Nestled deep in Savannah, Georgia, a sleepy southern town known for its creeping plantation moss and lazy carriage rides, lies Champions Training Center (CTC), a gym dedicated to training current and future generations of martial arts champions. The day to day activities of CTC are managed by one of its active business partners, Muhsin Corbbrey, a fierce entrepreneur, activist, and former WEC fighter with eyes on a UFC contract.
Corbbrey, 18-8 in mma, is a seasoned vet across numerous disciplines. As a boxer, muay thai fighter, and mixed martial artist, he has 51 professional fights to his name. Undefeated since 2012, Corbbrey has put together four consecutive wins, all by submission, three of which he won in the first round. He is best known for his fight against Nick Diaz in Elite XC, an action-fueled battle that he lost deep in the third. He last faced Chris Cain at Conflict 25 back in March and wrapped up a tight rear naked choke after dropping his opponent with a huge overhand right. Highlights can be seen in the video.
Corbbrey’s dedication to being a complete martial artist helped earn him the nickname “The Technician”, and he is perhaps the most rounded featherweight currently fighting outside of a national promotion. Corbbrey has the unique distinction of being the first muay thai student under six time world champion Manu N’toh to receive the title of kru, an accomplishment he earned in 2014. He’s also a developed judoka, having earned his black belt under Sensei Doug Matsuoka as well as receiving training under Senseis Michael Mclendon and Steven Alphabet. To round out his ground assault and defense, he has worked diligently under Lloyd Irvin’s tutelage and system to obtain a brown belt. In addition to all of this, Corbbrey has spent lots of time training at Thailand’s Tiger Muay Thai.
The UFC currently has 74 featherweights listed on their roster, and two of the division’s top fifteen guys, Dustin Poirier and Clay Guida, will likely be finding new homes in the lightweight division in 2015. Poirier has already competed there once this year and Guida discussed wanting to return to 155 for a title push. These vacancies will leave room in the division for some new life, and Corbbrey has a record better than many in the division and comparable to some top fifteen talent:
- 15: Hacran Dias (22-3-1)
- 14: Darren Elkins (19-5)
- 12: Dennis Siver (22-10)
- 11: Jeremy Stephens (23-11)
- 9: Max Holloway (12-3)
In the past couple of years, Corbbrey has launched a social media campaign, #ufcneedsme, to help him gain traction in his quest to the top. With the support of his peers, training partners, and an international fan base, he feels he’s closer than ever to attaining his goal. We sat down to talk with Muhsin and discussed some of his thoughts regarding his past, present, and future plans.
Thanks for sitting down to chat with us! Last month you scored yet another submission victory, your fourth straight. What’s next for Muhsin Corbbrey?
We are doing everything in our power to get into the UFC. The UFC is the final frontier for me and I know I have the skills to be a contender. We recently signed with the Top management company in the sport, Sucker Punch Entertainment. They know my goals and I have no doubt they can help me reach them.
At 51 fights, you’ve probably experienced a little bit of everything. What steps do you take to continue to evolve as a mixed martial artist?
I train with the best coaches in the world. Master Manu Ntoh is a Muay Thai genius. He helps me keep my Thai boxing at the highest level. My boxing coach, Frank Bell, is a boxing encyclopedia. His understanding of footwork, angles and defensive boxing is some of the best in the Southeast. Last but not least, Lloyd Irvin is one of the brightest minds in the grappling and MMA world. I currently have my TLI teammate Mike "The Hulk" Easton in the gym with me, pushing me to make sure I am ready for the next level. I have the an amazing support system right now helping me prepare and tighten up every angle.
You also work hard developing some of the next generation of talent across multiple disciplines over at Champions Training Center. Would you tell us more about the team over there, your programs, and some of their recent success stories?
CTC has one of the top combat sport teams in the US. We've developed champions in MMA, Muay Thai, Boxing and sport BJJ. We've put fighters in the top promotions in the world including the UFC, Glory, Bellator, etc. Two of our top pros, Wes Barnes and Josh Blyden, are headed to the TUF tryouts at the end of the month. Both fighters are two of the top prospects in the region.
You’ve put together a nice win streak since your last loss and finished some tough guys along the way. What do you feel has been your biggest barrier to getting in the UFC?
I think everything is happening at the right time. I've been in the ring with some of the best in the world and it's helped me become the fighter I am today. Going 3 rounds with top ranked fighters like Nick Diaz and getting a hard fought decision win over Raphael Assuncao has more than prepared me for the next level. There is absolutely nothing I haven't seen in this game.
Muhsin Corbbrey vs. Ran Weathers at Conflict 17
You’re a natural featherweight, probably one of the more varied divisions in terms of talent diversity. If offered a contract tomorrow, is there any particular fight you would want first in that division?
I would love to mix it up with Diego Brandao. I think that would be a good intro into the UFC. He's explosive and not afraid to bang. I think it would be a great fight for the fans. We have a common opponent and I would love to see how the fight would play out.
How do you feel mma has changed as a sport over the past decade? What are some of the positive and negative changes that you have seen in the industry?
I've been a part of this sport since the early days of NHB (no holds barred) and Vale Tudo. When I fought my first fight soccer kicks, jump stomps, and spiking elbows were not only legal but encouraged. I watched it grow into the HUGE sport that it is today and it's been an awesome ride.
The major problem that I see today is with judging. When you have one judge score the fight 30-27 for the blue corner and another score it 30-37 for the red corner, it's evident they have no idea what they are looking at.
I've been bitten by bad judging and I've decided that I will no longer allow them to be a factor. Either I finish or I'm going to die trying. No more judges!
And finally, education and social activism are very important aspects of your life. What inspired you to help provide a voice for the voiceless?
It is our job as humans to extend a hand to those in need. If we want to see change we must be proactive in the process of change. I am inspired by my faith as well as this before me that gave their lives struggling for social justice.