Coming off a big win against TUF alumni Collin Hart, Revel, 35, is looking to keep the ball rolling. Revel’s promising MMA career is preceded by receiving a black belt and a decorated run competing in jiu-jitsu.
His introduction to the legendary grappling sport, however, was what some might call a rude awakening.
“I went to one of my first MMA classes and some little guy armbar’d me” Revel said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I was like what the heck is that?! He said try some jiu-jitsu buddy, and I said I’m never going to let that happen again. I dedicated everything to jiu-jitsu; I wanted to get really good at it. And what I did for a solid seven years was just train BJJ. I did a little kickboxing here and there, but my focus was on jiu-jitsu.”
The decision to transition to MMA was a pretty easy one for Revel as he had spent the better part of a decade competing in BJJ tournaments, and his love for combat sports was as strong as ever.
“I competed like crazy in jiu-jitsu and the next thing for me was to try MMA. I’ve always been a super competitive person, even if it’s a board game with my family, I want to win,” Revel said.
Also, I love the whole mentality when people think they’re tough. I love to compete against the tough guys and prove them wrong.”
However, Revel’s transition from strictly jiu-jitsu to MMA hasn’t come without its share of challenges.
“There’s a learning curve for sure, and I think for a long time even my coaches would always say that I’m a jiu-jitsu guy. When I was competing in BJJ. I was mostly a guard guy, but now I’ve focused more on when I can land those strikes and less about the sport of jiu-jitsu,” Revel said.
“Bibiano Fernandes trains at our gym and he’s a monster on the ground. One of the key things he always mentions to me is that he’s not staying on his back. In one of my only losses, I spent too much time waiting for the submission on my back. I wasn’t forcing myself up off my back and I ended up losing the decision. I’ve learned from that.”
Like many decorated jiu-jitsu practitioners making the transition before him, Revel’s main focus has been improving other facets of his game to round out a complete MMA arsenal.
“Wrestling was never a huge staple in my BJJ. I was good at pulling guard and getting submissions from the bottom,” said Revel.
“Those are the two things I’ve spent the most time on; striking and wrestling. I spent lots of time with different wrestling coaches and private wrestling coaches, just trying to get the best coaching around. The last five years I’ve had the same coaches and I’ve made some awesome improvements.”
The Revolution Martial Arts product is currently riding a four-fight win streak and is 8-1 in his last nine outings.
The majority of Revel’s victories have come via submission, but the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt showed he can get it done on the feet back at BFL 55 when he knocked out TJ Koehler in round one.
Revel has put the time in and said he’s confident wherever his upcoming fight with Angus goes.
“I’m really focused. The last four fights I’ve been really comfortable exchanging on my feet. But for me, it’s whatever is easiest. If he’s going to come out and swing for the fences, then I’m probably going to come underneath and take him down. Otherwise, I’ll try and stay sharp and pick him apart on the feet,” Revel said.
“That’s my game. I’m pretty successful at finishing people and that’s always what I go for. I want to finish somebody and I want to finish them fast.”
When it comes to his opponent, Revel always remains level-headed.
He said one punch and the trajectory of a fight is altered completely, and sometimes it’s all about limiting the risks.
“Regardless of his record, I would never take someone lightly in this sport.” Revel said.
“I know I had a few opponents lined up and things didn’t work out. He was willing to sign, so I’m just fortunate to fight. I’m excited for the opportunity and I’m excited for another tough test. He’s a seasoned fighter.”
Although it’s already been quite the journey for Revel, he has no plans of getting off the train anytime soon. He said he’s never felt better as an athlete.
Right now, the focus lies on defending his middleweight title and improving his record, but, without a doubt, Revel has positioned himself to start getting noticed by the world’s biggest promotions.
“I don’t know how all that plays out. I’ve talked with my management crew at Iridium, but getting the W is all I’m worried about right now,” Revel said.
“That’ll improve my record to 10-2 and that’s definitely a great looking resume. I’d be on a five-fight winning streak. Obviously, the goal is to fight at the highest level one day, so I’m going to keep pushing and hopefully good things come to those who work hard.”