Not all the fighters on tomorrow night’s Strikeforce card are heavyweights. Read ahead and learn more about preliminary prospect John Cholish

Age: 27
Height: 5’11
Weight: 155
Record: 5-1
Team: Renzo Gracie BJJ

Background: The New Jersey native was a star wrestler in high school and continued his career for academic and wrestling powerhouse Cornell University. The multi-talented athlete balanced a division one sport along with a degree in Applied Economics. The balancing act continued in his professional career as Cholish worked for such prestigious companies Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch and accrued titles in the Ring of Combat and UCC. Cholish has become a star pupil under famed Jiu-Jitsu instructor John Danaher, at Renzo Gracie’s Academy in New York City and trained with the best in the sport including Georges St-Pierre, Kenny Florian, and Frankie Edgar.

What’s Next: A fight with Strikeforce on February 12 against TUF alum Marc Stevens. A powerhouse card that includes Fedor Emelianenko taking on Antonio Silva in the first round of the Heavyweight World Grand Prix. With the card taking place in New Jersey, the local Cholish has a chance to showcase his skills on a national scene with the home crowd support.

How it Started: After taking up Jiu-Jitsu as a hobby, Cholish jumped into the fight game after roughly six months of training in 2007. A a game but raw fight, Cholish, lost by third round submission. The loss forced him to take time off from fighting and developing his base beyond wrestling. In 2008, Cholish returned and won the 1st of a five fight win streak.

Why You Should be watching: Rarely will you see a fighter as dynamic as Cholish both in and out of the ring. An articulate mind who has strived in the corporate world, now an Energy Broker working in natural gas and commodities, he has used that same work ethic and discipline to excel in MMA. Taken in by some of the best fighters and coaches in the world, Cholish has flourished finishing his last four fights by submission and TKOs.

Three Questions with Cholish:

Five Ounces: A criticism of fighters who have had full time jobs in the past has been concern that they do not have the time to meet the training requirements it takes to succeed at the highest levels. Do you think that is a fair assessment?

Cholish: I follow the base model that I used at Cornell. I had a full course load, wrestling practices, and competition, and you have to structure your time to handle it all. Our head coach, Rob Koll, would tell us “its not the amount of hours you put into something but the amount of effort you put in to those hours“. We had a no bullshit practice, you get in on time, you have goals to achieve, you bust your ass and get your work done

Five Ounces: You have a one fight deal with Strikeforce, have you thought about what a win here does for you in terms of securing a spot for you with Strikeforce or the other big organizations like UFC?

Cholish: Since I recently started working as an Energy Broker, work has been very busy so I will need some down time after this fight. My manager will handle what happens next for now I am taking it one fight at a time. Instead of training 6 or 7 days a week I will train 3 or 4 days a week.

Five Ounces: Since you do work a full time demanding job, who are you able to spar and train with at night?

Cholish: I work with Danaher, my striking coach Joe Sampieri, and Erik Owens who is a blackbelt in BJJ. I have also spar a lot with UFC fighter David Branch. My boss actually gives me a hard time as I used my vacation time to train. Recently I have trained Edgar, Ricardo Almeida, and I spent time with GSP who is a great friend and the guys at Tri-Star MMA.