I started training in the Martial Arts at age 7 in Syracuse, NY. I loved learning karate as a kid and achieved my Black Belt at 10 years old! I fell in love with the sparring and did an exhibition kickboxing fight at age 14! I also began teaching karate at that time and continued throughout high school. I decided that I wanted to continue Martial Arts as my career and moved to Florida to pursue it full time. After moving to South Florida I continued to train in Karate, Kickboxing and started learning Jiu Jitsu.
I did an amateur kickboxing fight in 2005, and opened one of the Karate school’s new locations in 2011. A few years later I began my training at American Top Team and started to train more Jiu Jitsu and MMA. I did several BJJ tournaments and then did my first amateur MMA fight in 2015.
Over a 2-year period, I went 4-0 as an amateur and won the XFN Flyweight Championship. I signed with Titan FC in 2016 and made my pro debut that December. I am now training for my 2nd professional MMA fight with the goal to soon be in the UFC! Outside of fighting I have a great career as a personal trainer and continue to teach kids karate classes each week!
Q&A Session Between David Durao and Elite Sports
Question: What inspires you about BJJ and MMA?
Answer: I am inspired by how much you can continue to learn and grow in BJJ and all aspects of MMA. Even the best have room to improve and it makes it addicting to continue the learning and growth every day!
Question: Who inspires you, in your past or present? Why do they inspire you?
Answer: I have been inspired by many female martial artists that I was exposed to growing up in Karate and now in the UFC. Early on it was in Karate where I had several examples of females who could fight and hang with the guys, but were also very feminine and beautiful. Later on it was Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey who opened the doors for women to fight on the bigger shows. Now, I have the pleasure of training with my inspirations and current UFC Champions! I train alongside Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Amanda Nunes, along with many other top female fighters at American Top Team.
Question: Any major accomplishments you’ve been able to achieve in that time?
Answer: I achieved my 5th degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate, I am a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu and won several BJJ tournaments including the Miami Open as a white belt. I went undefeated as an amateur MMA fighter and won the XFN Flyweight Championship Belt.
Question: What are your goals for this year? Next 3 years? Next 5 years?
Answer: My goal this year is to win my 2nd professional MMA fight in October and hopefully have another opportunity to fight and win by the end of the year! In the next 3 years, I would like to be in the UFC and in 5 years to have fought for and won the UFC Flyweight Championship!
Question: What do you think it takes to be a champion in your sports?
Answer: It takes a non-quitting attitude and an extremely hard work ethic. You have to work hard every day to get better no matter how you feel before the training. Whether you win or lose the fight or even the rounds in training, you have to keep a positive attitude and keep going!
Question: How long have you been training?
Answer: I have been training for over 22 years between Karate, Kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu and MMA.
Question: How often do you train?
Answer: 2-3 times per day, 6 days per week
Question: Who is your favorite fighter?
Answer: Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey because they show the world what a women can achieve in fighting world.
Question: Do you have a go-to finishing move?
Answer: As an amateur fighter my go-to finish was an arm bar which I won 2 fights by! My more recent favorite submission has been the arm triangle and hope to get it in my next fight!
Question: What sort of gear do you usually keep in your gym bag before hitting the gym? Do you have different items for specific days?
Answer: I keep almost everything in my bag since, I train MMA and have so many styles to prepare for! I always have my elite sports hand wraps and MMA gloves in the side pocket. Then depending on what training I have; I keep my gloves, shin guards and head gear with me!