If you can build a life you don’t need a vacation from, you win. And Alex Morgan is winning.
For the past year, Morgan, 28, has been running the show as the owner and head coach at the new Tristar Gym Rive-Nord, just a short 30-minute drive from Tristar Gym Montreal.
Between his own training and his coaching, Morgan said his life revolves fully around MMA, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“It’s a passion. The way I see it is I don’t feel like I’m going to work. My life is all about martial arts, and it’s an athlete’s lifestyle,” said Morgan in an interview with MMA Empire.
“It’s very busy and takes a lot of time, but at the end of the day I’m able to live from my passion. I feel blessed to always be with my friends, training with them, showing them martial arts and just having fun.”
Morgan has been part of the Tristar Gym family in Montreal for 10 years, nearly his entire MMA career, learning under Firas Zahabi and training with some of the best fighters in the world.
Tristar Montreal is home to some of the best fighters in the world, including recent UFC Hall of Fame inductee Georges St-Pierre, and Morgan said there’s no better place to train in Canada.
“This place is so high-level. You can’t even imagine how good the people are there. There’s guys from all over the world travelling to come train at Tristar. These guys are all monsters. They’re fighting in the UFC, One Championship, and all the big leagues.
“You can go into any gym in Canada and it’s not the same as Tristar. It’s a high-level gym, high-level coaches, and high-intensity training. Sometimes the training is harder than the fights.
Morgan fast into action
Morgan began his MMA journey at 17 years old, initially starting to train just to stay in shape for football season. But he went on to fall in love with the sport quickly, and progressed at fast pace as well.
And after just nine months of training, Morgan made his amateur debut in successful fashion and never looked back.
“I was training like 11 times a week, and I was dedicating all my time and my life into that.
“It was quick, but I think I was ready. I had like seven wins in a row in the amateur circuit at the beginning before having my first loss.”
Prior to his start in martial arts, Morgan played football at high level, a sport he started playing when he was six years old.
He was finding enough success in football in high school and one year of college that playing professionally was an option he was considering at one point.
But after finding his love for MMA and discovering how skilled he was in that sport, he said he had to make a choice on which one to pursue.
“It’s so much harder to be drafted in football because there’s so many people and it’s hard to get people to see you.
“But with MMA, it’s more easy to get seen. It’s not easy to get in the UFC or another big league, but it’s more easy to get seen. If you put in the work, people will see it and you will be in the spotlight.”
Morgan taking it step by step
Now 13 fights into his professional career with a 9-4 record, Morgan is beginning to move into that spotlight.
Morgan said his goal and dream has always been to make it to one of the big promotions one day.
And while that goal still remains, he said he’s now taking more of a “one step at a time” approach, rather than focusing solely on the big picture.
“When I was younger, I was always looking to the top. I didn’t take the time to go step by step.
“Now, I want to go one step at a time and hopefully make the UFC or One Championship.”
Although he hasn’t reached the big stage yet, Morgan has faced no shortage of elite competition so far in his career, including the likes of current UFC fighter Charles Jourdain and top Canadian featherweight prospect TJ Laramie.
Morgan and Laramie have squared off twice since 2017, with the former walking away with a first round knockout win on both occasions.
Laramie is widely considered to be one of Canada’s next prime candidates to earn his shot in the UFC, and although Morgan has defeated Laramie twice, he said he understands why the hype is surrounding Laramie instead of him.
“He was able to keep fighting because there was a promotion in Ontario (Prospect Fighting Championship) that kept promoting him. For me, I didn’t have any chances to fight. If I had another two wins after him in the same time as he did, maybe I would get frustrated about it.
“But he’s good. I have nothing bad to say about him; he’s a good fighter. I think it’s more about the fact he was more active than me and it put him more in the spotlight. This is MMA; when you fight, you get the highlights. When you don’t fight, you’re kind of in the shadows.”
Morgan’s last outing in the cage was back in Dec. 2018, a first round submission loss to Jourdain in his title defence at TKO 45.
He said the loss was a tough one to swallow at the time, but also brought on several positive changes in his overall life that he feels have made him even better today.
“My last loss opened my eyes on a lot of things, and changed a lot of things, both in my personal life and my career.
“I’ve done a lot of things since that day, things that I wasn’t sure about before, but thought about them. But after the loss, it opened my eyes and made me do the good changes for my career and my life.”