Former Rider Wrestler now an Ultimate Fighter
Competing in Atlantic City on Fuel TV June 22
After graduating from Rider University in 2004, Nick Catone was working toward becoming a member of the police department. While doing so he was helping his father run the family business in East Orange, NJ, a sheet metal shop.
Now, Catone is dealing with a different type of mettle, the courage to be an Ultimate Fighter in the world of mixed martial arts as a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
"Nick has worked extremely hard to place himself in this position and we wish him continued success as he pursues his dreams and goals," said Rider head wrestling coach Gary Taylor.
"The UFC is the super bowl of MMA (mixed martial arts)," said Catone, who graduated from Rider with a degree in Psychology and 75 career wins in three seasons on the Bronc wrestling team. "I got into the UFC and that was my goal, that is where I wanted to be. I'm pretty excited to get in there."
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Nick," said Taylor. "Nick had a great career for us as a student-athlete and we are very proud of his most recent successes in the MMA circuit. Nick has endured many tough times throughout his life and athletic career but has persevered through them all."
Catone battled through a knee injury at Rider that ended his 2002 season prematurely and caused him to sit out the 2003 season. As a senior he endured thumb injuries that required surgery.
Catone was a two-time conference champion at Rider and as a senior was 34-4, including 2-2 at Nationals, 9-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association dual meets and was a CAA Champion. He still holds the Rider record for takedowns in a season with 100.
Now, as an Ultimate Fighter with a 9-2 record, Nick "The Jersey Devil" Catone will compete Friday, June 22 at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. The Main Event is a welterweight bout between top lightweight contender Clay Guida (29-12 MMA, 9-6 UFC) and two-time title challenger Gray Maynard (10-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC). That and three other fights will be televised on FX.
Catone will take on Chis Camozzi (16-5-0) in one of eight bouts to be televised on Fuel TV.
"I had six professional fights with a smaller organization, Arena Combat down in Atlantic City," Catone said, "and someone liked what they saw. My manager sent out tapes and made some calls and was able to get me into UFC."
Catone signed a four-fight deal with UFC.
Following graduation, Catone was helping coach the Brick Memorial wrestling team and another wrestling club down the Shore. "There was a jujutsu class right after our wrestling class," Catone remembers. "At first I didn't know if I wanted to do that, but I tried it and the next thing I knew I was training for my first fight a year later in Atlantic City."
There are five weight classes in the UFC, with Catone competing in the middle weight (185 pounds). "I wrestled at 184 pounds at Rider," Catone remembers. "Professionally there hasn't been anywhere to go for wrestlers, so lately you see a lot of former wrestlers getting into the mixed martial arts."
UFC competitors enter the mixed martial arts world with backgrounds in boxing, wrestling and the martial arts. "I think the wrestlers have an advantage due to the basics of our sport," Catone said.
From the sheet metal business to showing his true mettle, Nick Catone is ready to show the world he is where he wants to be.