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Gracie Barra New Mexico’s Dave Binder Makes MMA Debut at Jackson’s MMA Series XI


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Gracie Barra New Mexico’s own David Binder will face off against Henry Barahona at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts Series XI this Saturday, August 10 at Tingley Coliseum. Binder earned a spot in the finals of the 104.1 The Edge Fighting Challenge and was selected by Ultimate Fighting Championship and Jackson’s MMA fighter Bubba “The Menace” McDaniel for the 155 lbs. tilt. This will be the amateur MMA debut for Binder but something he has been looking to get into for quite some time.

“This was a new challenge for me,” he said. “I’ve had over 100 jiu jitsu matches in my career. Jiu jitsu is my passion but I wanted something new. I started feeling a little too comfortable in my matches and I wanted to try to do something out of my comfort zone.”

Most fighters are given the proper nudge they need to make the leap in to the deep waters of MMA. On any given day or night, the who’s who of MMA talent can be seen rolling in and out of a Gi at any of Gracie Barra New Mexico’s three locations. Among those was Binder, who caught the eye of several of those elite fighters.

“I work with a lot of guys on the mats,” said Binder. “I work with Diego Brandao, Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Clay Guida and a few others. All of them have given me a lot of support. They’ve always told me if I wanted to give fighting a shot they would help me out and that I was always welcomed at Jackson’s MMA.”

Binder’s wife, Jessica, also had some influence on the situation and some notable partners in crime.

“My wife used to be a co-host with Buck and Dex at The Edge,” he said. “One day on the radio they were announcing The Edge Fighting Challenge and they called me out by name to come and step up to the challenge. I started getting phone calls asking if I had heard them talking about me on the radio. Well, once the challenge was set there was no backing down.”

Binder, who has earned his brown belt under Professor Roberto “Tussa” Alencar, is the Program Director at Gracie Barra New Mexico’s eastside location where he spends eight to 10 hours a day doing the day-to-day functions of the school. On top of that he is a father and husband. Adding Full-Time Fighter to his resume has added a few more wrinkles to his daily routine.

“It’s be a challenge for sure,” he said. “Luckily Professors Tussa, Don (Ortega), Rafael “Barata” (Freitas) have all been super supportive. They are all competitors and they know how it is to try something new and have the drive to do something you really love.”

Coming into the tryouts for The Edge Fighting Challenge, Binder had to be one of, if not, the best grappler in the bunch.

“I feel very confident in my grappling,” Binder said. “I feel very confident in my takedowns. My goal is to never be on bottom. I want to gain a dominant position and smash my opponent. I definitely feel like I have an advantage in the takedown and grappling department.”

He was quick to admit that like most jiu jitsu guys, he has some room for improvement when the fight is standing.

“I have some ground to cover,” he admitted. “But I’m having a lot of fun learning. It’s something that even after the fight, I’m going to pursue.”

While in preparation for this fight Binder has learned under Coach McDaniel. It’s no surprise that McDaniel was impressed with Binder’s ground game but he also saw an opportunity to build on the talent he possesses.

“The guy is a great grappler,” said McDaniel. “He has a great understanding of the ground game. He’s also got great wrestling and knows how to get guys down in to his world. He’s a martial artist for sure. But for right now we are trying to make him a mixed martial artist. We know what his strengths are. Now we are just trying to make him better in different areas.”

McDaniel also noted that Binder was a great student.

“He listens very well,” he said. “He does what you ask him to do. As things are going on, we can give him instructions and he is very good at adapting to what you want him to do. He is really easy to work with.”

Jackson’s MMA Series XI tickets can be found at

Written/Photos by: Daniel Archuleta –

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