Mike Russow Contemplates Life of a Full-Time Fighter Before UFC on Fox in Chicago

Mike Russow

Chicago police officer meets Einemo on Saturday’s prelims

CHICAGO – At 35 years old, Mike Russow is still dreaming of what it would be like to quit his day job to be a full-time fighter.

He got a little taste of the good life not long ago. Russow, a Chicago police officer, burned through all his vacation time to more fully focus on his fight against John-Olav Einemo on Saturday at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis – a home fight for Russow in Chicago.

And that little taste let him keep his dream alive. A win over Einemo might push it a little further.

“That would be my dream (to leave the police force and just be a fighter),” Russow told HeavyMMA on Wednesday. “Right now, I just got married recently, with a baby and a mortgage, and I’m just not in a position where I can just train full time. I can’t take that chance with no insurance, but my dream would be to fight solely for the UFC and just do that. Before this fight, I used a month’s vacation time and I got an idea of what it’s like for these guys to just do this – eat good, sleep good. I loved it.”

Russow (14-1, 1 NC, 3-0 UFC) hasn’t lost in nearly five years. Against Todd Duffee at UFC 114, though, Russow was getting beaten, and soundly, for 12 minutes – before landing one of the biggest comeback right hands in MMA history. He won a Knockout of the Night bonus and learned a great lesson about never giving up – not on dreams, and not in fights.

“It was a one-sided fight – I couldn’t get anything going,” Russow said. “I broke my arm in the first round, and I think it affected me a little because I couldn’t grab on to any single legs or anything like that. Maybe if I didn’t break my arm he’d still be beating my (butt). But I think it just goes to show if you stay in there long enough, it’s not over till it’s over.”

On Saturday, he’s hopeful he can leave the United Center – in front of plenty of friends, family and Chicago cops who will be there cheering him on – without as much lopsidedness leading up to a dramatic finish, like he had against Duffee.

“I really worked a lot on my standup game because he’s a world champion jiu-jitsu guy,” Russow said. “So even if I do get the takedown, I don’t know if I want to play in his world, anyway. I more or less want to control him and keep this thing on the feet. I’ve been working on my boxing, and I think it’s all coming together. It’s just taking a little bit longer for me because of the job and everything like that. I’m taking baby steps to get there.”

UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis features a three-fight “tripleheader” main card on Fox that airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. The main event features a light heavyweight bout between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. In the co-main event, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping fight with the winner moving on to face champion Anderson Silva this summer.

The Russow-Eineo fight is on the preliminary card, which airs on Fuel TV start at 5 p.m. Eastern.