Baltimore's newest champion: Tenyeh 'SkinnyMan' Dixon

On a clear night in Baltimore, I walked into Team Raww Dogg MMA gym to interview local fighter, Tenyeh “SkinnyMan” Dixon. The Baltimore native was preparing for his next fight, the Xtreme Caged Combat welterweight championship on April 21 in Philadelphia.

Team Raww Dogg is your typical MMA gym with wrestling mats on one end and a boxing ring on the other. The walls are adorned with fighting posters, dozens of trophies and awards are stacked on a table. Hip-hop music is blasting throughout the gym, but it's low enough to hear the electronic buzzer-alerting fighter of the time.


Looking at Dixon sparring, he reminded me of a young Tommy Hearns, a long fighter with a thin build and quick hands. Standing at 6 feet 3 and fighting in the welterweight (170 lbs.) division, Dixon is often much taller than his opponents.

When you take a look at his professional record of 8-8, you wonder if MMA was the sport for him. But, within minutes of watching him sparring for several rounds and seeing him work on his ground game with three different fighters alternating in and out, you can see that his professional record doesn't reflect his skill level today. He is a far better fighter than his record shows.

I asked him about the four losses (all by submission) in his first five fights. "I knew I wasn't ready," he said. "Opponents would do stuff that I wasn't prepared to defend. I either never seen it before or never had it done to me before and when it was (put) on me, I didn't know how to escape. I clearly knew I was losing these fights due to my lack of experience. Back in 2003, there weren't any amateur MMA circuits like it is today, so you either turn pro or go home."

On this night, Dixon is working on his ground game with veteran MMA fight James "Binky" Jones. Jones a former Mount St. Joseph wrestler who came in to help Dixon work on his take-down defense and shore up his escape moves.

Dixon was preparing to take on undefeated MMA fighter Rich Patishnock (4-0) for the XCC welterweight championship belt in Patishnock's home state of Pennsylvania. He also took this fight on two weeks notice.

Dixon is used to fighting in the opponent's hometown. He has fought 15 of his 16 fights outside of the Baltimore area. His manager/trainer Cordell Hunter believes that fighting in the home state of your opponent can make you mentally stronger. "When you go to the other fighter's hometown, you learn how to quiet the crowd, get the win and become a complete fighter," Hunter said.

Fast-forward to Saturday night and Dixon is on letting his friends know about the outcome of his fight. "[Patishnock] threw a lazy leg kick and I caught it [and] dropped him and went to work on him until he was out cold," he said.

Tenyeh “SkinnyMan” Dixon is now the new Xtreme Caged Combat welterweight champion after his victory just 31 seconds into the first round. Baltimore's newest champion is looking forward to getting right back into the gym and defending his title.