Inside the makeup of our Southlake Clinic, walks an array of healthcare professionals. There are of course physicians, nurses, medical assistants, procedure schedulers, and so on and so forth. Among the group walks an x-ray technician. He’s casual, polite, and like many of our staff members, gentle and caring. One could even say he fits the typical healthcare mold. But what many of his peers around him may not know is, outside the walls of Spine Team Texas, Edwin Figueroa, or shall we say, “El Feroz”, knows how to kick it in an entirely different environment- the world of UFC MMA fighting.
Edwin’s history of fighting dates all the way back to when he was six years old. His father started training him off and on in the wee hours of his childhood before advancing him to competitive training when he turned 12. As Edwin grew older, he began to train in multiple disciplines, winning major championships such as the Golden Gloves Boxing Championship, Texas State Kickboxing Championship, Texas State Submission Grappling Championship, and Pro International Belt MMA Championship.
In 2007, Edwin became a professional mixed martial arts fighter, changing the outlook of what his adolescent life would be. Preparations for the fights consisted of long hours of training, strenuous weight cutting, and the undeniable mental battle of toughness. It wasn’t until one particular fight in 2010 that Edwin caught the eye of the UFC organization. Edwin was up against the #1 rank in Texas, Johnny Bedford, who he would battle it out with to see who would win the title belt.
At the time, Johnny walked in with over 30 fights on his resume, while Edwin only had a mere six fights, barely moving past the second round for all of them. Media and press flooded the arena, ready to see Johnny add another achievement to his trophy shelf, however El Feroz, or shall we say, “The Fierce”, knocked him in the second round taking home the title. As one could imagine, this was Edwin’s favorite fight as it was a turning point in his MMA career.
The UFC immediately signed him following the fight, adn the trajectory of Edwin’s fighting career took off from there. Edwin traveled around the world and wan awards including the UFC “Fight of the Night” award and bonus. Before hanging up his gloves in 2016, Edwin also took home the titles of being ranked #1 in Texas and #13 in the world.
We Asked Edwin:
So how do you go from fighting strangers from across the world for a living, to working in an imaging room for a spine care facility in Texas? “I’ve always liked helping people. My faith is important to me, so it feels good to serve others, especially those who are in need or hurting,” Edwin explained. When we sat down with Edwin, he also described that he still uses many of his fighting skills in his new career. He noted that resilience, patience, and the ability to adapt to change were some of the key takeaways he learned from his years in the arena and that the camaraderie was what he loved most about working at Spine Team Texas.
Also, Edwin noted that he brings a unique perspective to injuries as seen in X-rays. In all his years of fighting, he has sustained and recovered from various injuries and witnessed countless others. However, Edwin surprisingly shared that, “you would expect some of our patients to have been injured by some extreme sport, but it’s just regular day activities that can lead to serious injuries.” This information inspires him to be more careful with his own spine health.
One of the final questions we asked Edwin was what people would be surprised to know about him. To our amazement, his answer had nothing to do with his years of fighting or the many accomplishments he won during that time. It’s simple and humble. “I’m into classic cars. I have a 1968 Camaro.”