that fighting is a spiritual experience, but maybe not everybody can view their experience of life in this way.”

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Yeah, most don’t. I remind him that back when I began covering the sport over two decades ago, a response to the question asking why someone fights often came back with some form of being able to punch somebody in the face and not get arrested for it. And though Ogden can appreciate that sentiment, he shines a different light on it. 

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“Here's how I would express that idea,” said Ogden. “I would say that I think it's so amazing that I can legally engage a human being in combat until one of us is basically finished. And we're not in trouble for that, but we're rewarded for that. We're clapped for and honored for that. People love it when I do it. And why that's so important to me is because I want to experience the full spectrum of life. Like every experience, I want to experience life. I want to let life touch me. And if I didn't have this, if MMA was illegal, then I would have mental knots that I wouldn't be able to process because I wouldn't be able to express that side of me.”

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This ability to analyze while still feeding the visceral part of his being is why Ogden is not just a lightweight on the rise in the UFC, but one of the sport’s top coaches on the rise as the man at the helm of the Marathon MMA squad. But with so much going on, has the 34-year-old found a balance where he can lead one of his fighters – Miles Johns – to victory this weekend while doing the same for himself against Kurt Holobaugh?

UFC lightweight Trey Ogden punches Daniel Zellhuber in their UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song bout. (Photo by Chris Unger/ Zuffa LLC)
UFC lightweight Trey Ogden punches Daniel Zellhuber in their UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song bout. (Photo by Chris Unger/ Zuffa LLC)

“I wouldn't call anything I'm doing balanced, but I am getting everything done and doing it well,” said Ogden. “And so I think that there's a lot more time in the day than people tend to think sometimes. If you get organized and focused and get a little endurance under you, then you can get a lot done in a day. And I try not to be spending any time doing things that aren't meaningful to me. I kind of trim the fat, if that makes sense. I also recognize that this is just a season, but it's an unsustainable pace. So if I can sustain it for several years, it's a critical time for me to build what I'm building and invest in my future. There will be seasons for me to be more balanced.” 

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That season is not now. For now, it’s work, family, fighting, and whatever else crosses his plate. It’s a hectic schedule, so at the end of the day, there has to be some payoff. For Ogden, that’s a win, something that eluded him last November when he faced Nikolas Motta.

In control from the start, Ogden looked to finish matters in the final round with a choke. Game over, apparently, but when Motta jumped up to protest referee Mike Beltran’s stoppage, it was clear that he hadn’t submitted or stopped trying to escape. The end verdict, a no contest. 

Trey Ogden battles Jordan Leavitt in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Trey Ogden battles Jordan Leavitt in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I had a hell of a fight, for sure,” said Ogden. “And I try not to think about it too much, but what I felt robbed of is not getting my hand raised. I didn't get that huge dopamine rush. I didn't get that feeling you get when you win a fight that we look forward to so much. And that sucked because I felt almost numb because I didn't lose and I was happy with my performance, but there was this empty feeling inside of me from the result.” 

Fighters on the Rise | UFC Fight Night: Ribas vs Namajunas

Luckily, there will be other fights, including one on Saturday against Holobaugh. It’s another chance to express himself, another chance to win, and yeah, another chance to punch somebody in the face.

He laughs.

Trey Ogden kicks Nikolas Motta of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Trey Ogden kicks Nikolas Motta of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“At the end of the day, we are just fighting for money. So, it is that, too.”

Well, there are easier ways to make money.

Another laugh from the “Shamurai.”

“That is no lie, brother.”
 

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UFC Fight Night: Ribas vs Namajunas took place on March 23, 2024 live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. See the final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass