“Da Protege” D.J. Linderman (15-7) will be making his Titan Fighting Championships debut on May 16th as part of the TFC:28 Brilz vs Davis card. He will square off against former UFC fighter Walt Harris (6-3) and has gone back home to train with all his former partners that he started with on day 1 to prepare him for his upcoming battle.
“I’ve been getting in good training with good training partners like Bo Hamilton, Josh LaGrange, Ryan Wilson and Tommy Davis. These are the guys that got me started 8 years ago and my head coach, Tommy Davis is the one that coined my nickname “Da Protege” and it stuck. I’m getting my career back on track now.”
D.J. is 2-2 in his last 4 but started his career at an unprecedented 9-1.
“The chemistry just wasn’t the same in Vancouver, Washington with Rick Story as it wasn’t in other places as well. I’m going back to the old training and the ground and pound that I made a living off of. ”
Linderman says his style is “Like an old school Mark Coleman for ground and pound and I love to mix it up with some dirty boxing like Randy Couture did.”
With that style he’s been able to lay the hammer down on MMA veterans like Devin Cole, Mario “The Big Hurt” Rinaldi and even one of the guys in the main event of the Titan Fighting 28 card; Raphael Davis, whom D.J. TKO’d in the 3rd round of their Bellator 38 Heavyweight Quarterfinal Bout.
“I was kind of bummed at first when I found out he was in the main event, they gave me the option to take the spot against him but I didn’t want to miss weight like I did against Gerald Harris at Legacy. He was one of the greatest fights I ever had and I’d love to rematch him whether he wins or loses, we had a great fight last time and honestly if we fought again it could end in a draw.”
“However my hardest fight had to be against Robert Drysdale.”
D.J. lost that affair in the opening round of their Legacy Fighting Championship contest.
“He’s got to be the most skilled of everyone I’ve faced, him and of course Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. I definitely would want to rematch him.”
Rumble is coming off the performance of his life by ousting Phil Davis by unanimous decsion upon his return to UFC 172 last weekend.
Linderman has been all over the map when it comes to top MMA promotions, he’s laced his gloves in WSOF, Bellator and Legacy. He’s picked up some tricks of the trade and more education than a scholarly university both on and off the mat. D.J. plans on translating that knowledge into a profitable future in his life after fighting and to bring the sport of MMA to be more prevalent in his home area.
“Politics in the sport is something you see, I like checking out the ins and outs of the business side of things, from managers to promoters everybody has a job to do and I’ve found that out along the way. See where I’m from I’d like to bring MMA back to northern California and southern Oregon. I’d like to be a promoter within the next year. I’m also soon to be part owner of the gym I’ve come back to “Do-Something MMA”. I love working with the kids and the teenage classes and teaching them the sport.”
Da Protege may have a soft spot for the kids, but come May 16th he will turn on his “Hulk-Smash” mentality when he enters the Fans Fighters First Titan Fighting cage against Walt Harris in what is scheduled to be the 4th fight of a 6 fight main card.
“I’m coming out to make a statement. I’ve been working alot to not stay in front of him, like a Frankie Edgar style, he’s really athletic, but he’s not going to be able to go 15 minutes. He’s going to become flat footed and I’m going to take him down and I’m going to ground and pound the s#%@ out of him. The key will be cardio in this fight.”
Fans will not want to miss this clash of legitimate heavyweight titans of the sport. Tune in to CBSSports on May 16th to witness the Titan debut of Da Protege.