On the Saturday before his next fight, Bryan Nuro was at Impact Jiu Jitsu in Beaverton, teaching class and prepping for his upcoming title fight. As I walked up to the entrance at Impact, I could see through the glass door and there sat Nuro, rehydrating by munching on a cucumber. Down another 10 pounds for the week, Nuro was undoubtedly hungry as he prepared to enter the final week of his weight cut. Cutting weight is a dance he knows too well; this being his fourth fight of the year he has grown accustomed to the grueling process. He seemed as comfortable at his gym as I am on my couch. Impact is home base for Nuro, who actually lives just a few blocks away from the gym. His calm demeanor was welcoming but not necessarily what you would expect of a young mixed martial artist, especially one who is fighting for the CageSport Interim Lightweight title this Saturday, December 17th in Tacoma, Washington.

Bryan Nuro is a very focused athlete. He is the type of person who uses hard work as a way to create success. As a high school wrestler, Nuro admits he wasn’t the best. He never had the type of success that would translate to the college level. However, even in times when he was not on the winning end of things he stayed focused and learned from those loses. His love for competition and passion for staying active left him with a void to fill when he finished high school. One day at the request of a friend, Nuro agreed to go take a class at Impact Jiu Jitsu. His friend didn’t end up enjoying it but for him, it was exactly what he had been searching for.

“I didn’t want to just do something just for the sake of staying active,” Nuro said. “I wanted to find something with a purpose behind it. My classmate asked me to come take this class with him. He didn’t come back but I did. At first it became a hobby, then it became a passion, which ended up influencing what I did in school. It made me want to learn about the body so I could be a better fighter. Because really, I didn’t have too much direction except for going to school at that point. Then it sort of turned into a lifestyle and a career.”

[quote align=’right’]”I wasn’t a great wrestler in high school. I had a lot of losses and I always wished I had won more. But those loses taught me that there is a very thin line between winning and losing.”[/quote]With all of his attention turned to this newfound passion, Nuro was looking to his past as a way to improve his future. His past struggles on the mat in wrestling always served as a reminder of what it would take to win at the next level.

“I wasn’t a great wrestler in high school. I had a lot of losses and I always wished I had won more. But those loses taught me that there is a very thin line between winning and losing. A lot of the time the difference is not [that much]…it doesn’t take much to tip the scales.”

In the challenging times during his career, Nuro has looked back at those days on the wrestling mat as reminder of how easily a loss can become a win. After his first ever loss this past May, he couldn’t help but think that he just didn’t get over that thin line from his wrestling days. He knew in his heart he should have won the fight but it was that fine line that he failed to cross which gave him a blemish on an otherwise perfect record.

“The thing is, even though I lost that fight by decision, I don’t feel like I lost. It was close and I could see how it could have been scored either way. But going into that fourth round I felt [my opponent]break. When you compete with someone and you are in that moment you can just feel it when they stop competing.  That’s the point when I knew I should have changed up my game plan earlier. I still think I won the fight and I think he knows who really won too.”

Nuro went on to say, if anything, the loss took some pressure off him. Being undefeated comes with the burden of maintaining that perfect record and for Nuro, he didn’t need that pressure to drive him, he was already pushing himself hard enough. At this point his focus is on the future and what he has to do to move up to that next level as a professional. The move up to the UFC or Bellator isn’t as secure a future as other professional athletic endeavors. For Nuro the time is now and he has set himself up for success outside the cage should this journey not go the way he hopes.

“Some guys aren’t as lucky am I am with my situation coaching here at Impact and training over at Nike. I have that to fall back on…[But still] I feel like I have to try and make it to the next level soon…I don’t want to be that fighter who makes it to the UFC and just gets mopped up in two fights and is done. That’s not the goal. I want to find success there, I will not drag my feet.”

Nuro hopes to use this last fight of the year as a way to propel himself forward into 2017 with some great momentum. A big win at CageSport 43 next Saturday would be more than another belt around his waist, it would be an exclamation point on a year that challenged him like none had before. The focus, determination, and passion that he has for this sport are what are sure to see him through to the end and next Saturday is not exception.