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Travis Fulton - on the road to the top

Bob McCauley 11/1/99

When the Gracies brought BJJ to the states, they never envisioned the rapid rise of American submission fighters. The Brazilians had started at their art at an early age and participated in the no-rules contests throughout their lives.  Yet in just a few short years, the Americans have started to move into the forefront of the previously all-Brazilian stronghold.   Many fighters names can be brought to mind, Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Dan Severn, Pat Militich, etc., but there is another name that is emerging that may dominate the sport in the future – that of Travis Fulton.

Travis started training in submission fighting four years ago at the early age of 18.  He brought a well grounded background of being an Iowa-State wrestling competitor, a golden-gloves boxer, and an American Kenpo second-degree black belt.  Fulton is also a professional boxer with a 2-0-1 record.  After witnessing the first few Ultimate Fighting Championships, Travis’s life took a new vision.  Before really training for submission fighting, he signed up for a no-rules bout with Dave Strasser, which he lost after Dave got him in a rear choke hold.   Undaunted, he later beat one of Pat Militich’s student and got another lease on this new life.  Unfortunately after four more wins, he was beaten by Matt Anderson, a veteran of the UFC who outweighed Travis by 15 pounds.  He realized that he needed to train with someone.  In his next fight, he beat Dennis Anderson and this again gave him the confidence to continue.  He moved to Davenport and trained for two weeks with Pat Militich and this was the start of a new Travis Fulton.

His next fight was with Brad Kohler who was 5’4” and weighed 235 who was from the Hammerhouse school run by Mark Coleman.  This fight was during the time where the fighters were bare knuckled and head butts were legal.  This fight, put on by the Hook-n-Shoot in July, 1997 was the longest recorded match (52 minutes).  Even though Travis lost he saw the light at the end of the tunnel and went on to submit Dennis Reed in the first round of his next fight, proving his credentials as a submission fighter.  He next went to a draw with Jeremy Horn.

Fulton’s next fight made an IFC record  with a 14 second knockout of Paul Moeller in North Dakota.  By then he a completed 82 fights, including two draws with Jeremy Horn.  He lost his next fight with Dan Severn and again to Pete Williams in UFC XX when he was caught in an arm bar.  Travis says that he was just too excited and made some big mistakes.  He then beat David Dodd in UFC XXI.  At that time, Travis began traveling overseas.  He fought Sanae Kikuta in Japan where the fight went to a draw.  Kikuta had previously fought Renzo Gracie to a 50 minute draw. 

Travis’s record is now 60-16-5 and 8 of those fights were in the his first 2 years. His record in the last two years is 48-8-4, and these losses were to top fighters.  One of these fights was a 15 minute battle with Vladimar Matyushenko.  Travis won the Vale Tudo in Brazil last year with wins over Alex Naldo Cerquiera, Augusto Ferreira, Luis Clavlio, all BJJ practicioners.  In November 1998, Travis won the SuperBrawl in Hawaii, defeating Kawika Pa´lhui, whom he beat in one minute with an arm bar.  He has fought twice in the Pancreas, going to a draw both times. Travis holds the record of winning the IFC three times.

Fulton is a full time instructor in Davenport, Iowa where he trains 50 students at the Martial Arts Institute.   One of his students, Mark Jaquith recently went the distance with Dan Severn in a 15 minute match.  He uses this as a base to keep in shape to fight up to three times per month.  As an indication to Travis’s conditioning and physique, he has only been hurt one time and that was with a broken nose.  He is ready to fight anyone now and would love to battle Rickson Gracie, but the fight he really wants is with Frank Shamrock, whom Travis feels is a good fighter, but has had incredible luck.

Travis is an intelligent fighter who analyzes his opponents in detail over and over before a fight.  His analysis of Frank Shamrock makes him think that he wouldn’t have any problems with Ken’s little brother.  Travis has developed a “Tank Abbott reputation” of being a party boy fighter, but that is far from reality.  He is a dedicated professional that trains as hard as anyone. However, he doesn’t mind having the reputation – it causes his opponents to be overconfident.

Travis tries his best to avoid street fights, but they have in the past come looking for him.  In one such fight, he was jumped by a very large aggressor, who went away quickly after Travis put a hole in his cheek.  One of Travis’s passions is golf where he goes to relax and get away from the world of aggression.  However, in a recent trip to the links, he was attacked by a rowdy college kid on the greens who came at him swinging a 9-iron.  Travis quickly neutralized the golf club and sent the man off the golf course badly beaten.

At 22 years of age, Travis is just maturing as a submission fighter.  His star is rising and his sights and vision is on one thing – to be the recognized no-rules fighting champion, recognized in the US, Japan and Brazil. 


Running Record



 0-1  L-choke  Dave Strasser
1-1 W-choke Wes Jamieson
2-1 W-KO  Clayton Miller
2-2 L-choke  Scott Morton
3-2 W-sub Dan Croonquist
3-3  L-choke Ryan Jensen
4-3 W-TKO Angelo Rivera
4-4 L-dec   Brian Dunn
5-4 W-TKO   August Porquet


W-sub Dan Croonquist
7-4 W-TKO  Matt Andersen
8-4 W-KO Dennis Reed
8-5  L-TKO    Brad Kohler
9-5  W-choke  Dennis Reed
9-5-1 D     Jeremy Horn


W-KO   Paul Moeller
10-6-1 L-choke  Matt Lindland
11-6-1 W-sub  Bob Magee
12-6-1 W-choke Mike Delaney
13-6-1 W-choke  Eddie Moore
13-7-1 L-dec      Noe Hernandez
14-7-1 W-TKO  Ben Pearce
15-7-1 W-TKO  Andy Schmidt
16-7-1 W-sub      Jim Theobald
16-8-1 L-choke  Jim Czajkowski


W-choke  Greg Ford
18-8-1 W-sub      Jamie Schell
19-8-1 W-sub  Sam Adkins
20-8-1 W-TKO  Courtney Turner
21-8-1 W-sub  Bob Waters
22-8-1 W-TKO   Jason Powers
22-8-2 D  Jeremy Horn
22-9-2 L-sub  Dan Severn
23-9-2  W-choke Jason Powers
24-9-2 W-sub   Clayton Miller
25-9-2 W-sub   Jaymon Hotz
26-9-2 W-choke Jason Lautzenheiser
27-9-2 W-TKO  Jeremy Morrison
28-9-2 W-choke  Eric Hill
29-9-2 W-KO George Allen


W-sub   Brad Anderson
31-9-2 W-TKO Marvin Jones
32-9-2 W-sub  Dave Johnson
33-9-2 W-choke   Devon Love
34-9-2 W-choke  David DeRosa
34-10-2 L-dec    Brian Gassaway
35-10-2 W-choke Davey Conger
36-10-2 W-KO  Felix Lee Mitchell
37-10-2 W-sub      Kawika Pa'alhui
37-11-2 L-dec    Mario Roberto
37-11-3 D    Larry Parker
38-11-3 W-sub    Robby Ruby
39-11-3  W-sub   Albert newberry
40-11-3 W-TKO Tom Sauer
40-11-4 D  Joe Geromiller


W-TKO    David Gianotti







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