Sid Bice has known how to compete since he started wrestling at 4 years old.
The South Dakota native was a two-time state champion in high school, and although he ranked as one of the top talents in the state, he did not travel far when he decided where to wrestle in college. Bice chose NCAA Division II powerhouse Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Soon, he started to look elsewhere to fill his competitive void. Mixed martial arts was a natural fit.
“I got done wrestling after two years at Augustana, and I still loved competing,” Bice told Sherdog.com. “I still had a lot of fight left in me, and something was missing. I started training in a nearby gym in Winner, South Dakota, and I fell in love with it. I had a couple of amateur fights, and I had a passion for it.”
He put down roots at a local gym in his hometown of 2,238 people but soon realized he needed more out of training if he wanted to achieve his goals. Bice put his research skills to use and settled on a new home 500 miles away in neighboring Colorado.
“I went to Denver to train at Factory X Muay Thai under the guidance of Marc Montoya,” he said. “I just wanted to go somewhere to get some real training.”
After meeting the team briefly and engaging in a few training sessions, Bice packed up his belongings and moved to Colorado to join Factory X and start his career. Relocating allowed the flyweight prospect to train with established veterans Chris Camozzi, Joe Warren and other experienced fighters. After adjusting to his new home and gym, Bice debuted in 2013 and won his first three professional fights under the Sparta Combat League banner. He finished two of his opponents by technical knockout.
His efforts drew the attention of the Resurrection Fighting Alliance, who signed him for an RFA 16 matchup with Eric Shelton in July 2014. He took a unanimous decision from Shelton and followed it with another decision win over Shaine Jaime at a Titan Fighting Championship event. At 5-0, Bice was booked opposite Pedro Nobre at Titan 38 on April 30, 2016 and took aim at a high-profile regional victory over the Ultimate Fighting Championship alum. After an exciting back-and-forth battle, Nobre was awarded a split decision and Bice experienced defeat for the first time.
“It was a tough fight, but I thought I did enough to win the fight,” Bice said. “It was a good fight where I learned that I could get hurt and keep pushing against a tough guy.”
Bice also learned to trust his instincts.
“I wanted to outstrike him, but I should’ve stuck to my wrestling,” he said. “I just need to go out there and trust my abilities and look for the finish.”
Bice rebounded to win his next two bouts. He will carry a 7-1 record into his showdown with Ken Porter in the Legacy Fighting Alliance 19 co-main event on Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota -- the same arena in which Bice competed as a collegiate wrestler. He expects a difficult test, but the opportunity to showcase his skills on the AXS-TV stage excites him.
“Once you get to this level, everyone is pretty good,” Bice said. “I am going to use my wrestling to grind him out and then allow that to open up my power shots. I am hoping for a knockout. I had a dream I knocked him out in the second round.”
His renewed confidence stems from a successful training camp, as he was afforded the opportunity to training alongside former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, a fighter he openly emulates.
“I try to use a lot of footwork and counters and use my wrestling to wear them out,” Bice said. “For a 125-pounder, I have some power in me. I have dropped my opponents in almost every fight, and you don’t see that too often at flyweight.”
While focused on Porter, Bice has plans for the future.
“I want to beat Kenny and then fight for the LFA flyweight title,” he said. “Hopefully, I can fight Nick Urso for the title. He fought one of my teammates, and I wouldn’t mind settling that grudge.”