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MMA Airman goes PRO after Afghanistan deployment

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, throws a punch on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 14. On duty, Caudillo works at the Fitness Center as a fitness supervisor. During his free time, Caudillo trains and competes in local mixed martial arts competitions and helps his fellow Airmen stay fit to fight. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. (U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, throws a punch on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 14. On duty, Caudillo works at the Fitness Center as a fitness supervisor. During his free time, Caudillo trains and competes in local mixed martial arts competitions and helps his fellow Airmen stay fit to fight. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. (U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, puts on a pair of mixed martial arts fighting gloves at a local MMA gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. Caudillo competed in local amateur MMA fights for the past two years. His current record is six wins and three losses. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, puts on a pair of mixed martial arts fighting gloves at a local MMA gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. Caudillo competed in local amateur MMA fights for the past two years. His current record is six wins and three losses. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, punches a speed bag at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Speed bags help fighters increase their hand-eye coordination, hand speed, rhythm and timing. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, punches a speed bag at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Speed bags help fighters increase their hand-eye coordination, hand speed, rhythm and timing. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, spars with Russell Biggs, mixed martial arts general manager and trainer, at a local MMA gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo started competing in local amateur MMA fights after his deployment to Afghanistan. Over the years Caudillo learned kick boxing, Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai along with various strength and endurance exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, spars with Russell Biggs, mixed martial arts general manager and trainer, at a local MMA gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo started competing in local amateur MMA fights after his deployment to Afghanistan. Over the years Caudillo learned kick boxing, Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai along with various strength and endurance exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, spars with Russell Biggs, mixed martial arts general manager and trainer, at a local MMA gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. He began his fighting career as a wrestler in high school and college. Caudillo often uses exercises he learned from MMA training to help Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, spars with Russell Biggs, mixed martial arts general manager and trainer, at a local MMA gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional MMA fight in March. He began his fighting career as a wrestler in high school and college. Caudillo often uses exercises he learned from MMA training to help Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, rests on the ropes after a sparring session as Airman 1st Class Justin Solorio, 2 FSS, waits in his corner at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12.The two Airmen work at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and enjoy training and competing in MMA competitions. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional fight in March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, rests on the ropes after a sparring session as Airman 1st Class Justin Solorio, 2 FSS, waits in his corner at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12.The two Airmen work at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and enjoy training and competing in MMA competitions. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional fight in March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Airman 1st Class Justin Solorio, left, and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, begin their sparring session at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. The two Airmen work at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and enjoy training and competing in MMA competitions. Caudillo takes some of the exercises he learns from the MMA gym and uses them to help his fellow Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Airman 1st Class Justin Solorio, left, and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, begin their sparring session at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. The two Airmen work at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and enjoy training and competing in MMA competitions. Caudillo takes some of the exercises he learns from the MMA gym and uses them to help his fellow Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, left, and Airman 1st Class Justin Solorio, 2nd Force Support Squadron, trade punches during their sparring session at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Sparring helps fighters hone their timing, control their distance, speed, foot work, endurance, speed, and focus. Both Caudillo and Solorio work at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and enjoy training and competing in MMA competitions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, left, and Airman 1st Class Justin Solorio, 2nd Force Support Squadron, trade punches during their sparring session at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Sparring helps fighters hone their timing, control their distance, speed, foot work, endurance, speed, and focus. Both Caudillo and Solorio work at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and enjoy training and competing in MMA competitions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, lifts weights at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo works at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and often uses exercises he learned from MMA training to help Airmen stay fit to fight.  Caudillo is currently training for his first professional fight in March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, lifts weights at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo works at the Fitness Center on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and often uses exercises he learned from MMA training to help Airmen stay fit to fight. Caudillo is currently training for his first professional fight in March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, lifts weights at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo started competing in local amateur MMA fights after his deployment to Afghanistan. Over the years Caudillo learned kick boxing, Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai along with various strength and endurance exercises. Caudillo takes the training he receives at the MMA gym and uses them to help his fellow Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)
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Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron, lifts weights at a local mixed martial arts gym in Bossier City, La., Dec. 12. Caudillo started competing in local amateur MMA fights after his deployment to Afghanistan. Over the years Caudillo learned kick boxing, Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai along with various strength and endurance exercises. Caudillo takes the training he receives at the MMA gym and uses them to help his fellow Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, demonstrates how to do an abdominal crunch for Staff Sgt. Crystal McElvane, 2 FSS unit deployment manager, on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 20. Off duty, Caudillo competes in mixed martial arts and uses some of the exercises he learns to help Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)
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Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, demonstrates how to do an abdominal crunch for Staff Sgt. Crystal McElvane, 2 FSS unit deployment manager, on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 20. Off duty, Caudillo competes in mixed martial arts and uses some of the exercises he learns to help Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, does an exercise drill with Staff Sgt. Crystal McElvane, 2 FSS unit deployment manager, on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 20. During the drill, a ball is rolled and the other individual must run and retrieve it. The process is repeated for one minute to improve cardio. Caudillo competes in mixed martial arts and uses some of the exercises he learns to help Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)
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Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron fitness center supervisor, does an exercise drill with Staff Sgt. Crystal McElvane, 2 FSS unit deployment manager, on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 20. During the drill, a ball is rolled and the other individual must run and retrieve it. The process is repeated for one minute to improve cardio. Caudillo competes in mixed martial arts and uses some of the exercises he learns to help Airmen stay fit to fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Most people dream of getting rich or houses with white picket fences, but one Airman's dream is to be locked in a blood stained steel cage with a professional mixed martial artist.

For most, this would be a nightmare. However, for Staff Sgt. Jeremy Caudillo, 2nd Force Support Squadron Fitness Center supervisor, his dream of becoming a professional MMA Fighter is about to become reality.

"This has been a big dream of mine," said Caudillo. "My goal is to be the Ultimate Fighting Championship champion. I feel like MMA is my destiny."

Caudillo began his fighting career as a wrestler in high school and college. It wasn't until one of his deployments that he decided to pursue a career in MMA.

"I got interested in MMA when I was deployed to Afghanistan," said Caudillo. "I saw a few soldiers and some other guys doing combatives and Jiu-Jitsu, so I asked if I could partake. I started training with them and it really started my career in MMA."

After Caudillo returned from his deployment he joined an MMA gym and started competing in local amateur fights. His success in the ring attracted the attention of MTV's reality show 'Caged.'

"Being on the show was good for publicity," said Caudillo. "It helped me meet a couple of people in UFC and make a lot of great connections."

After more than two years of hard work and training, Caudillo finished his amateur career with a six and three record but that is not the end of his story.

"My last amateur fight was Saturday, and I feel like I am ready to go pro," said Caudillo. "I'm setting up my first pro fight for March, and I'll make my debut in the 135-pound weight class."

Though his MMA career is taking off, Caudillo still wants to be an Airman.

"I still want to keep my Air Force career," said Caudillo. "It is nice to be able to work here at the fitness center. My job in the Air Force is to train people and keep them fit to fight."

The training Caudillo receives from the Air Force and MMA go hand-in-hand. They collectively help him be a better fighter and Airman.

"MMA has helped me learn a lot more as far as different types of workouts," he said. "What I learn at the MMA gym I take back to my squadron and use it to train people. I also use some of the fitness fundamentals that I learned in the Air Force to help me with my strength and endurance training for MMA."

Caudillo uses full body workouts along with core and strength training to help his fellow Airmen pass their physical fitness tests and stay in shape.

"Before I would just do basic exercises like running, pushups and sit-ups to pass my PT Test," said Staff Sgt. Crystal McElvane, 2 FSS unit deployment manager. "Working out with [Caudillo] is a different level of intensity; it's a total body workout. I am definitely getting more tone."

In return, Caudillo receives a lot of support from the Barksdale community.

"A lot of my coworkers and other Airmen come to my fights to support me," said Caudillo. "It feels great to have them come and cheer me on."

With his last amateur fight behind him and a promising professional MMA career in front of him, Caudillo will be in the gym doing one of two things: working or training.