This last decade was filled with so many beautiful memories and a multitude of wonderful challenges.

I retired from professional MMA. I was unable to practice any martial arts for a few years due to a plaguing back injury. Slowly I was able to get back to doing what I love and did my best to literally see & relearn jiu-jitsu and martial arts from scratch.

Having time off to reflect on my career and having the opportunity to train with people like my brother Keith and Ryan Hall has greatly strengthened me as a martial artist. Reflecting back in my mistakes, seeing things with a different perspective and constantly analyzing my own movements and thought process has turned me into a much better martial artist and instructor. I also know that it is an endless path that I will continue to walk and learn from continuously.

Working for the UFC, Fox Sports and starting the Anik & Florian Podcast with Jon Anik have been amazing experiences.

A few years ago I lost my youngest brother in what was the most painful experience of my life.

I also met my amazing wife in a new city on the opposite coast from where I grew up. Welcomed an angel to this world in my daughter.

I opened up Meraki Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Jason Hunt in the BJJ capital of the world (Los Angeles). Hosted a new series on Discovery in a completely new sport to me called BattleBots with Chris Rose which has been extremely rewarding and fun. I called some of the most epic UFC and jiu-jitsu events in history. Made a lot of friends and I also lost some as well.

I’ve learned so many beautiful and valuable lessons these last 10 years. Some were difficult and some were easy. All were blessings however.

Our path is our path and whatever is given to us is for good reason. I think that’s where true faith comes in. It’s so important to accept challenges, FEEL them & allow them to change you for the better and know that you can get through it. If you don’t face them and you ignore them, which is the easier thing to do by the way, you’ll become weaker because of it.

Anytime you’re pretending to be strong and ignoring your weakness, you actually become less capable and avoid evolving for the better. How could the act of being strong or being successful be any different? Success, strength, mastery in any domain takes hard work and it is never a straight line.

You and your story is different from any other human on this planet, stop comparing and start trusting in yourself. This is how the great people throughout history separate themselves from everyone else. Your perspective can make you or break you. Make it positive and make it great.

I’m grateful for all of my days, all my experiences and all the people that have been part of my life. While it can be hard to see in the moment, we have to understand that life comes and goes like the waves of the ocean. All we can do is be present, breathe and do our best to ride them with skill, grace, composure and trust.

Remember, your ego is NOT your friend when the challenging waves hit. Perspicacity and humility is on the other side. Be patient and look within.

As I age, I feel a stronger bond with the warrior ethos. Despite not “fighting” professionally for several years, I feel the warrior bond strengthen within me. It’s different now however. I’ve been learning to let go more, I continue learning as much as possible, and I feel the need to create & meditate more.

As you enter into this new decade, I‘ll pass on a quote sent to me the other day from one of my artist friends who is also one of my martial arts students named Matt Herget. He sent me the following Hopi proverb: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” We mustn’t run from ourselves and we need to know that we are all the strength we need. I wish you all a wonderful 2020 and beyond.