Fighting is a sport that requires incredible mental toughness and a tremendous amount of will power. To be a good fighter, one has to be determined to be the best.
That is what makes Shippensburg University’s Brett Pastore so special.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, Pastore traveled the short distance to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to make his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut.
In the first bout of his career, the New York native defeated his 27-year-old opponent, Marc-Ari Lewis, in a three-round unanimous decision.
“For this fight, we did lots and lots of drilling. Getting good repetitions was key,” Pastore said.
“I’m going to be honest, I was really nervous walking to the cage. But as soon as I stepped in, I felt completely at peace, like I really belonged there. I felt very relaxed during the fight.”
Pastore’s life began with wrestling, and was accompanied by his lifelong goal of entering MMA.
Pastore started wrestling at a young age, and continued through high school where he posted 143 victories and two state championship appearances.
In one of those appearances, he finished in sixth-place.
Alongside the grind of his wrestling campaign, Pastore participated in high school track and cross-country.
His competitive nature followed him from Irvington High School in Tarrytown, New York to Shippensburg, where he pursued his dreams.
Pastore earned an honorable mention selection to the 2014–2015 Division II All-Academic Wrestling Team in his short stint with the Raider wrestling team. He then shifted his focus to boxing as a member of SU’s boxing club.
“I knew I wanted to do MMA since I was a kid — since I started wrestling at a young age. That’s what led me to start my boxing and kickboxing careers,” Pastore said.
Pastore quickly became a leader for the boxing club. Now, he is looking to put MMA on hold until the boxing national championships. Pastore has made an appearance at the national championships before, but now he hopes to take home a national title.
Pastore takes on new challenges and welcomes the changes in training and combat. Changing up his mindset and preparation will eventually help him to step out of the boxing ring and into the MMA cage.
“I had to make adjustments,” Pastore said. “MMA is a whole different world that’s constantly integrating styles.”
His background in wrestling, boxing and kickboxing gives him an immense advantage over his opponents. His fast feet from boxing and ground skills from wrestling help inside the MMA cage.
“I want to go pro in boxing, MMA and Muay Thai. My dream would be to fight as a full-time career,” Pastore said. Pastore’s incredible desire oozes from his excitable personality when it comes to the subject of fighting.
The 21-year-old has set his sights on March of 2017 for his second MMA bout. He hopes to continue progressing in the field of mixed martial arts. As his training continues, his mindset stays the same and he looks to get better every single day.
“What drives me is that I’m doing what I love. I love the chess match of fighting. I want to get better. I need to get better,” Pastore said.
With plenty of ambition in a sport that requires it, Pastore is setting himself up for success in fights to come.