If you hadn't heard already, it's fight week.
That's right: Pinnacle FC 14 will be coming at you this Friday night. Live from the Syria Shrine Center in beautiful Cheswick, Pennsylvania.
The fight card features a host of names you're probably familiar with (Dominic Mazzotta, Devonte Smith, Mark Cherico), but also some that you probably wouldn't be able to pick out of a lineup.
That's what we are here for. One fighter stepping up to face one of the biggest names on the card is D'Juan Owens. Also known by his geographically awesome nickname, "Dirty South" will be taking on Cherico in a lightweight battle.
Owens is the most experienced fighter on the card. He holds a 14-10-1 record as a pro MMA fighter, and also had 14 official amateur fights. He also told me that one of his losses wasn't an offiical MMA bout in Russia, so he's really 14-9-1 if you want to get technical.
Maybe one of the most dangerous things about Owens is that he likes to play spoiler. Multiple times before he's been brought in as an underdog, only to pull out the upset. See his fights against Nathan Landwehr and UFC veteran Dustin Pague as examples.
"Anyone who's fought Cherico is well aware of the love for him in PA but if they're true MMA fans, they'll appreciate my skill, showmanship, and heart," Owens told me. "After I beat him I'll definitely leave PA with some new fans."
He's also incredibly well-rounded. Of his 14 wins, 5 are via (T)KO, 5 are via submission, and 4 are via decision. Basically, he can win a fight anywhere.
He trains at The MMA Institue in Richmond, Virginia, and has spent time training all over the south. He's also competed in some of the top regional promotions around the country, as well as four times in Peru.
Owens is also a United States Marine veteran and competitive break dancert as a youth. One other interesting thing is that he's a VERY serious chess player. MMA can be like human chess sometimes, they say.
But in all actuality, D'Juan is a regular standup guy and seems to be someone worth rooting for (assuming you're not a member of the Cherico family). He's got a wife and two daughters at home, and he's fighting for the very thing that many in local MMA strive to achieve: a shot in the UFC.
He also runs the East Coast department of a non-profit called The Hip-Hop Chess Federation. The founder describes exactly what that is:
We need more of that. A lot more.