Stephen Speck has a mixed martial arts win on his fighting resume, and he has a chance to add another one tonight when the Francis Scott Key athletic director competes at Shogun Fights XIII at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.
No matter the outcome, however, Speck said this is, finally, his fighting finale.
"I feel solid. I'm extremely excited and very postiive," Speck said about his 155-pound bout against Nic Nicholas, the first of 12 scheduled on the Shogun card. "I like the matchup. I think it will be a good contest."
Speck, 40, has a one-inch height advantage (he's 5-foot-10 to Nicholas' 5-9) but said he expects the fight to be even based on both fighters' experience. Nicholas hails from Petersburg, Virginia, and trains out of Black Sheep MMA.
Speck is a 1993 Liberty High School graduate and has been training at Carroll County Kenpo MMA in Westminster for a few years. Speck works with Josh Trainor, a North Carroll grad, who is also on the Shogun card tonight.
Trainor, a former county champion wrestler at NC, is slated to fight Baltimore's Jesse Stirn in a 135-pound bout.
Speck is 1-1 in his career, although he has a pair of forfeit wins to his credit over the last five years. But his loss came last year against Timothy Wade at Shogun Fights X. Speck and Wade fought at 148 pounds, and Wade won with an arm triangle chokehold in the first round.
Speck said the atmopshere and enormity of the moment got the best of him — "Unlike anything I had ever experienced in my life," he said — which is a big reason why he decided to keep training for a chance at one more fight.
"There will be no tripleheader retirement release or anything like that," he said. "This is it for me."
Speck said he knows his age prevents him from prolonging his MMA career, along with being married and having two young sons and a steady, demanding day job. But the drive to soak up one more experience in the octagon kept him going.