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Craig “The Hammer” Oxley: It’s now or never

He may not be a household name in the MMA but Craig “The Hammer” Oxley is doing everything he can to become one in the near future.

Oxley (5-2) has been patiently waiting for his January 30 bout against David Gomez (4-2) during “Strikeforce: Miami”, and the time is now for the up and coming World Combat League veteran to separate himself from the pack in Strikeforce’s lightweight division.

The West Virginia native who says “he’s just a country boy at heart” started kickboxing as a kid working with Ernie “Lightfoot” Boggs before moving on to competitive Jiu-Jitsu the precursor to today’s Mixed Martial Arts.

Oxley is no stranger to competition, as a member of the prestigious “Team USA” at 16, he traveled to over twenty countries, winning a Silver Medal in 1990 and a Gold Medal in 1992. Craig went on to train with Graciella Casilla in boxing and kickboxing, eventualy turning professional in kickboxing in 1994. In 1998 he racked up another Gold for Team USA in Vancouver and became the World Champion. From 2005-2008 he fought for Chuck Norris’s WCL, World Combat League compiling an impressive record of 7 wins and 3 losses.

“My strong point is my stand up,” said Oxley. “I’m more of a striker than a grappler. I’m a good boxer, a good Muay Thai kickboxer. My hands are probably my biggest weapon seeing the power I have with my left hand is the reason I got my nickname “The Hammer”.

His game plan for Saturday against Gomez is to “keep the fight on his feet if he can”. The 26 year old Gomez stands almost 3 inches taller than Oxley’s 5’ 8’ inches, but Oxley says he’s not worried about his reach for one moment.

The 36 year old Oxley who trains at the North Miami Beach based “Fist Mixed Martial Arts” has been fine tuning his skills with BJJ blackbelt Shawn Chitwood from the Gracie Camp leading up to “Strikeforce: Miami”.

Craig knows full well that there’s a lot riding on the line for him on Saturday since he’s not at the beginning of his career, and he knows he may not get this shot again.

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