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BUTTERFIELD: 'It's like going through hell and then making it to heaven' Print E-mail
Written by Ben Pherson   
Monday, 15 May 2017 10:53

Cully "The Mason" Butterfield is returning to the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Friday night during LFA 12 at Mystic Lake Casino.

Butterfield is a Wisconsin native, but he wrestled collegiately at Itasca Community College in northern Minnesota. He started his MMA career in Minnesota, and he's bad to finally be back fighting where it all began.

Butterfield is 14-5 as a pro, and he's a World Series of Fighting veteran. He now trains at Roufusport in Milwaukee. Though he's just 27, Butterfield has been fighting professionally since 2009. He took several years off, but now Butterfield is focused on making a run to the UFC.

That run will start Friday night on live national TV when Butterfield takes on Minnesota standout Chase Waldon. Like Butterfield, Waldon is a Wisconsin native, but he's been a fixture on the Minnesota MMA scene, and he trains with Tom Schmitz at Spartan Martial Arts. Waldon is coming off a loss in world-title fight for RFA.

Butterfield and Waldon will square off as part of the main card at LFA 12. The event starts at 5:30 p.m., with the main, televised portion (AXS-TV) of the card beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are available from both Butterfield and Waldon, or online at www.cagetix.com

We caught up with Butterfield this week to find out how he's preparing for his return to national TV.

Prior to your return earlier this year, you hadn't fought in Minnesota since 2012. How nice is it to be fighting again in the Land of 10,000 Lakes?

BUTTERFIELD: It feels good to be fighting back in Minnesota. Had a lot of good fights here. I started my MMA journey here, training out of the Itasca wrestling room in Grand Rapids.

You and I have been around this sport for a very long time. Is it wild to think back to those days at Itasca, training and jumping right into an MMA fight in 2009? And even thinking about how much the sport has evolved since then?

BUTTERFIELD: Yeah, it's crazy to see what the sport has become. Safer, way more ways for fighters to make money, and the way people train is much smarter. Things used to be sketchy at events, I remember when promoters would convince people in the crowd to fight when fighters wouldn't show up.

Itasca was the king of producing MMA talent in Minnesota for many years. A few of those guys are still fighting; do you still keep an eye on them?

BUTTERFIELD: Honestly, not really. Most of the guys I trained with aren't doing too much now days. I got to see Garrett Olsen fight last year at Legacy. That's about it.

The first time I watched you fight was at Fearless Fighting Championship 4 back in 2010. Back then you were just a wrestler with lots of heart. Now you're far more well-rounded, training at a serious gym (Roufusport) and appear to be in the best shape of your life. When did that switch flip and you started getting serious about MMA?

BUTTERFIELD: When I started at Roufusport. I really learned how to be a more well-rounded fighter. There were a few years where I forgot who I was. But thanks to my team, I'm in the right place and stronger because of it.

I mentioned you're in the best shape of your life ... do you feel that's true? Are you in even better shape than you were in your college wrestling days?

BUTTERFIELD: Yes, I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm not a kid any more. When I wrestled in college I didn't have a real strength and conditioning program I was 100 percent on. I would practice hard, but I would party harder. Nutrition, that was a joke back then too. Now, I have a good handle on my nutrition, I go to another gym called Evolution Fitness for strength and conditioning. I work all day, and I hardly drink anymore.

What's it mean to have a rebirth here in MMA and to be able to fight at a high level for LFA?

BUTTERFIELD: It's a great feeling. I lost a lot in the last couple of years. To be able to take what's mine back ... it's like going through hell and then making it to heaven.

You're taking on Chase Waldon. He's from a good camp, and he's coming off a world title fight. What do you know about him and what will it take to beat him?

BUTTERFIELD: I know he is a strong striker. But plain and simple, I'm going to out-work him. I will not stop the pace. Where ever the fight goes, I will keep coming.

Considering he's coming off a title fight, where do you feel a win over Waldon would put you among LFA's 185-pounders?

BUTTERFIELD: I'll fight any 185-pounder in the division. I think beating Chase will put me in the title picture.

Why is Roufusport the best place for you?

BUTTERFIELD: The Coaches, the team, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

Who have been your main training partners for this fight, and how have they helped you prepare?

BUTTERFIELD: I don't really have main training partners. I work with anyone over 170. But everyone has been awesome in helping me get to the point I'm at.

What can fans expect from you Friday night?

BUTTERFIELD: They can expect to see The Mason break a man's will.

You've fought on national TV before. But is that still special? Does it still make you nervous?

BUTTERFIELD: Anytime you can be seen on TV is special. But I don't care about the cameras. It's just him and I.

All losses suck, but is there one on your record that stings more than the rest (and why)?

BUTTERFIELD: The Austen (Heidlage) fight. I wasn't right. I wasn't in a good place. If there was a fight I really wish I could take back, it would be that one.

What's your favorite MMA memory?

BUTTERFIELD: I have so many good memories, but I think when I beat Ed Nelson back in the day will always stick with me. It was my first pro win in someone's hometown. I had no fans and everyone hated me. But I went out, slammed him to the mat and TKO'd him right in front of all his friends.

You're still only 27, despite being in the game since 2009. Do you feel like you'll still be fighting for years to come?

BUTTERFIELD: Yeah. I've been taking care of my body. If you've watched my fights, you'll notice I haven't taken much of a beating. I want to be in the UFC, that's my goal. So until I know I can't make it, I'm going to keep grinding.

Your nickname is the Mason. Can you explain that one to the Minnesota fans?

BUTTERFIELD: My dad owned his own masonry and concrete business. So since I was 12, I worked for him until I moved to Milwaukee. Working the job has helped make me the man and the fighter I am today.

Finally, who would you like to thank?

BUTTERFIELD: I want to thank all my coaches and teammates at Roufusport. Taylor my trainer at Evolution Fitness. I also want to thank my girlfriend Janessa McNitt for being by my side through all the ups and downs.