Two more losses in 2019 led to the pandemic year of 2020, and when he returned in March last year, Dwyer was stopped by the late Elias Theodorou, leaving him on a four-fight slide and in desperate need of a break.
“I needed to step back – losing four fights in a row is a tough pill to swallow,” said Dwyer, who recorded four amateur appearances under the BFL banner before turning pro and posting. a 7-1 mark en route to being called up by the UFC.
He took on a new trade and spent the winter working up north, even fighting without really coming to mind.
He focused on his jiu jitsu, recently earned his brown belt from longtime trainer David Lea, and spent countless hours inside the Kelowna Boxing Club whenever he was back in town. .
“I got a phone call from Dave Habib, who runs the Kelowna Boxing Club,” Dwyer said, recounting how he focused on his boxing during his self-imposed hiatus. “He asked me if I wanted to come in and box with one of his guys – he needed sparring partners because he had a fight coming up – and I said, ‘Yeah sure, I will come to help. I can go play a few rounds; I have this basic cardio.
“I went there and felt like I was drowning; the guy was relentless,” he said, laughing at the memory. “It opened my eyes so much to what I could do with my boxing if I trained with these guys and applied that to my MMA game.
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“I feel like I’ve improved so much everywhere,” he added. “I’m just an arts student and I try to learn from all avenues.”
The first chance to show off everything he’s learned during his absence comes Thursday night, when he returns to the Battlefield Fight League cage to face Van Dijk, a Belgian judoka with a 9-5 MMA record who has faced a handful of past and present UFC competitors during his career.
It’s a looping moment for Dwyer, who picked up a victory in the co-main event of the first-ever BFL show on May 15, 2010, beating Sean Zubor by rear-end choke just two minutes and moving on to the first round. He would go on to win the welterweight title at BFL 19, successfully defending the belt once with a win over Shonie Carter before defeating Ultimate Fighter alum DaMarques Johnson at BFL 30 in a middleweight contest that produced a call to the biggest sports scene. .