MMA Fighter Colton Smith Stays Match To Serve

“Fit to Serve” is sponsored by the Transcend Foundation.

Colton Smith is successful for many reasons, but the two he may be best known for are his career in mixed martial arts and his service to America. The first military influence he had in his life was his grandfather, who fought in the Korean War.

“He received several honors and a Purple Heart from the Korean War. My uncles served as well – one as a Marine and another as a paratrooper right after the Vietnam era.”

He credits his childhood for his MMA origins, admitting that he fought a lot. Smith shared his family on both sides were known for their toughness and athletic prowess. His mother was a bodybuilder and arm-wrestler while his father competed in boxing. Young Colton was active in four sports. Wrestling was the family favorite, though. His uncles kept up with the sport at all levels. Smith found out that he could wrestle and even potentially get paid by joining the military.

“I joined the military during the height of the War in Iraq, and I chose to be an Infantryman,” he said. “Shortly afterwards, I found myself in Iraq. Wrestling honestly drew me to the military at first, but I quickly found myself loving being an infantryman and what all that entailed.”

Even though he was serving his country, the focus on MMA began while he was deployed in Iraq. Smith was part of a takeover when he had his first encounter with his future destiny.

“While we were taking over a district in Western Baghdad, there was a market, and I got my hands on some DVDs of UFC 1 to 43. I saw those and thought that I could get into that.”

Courtesy of Colton Smith

Smith had the distinction of being both an active duty servicemember and professional fighter. He made it all the way up to the Ultimate Fighter 16, and he won that competition to earn a UFC contract. He got no special treatment from the military during that process, which is what he is most proud of.

“It wasn’t until the day before I flew to Las Vegas to fight for getting in the house that the Army finally approved as long as I had the leave time built up, and I did.”

Another aspect he took pride in was the mental fortitude he had throughout the competition. He was seeing other fighters mentally break down while he was holding firm during that competition.

“The way I was looking at was a few short years ago, I was living on a bridge in Iraq eating MRE’s and running patrols. Fast forward a few years, and I was living in a mansion, making a wish list at night that the production team would have at 0800 the next morning, and I could focus solely on becoming The Ultimate Fighter.”

Between his time in the UFC and other organizations, he accumulated a 7-5 win/loss record. He also made history by being the first athlete to be both active duty in the military and an active UFC fighter.

He said, “I was at a crossroads because while it appeared I had the world at my fingertips, I still had a burning desire in my heart to serve my country. I just couldn’t ignore that feeling.”

MMA Fighter Colton Smith eating dinner with UFC President Dana WhiteCourtesy of Colton Smith

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu third-degree black belt still compete whenever he can and is still active in improving for self-defense and self-improvement.

“I am 36 years old now, but I still get on the mat and wrestle.”

Smith is also thriving in the business world. Aside from owning Enlisted Nine Fight Company, a successful and growing MMA academy, he is also a prominent part of Downrange Supplements, a supplement company that was founded by another Fit to Serve featuree – Kevin Flack. Smith is listed as a part of the company’s Task Unit.

“I believe in what Kevin, SEAC Troxell, and the entire Downrange Supplements team is doing,” he stated proudly. “The products are phenomenal, and it’s been great watching them grow. I think they are going to keep accelerating over the next few years.”

While the 18-year veteran from Virginia has been on a unique journey thus far, he has no regrets and is proud of what he has done and continues to be of service today. He also feels that military service would be a great avenue for young Americans to consider for their future because of what it has led him to since he made the decision to join 18 years ago.

“I wouldn’t change it for anything. I would stay serving and fighting because it made me the person I am.”

For more information on Downrange Supplements, go to . You can follow Smith on Instagram @coltonsmithmma .

M&F Senior Military Editor Rob Wilkins contributed to this article.

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