SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — There's no question that training has been tough for Saddle Brook fighter Juan Galarza — especially given the herniated disc in his neck.
The real challenge, though, is instilling confidence in his students at Silver Fox BJJ.
"What I love the most is just not about fighting itself, but what you get from teaching it," said Galarza of Garfield.
"The way it could change a person's whole personality giving them confidence in every aspect of their lives.
"And from fighting, I think is the ultimate challenge and I love challenges."
Galarza moved to the U.S. in 2010 from Ecuador. He spent two years wrestling in Georgia before moving to Bergen County to pursue his bachelor's degree along with his fighting career.
The fighter, formerly of Bogota won his last amateur fight in April by unanimous decision. He is training for his next bout at the professional level.
DV: When did you start fighting? Why? What do you love most about it?
JG: I had to save money when I was 16 to start training at an academy back in Ecuador. My parents were not big fan of combat sports. I have always liked fighting for some reason. At the time it just happened that a friend was training and I found out about the academy through him.
DV: What has been your greatest challenge? How did you/do you overcome it?
I like to think that all my fights have been a big challenge at the time. I like to always test myself. But the biggest challenge outside the cage has been a tough injury (herniated disc in neck) I've been dealing with the past year. Now I am better and training tougher little by little.
DV: What or who keeps you motivated?
The vision I have of myself. To be the very best.
DV: What is your ultimate goal? What does it take to get there?
To be the best. To be a UFC champion which is the biggest MMA organization at the moment. That's my long term goal. It takes a lot of sacrifice and consistency.
DV: What do you love about teaching? Have you had a breakthrough moment with any students?
It's awesome to have the ability not just to pass on knowledge but to give confidence to someone. To see a true transformation in a person.