Peter Grajcar knows he is going to be a UFC world champion.
Grajcar has had two professional fights and won both. He won six of his bouts as an amateur and suffered one draw, which he says was a judging mistake. He’s competed in a “couple” grappling tournaments and medaled in all of them. He is six feet tall, 25 years old and has found his life purpose.
In 1999 Peter’s dad placed him in Tae Kwon Do classes. He quit when he was 11 years old, right before he earned a black belt. He started kickboxing just for cardio exercise.
“I was lifting weights,” Grajcar said. “I just wanted to push myself in another aspect, in a full body workout.”
As fate would have it, there was a Cambodian kickboxing gym near his home. Peter had no intention of becoming a world champion, or even competing. But, he says, you only know if you’re good or not if you’re in an actual fight.
He fought in unsanctioned kickboxing and Muay Thai matches until the gym shut down. Peter knew instantly what his future was going to be like.
“After my first fight there, I knew from then on I needed to be in MMA,” Grajcar said.
In Ottawa, he found Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness Academy. It was there that he would start training and fighting in amateur MMA. He also started working on an architecture degree.
“I was enjoying architecture, but it always felt as if I wasn’t meant to do that,” Grajcar said.
Peter decided that if he wanted to compete as a fighter he would have to do it while he was young and able; school would have to wait. He dropped out of Algonquin College after his first semester and looked for work that would allow him enough time to train as much as he needed.
After taking the leap of faith, quitting school and believing in his talents, Grajcar felt like it still wasn’t enough. There weren’t always training partners at his gym that were devoted, that set their sights high and had goals in MMA. He needed to be with people that were better than him.
Grajcar knew he wasn’t getting the training he needed. He knew he had to take another leap of faith into his mixed martial arts career. It was Dennis Kang, his Jiu Jitsu coach, that ultimately gave him the extra push.
“Dennis told me, ‘I believe you can go far, you’re young, you’re hungry, you need to be with the best,’” Grajcar recalls. “‘You’re only young once, you’re talented, you need to dive in now.’”
So he dove.
Because of Kang’s confidence, Peter took off to Tristar Gym in Montreal for a week and stayed in Tristar’s dorms. That week was all he needed to know that he was meant to be training there.
“Steel sharpens steel,” Grajcar said. “Tristar is the best gym in the entire world.”
The UFC hopeful moved to Montreal four years ago to train at Tristar, when reality set in.
Grajcar doesn’t speak French, which makes living in Montreal difficult. When it comes to employment, there are a limited number of opportunities for him; he can only work manual labor or jobs that don’t involve interaction with the public. Grajcar has worked as a mover, as a cook in restaurants and catering companies and other odd jobs to get by.
“I lived comfortably in Ottawa,” Grajcar said. “I can’t get a job here in Montreal because I don’t speak French. Life got hard when I started to chase my dream.”
Because of his new experiences of living “uncomfortably” Grajcar wants to make it big, reach the top and give back to his community and to those who don’t get to live comfortably.
“It’s incredibly hard to get by trying to chase a dream and achieve it,” Grajcar said.
But Peter says that he has found his life’s purpose. Since his very first fight, he knew he wanted to be UFC champion.
“Its the best sport in the entire world,” Grajcar said.
As for the more immediate future, Grajcar will face Svetislav Nikolajev in the Hard Knocks cage next month. Grajcar is confident in his skills despite Nikolajev’s experience.
“He doesn’t phase me,” Grajcar said. “All I need to do is play my game and I will come out with the victory, I’m sure of it.”
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