From Football to Fighting, Medler Runs Through All Opposition
Derek Medler used to tear through defensive lines as a university football standout. Now he tears through his opponents in the Armageddon Fighting Championship. The former Wilfred Laurier standout running back and league MVP attained many rushing records in his college career before injuries and troubles with the law put an end to his Canadian Football League aspirations. Now, Medler is a rising Welterweight star who has finished every opponent in the first round.
Dominating the football field as a college star, Medler’s life took a drastic turn as he headed towards the world of criminal activity and drug use. His downward spiral continued in 2003 when he he was sentenced to house arrest for 18 months with the ability to work and train in an attempt to make the CFL. Unfortunately, hamstring injuries ended his CFL career before it really began and Medler was cut from the Toronto Argonauts.
Most people would not have been able to overcome such adversity, but Medler headed to the west coast and started his MMA career. Medler contacted Jason Heit. Heit, the founder of Island MMA and a owner of the AFC, began training Medler 7 years ago. It was not long before the combination of Jason Heit’s skills and Medler’s ability to absorb his lessons began to make Medler’s star shine. He spent a couple of years honing his skills in the amateur ranks, which proved to be a great experience. Medler won a Canadian Tough Guy championship and several golds in submission tournaments and it was soon apparent that Medler’s training and athletic prowess were at another level.
In 2009, Medler turned professional at AFC 1 where he debuted against Brandon MacArthur, a seasoned veteran of the cage and good striker. Medler took a minute to figure MacArthur out then overpowered him using quick strikes, a strong muay thai clinch, and knees. Medler then dragged him to the mat and ended it with a crucifix with elbows and punches for a stoppage late in the first.
Medler went on to fight in AFC 2, 3, and 4 where he finished all his opponents. In fact, the Island MMA fighter has yet to see the second round. This weekend, the 4-0 fighter will face his toughest challenge in Jarod Milko at Armageddon FC 5 on April 2. Like Medler, Milko is undefeated and has also beaten MacArthur in the first round.
Medler discusses his opinion on his upcoming opponent,
“(Jarod Milko) has some good aspects to his game. He’s a Judo black belt and is well rounded. His clinch is good and he has got strong sweeps. He’s good on the ground and with ground and pound against the cage. Thats basically what I noticed. He will be my toughest guy to date.”
How will Derek handle his well-rounded opponent? Although he has watched video on Milko, Medler will not formulate a specific game plan. He states,
“I don’t have one strategy in particular, I never do. What if that fails, you panic a little. My strategy is to go in well-rounded. We all start the fight on our feet and that’s where I feel most comfortable. I am going in looking to strike and if Milko wants to come in for a clinch I will deal with that. If we take it to the ground, I am confident that I have better skills there as well. I will adapt to what ever he has…”
Medler, who predicts a first or second round KO when pushed for an answer, has come a long way in a short time in MMA. Like many other former football players, the toughness, discipline, and commitment instilled through years of practice, seems to translate very well to the mixed martial arts game. Medler is also quick to thank his trainers for his fighting ability,
“Jason Heit and Stan Peterec from Island MMA and Peterec’s Kick Boxing are both part of the same complex and are my trainers. Jason Heit is my MMA instructor and Stan Peterec, a World Champion Kick Boxer, has improved my stand up tremendously. My sponsor’s and training partners also help me a lot.”