Explore the college wrestling years of Aaron La Farge, and the accolades unearthed present an athlete rehearsed in success.
A 2013 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American for Montana State-Northern University, and 2015 NAIA All-American for Oklahoma City University, the Californian was runner-up at the 2015 NAIA Wrestling National Championships at 125lbs.
Discover the events that preceded his pinnacle 2015 season, however, and Aaron La Farge’s achievements extend beyond conventional merit.
Whilst holding the top NAIA ranking in 2014, La Farge was involved in a car accident.
The injuries sustained rendered La Farge unable to compete, and ended his 2014 season.
“You’re actually one of the first people to ask me about that,” La Farge says.
“I wasn’t able to train, it took a lot of physical therapy to get back, to rebound, and not just pick up where I left off, but come back better than before” La Farge admits. “It just really tested me as a person – as a human being”.
“I realized [from] what I went through and what I experienced is there’s nothing that can hold me down. You can nail me down, but I’ll get back up” La Farge explains.
In addition to forging his most successful collegiate season upon his return, La Farge was awarded the NAIA Champions of Character award in 2015, an award bestowed upon the athlete that best demonstrates integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
Fast-forward to the present day, and one can now understand how La Farge has consistently remained undeterred in the face of any challenge.
“It’s just a part of my story,” La Farge says. “It’s built perseverance and determination; more determination to succeed in my story, and hopefully somebody can take something from it, and keep moving forward”.
La Farge currently looks towards October 6th, 2023, where the 32-year-old makes his LFA debut on the main card of LFA 169, against Alden Coria.
Training out of Millennia MMA and Lucas Leite BJJ, La Farge enters LFA 169 holding a 5-3 professional record.
Whilst his professional MMA career was previously interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, La Farge has fought stellar competition across his four most recent bouts since that 700-day hiatus.
August 7th, 2021, La Farge competed at Californian-promotion Lights Out Xtreme Fighting, defeating Armenia’s Artur Arutyunyan at LXF 5; La Farge was the first athlete to defeat Arutyunyan in a professional bout and remains the only athlete to defeat Arutyunyan professionally to date.
12 weeks later, La Farge returned to Lights Out Xtreme Fighting at LXF 6, taking the current LFA Flyweight Champion – Cody Davis – the distance; the decision went against La Farge, however.
May 19th, 2022, La Farge secured the SMASH Global Flyweight Championship at SMASH Global 10, following a unanimous decision victory over Israel’s Raz Bring. Bring, a Bellator alumnus who went 3-0 with the promotion, was competing for the first time since winning the Bantamweight Championship of Ukrainian-promotion B1 MMA.
100 days later, La Farge made his Cage Fury Fighting Championships debut at CFFC 112, taking Canada’s James Clarke the distance in a unanimous decision loss; Clarke entered that bout as the BTC Fight Promotions Flyweight Champion and B2 Fighting Series Flyweight Champion and has since become the Flyweight Champion of Ontarian-promotion Durham Fight Series.
“A lot of people don’t know… Artur… he actually beat Cody Davis in a grappling match” La Farge reveals. “Cody [Davis] didn’t want to fight him. I fought him, and submitted Artur; [he’s] a very good fighter too. Then I fought Cody Davis. People thought I landed the harder shots. I landed more takedowns. I had more submission attempts… it was a very good fight. His own team – his own coach – thought he lost the first round, [and] thought he won the second. The third round was back-and-forth; it could’ve gone either way. So unanimous decision – it’s one of those decisions where the fight was a lot more competitive than what it is showing”.
“Then, I turned around and fought another champion in Raz Bring” La Farge continues. “I beat him there, dropped him, dominated the fight, and then took [on] a two-promotion champion at the time, which was James Clarke; [he] was the BTC champion in Canada and was also a regional [champion] here in the United States, and he fought in the GAMMA tournament finals in Singapore. I’ve fought nothing but tough competition”.
Needless to say, strong performances against such opposition have made it difficult for La Farge to secure new opponents.
“Fighters just didn’t want to fight” La Farge explains. “As you can see… I’m fighting tough opponents, I’ve never been finished. I’ve actually probably outworked most of my opponents; even [against] James Clarke, it was 1-1 going into the third [round]. So people see these things, and they’re like ‘Wow this is not a test opponent, this is someone that’s gonna come to win, that’s hungry’”.
“I dunno” La Farge laments. “Maybe opponents see these things, so it’s hard to get them to sign on the dotted line. I had about four fights fall through [over the past year]”.
With both eyes locked firmly on Alden Coria, La Farge is eager to make a statement on his promotional debut with a standout performance at LFA 169.
“This is for me to let LFA know how much business I mean” La Farge asserts. “How serious I am about getting to either a title shot, or to the bigger promotion – the UFC”.
UK-based viewers can watch Aaron La Farge vs. Alden Coria at LFA 169, live on UFC Fight Pass from 2 a.m. on Saturday, October 7th, 2023.
The author wishes to extend his utmost gratitude to Aaron La Farge for making this article possible.
Photo sourced from @Aaron_LaFarge on X (formerly Twitter)