Newly-signed UFC welterweight Orion Cosce (7-0) really loves Dragon Ball Z. Like, really loves Dragon Ball Z.
Cosce sports a large tattoo of Shenron, a dragon from the hit anime TV show, on his arm, which the 26-year-old uses to punch, wrestle, and submit seven men over the course of his young MMA career. Every fight of Cosce’s has ended the same way: a stoppage victory for Cosce.
Much like his favorite anime character, DBZ’s Goku, Cosce views himself as an unbeatable fighter, channeling his rough childhood into a positive force in the cage.
“What’s interesting about Dragon Ball Z is their power really comes through their anger,” Cosce told MMA-Prospects in an appearance on Parker’s MMA Show. “I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of Brolly. He went crazy not because he was so angry, but he was actually angry because he’s so powerful.”
You can feel that anger when Orion describes his journey through fighting with his brother Louis (7-0). Growing up in Humboldt County, California, Orion was surrounded by violence, drug addiction, and general struggle, but that never bothered him. He and his brother Louis were determined to make it out of their humble beginnings in whatever way possible.
“My brother and I never allowed the troubles we went through to let us become low lifes,” Cosce recalled. “All these people were always crying and hugging me saying ‘I’m sorry [about what we went through],’ and I would sit there thinking, ‘I’m not.'”
He describes wrestling since the age of three, boxing with his brother in the house, and even getting into fistfights before and after the school bus rides to and from the reservation.
They had a ‘fight club’ of sorts as kids, challenging local kids to brawls that involved punches and kicks like the ones they saw in their beloved anime, with one rule: no strikes to the face. Though one might think this was to prevent any kind of serious injury, the Cosce’s were more concerned with something entirely different: getting caught. Preventing strikes to the face ensured the fights could continue, as the teachers and counselors overseeing the kids would not notice the damage these children inflicted on one another.
Clashing with local kids helped harden the Cosce brothers for the world of professional fighting.
In fact, as young fans of now-defunct Japanese MMA organization PRIDE Fighting Championships, Cosce describes how people like the legendary Wanderlei Silva (35-14-1), Fedor Emelianenko (39-6), and Rampage Jackson (38-14) were heroes to him as a child. As he grew to watch the now-UFC owned Strikeforce FC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) as an adolescent, action fighters like Diaz brothers Nick (26-9) and Nate (20-12) became legends of the Cosce household.
However, these days Cosce has different favorite fighters.
“My favorite fighters are me and my brother,” Orion decreed, adding an ominous warning to other fighters. “If you fight anywhere near my weight class at 170, you’re in my way.”
After melting heavy betting favorite and undefeated regional champion Matt Dixon (9-1), another UFC hopeful UFC President Dana White’s eponymous Dana White’s Contender Series, Cosce’s devil-may-care attitude about everyone in the fight game turns from fun to downright terrifying.
A balanced, powerful fighter with instincts to finish every fight, Cosce cannot be denied as one of the most exciting prospects in the show’s history.
“I want to be known as one of the most exciting fighters and one of the most dominant fighters…I don’t plan on ever losing.”
The parallels between Orion and his beloved Goku are undeniable: Cosce, like the DBZ protagonist, is a fighter who truly believes he is the best in the world but trains as if he has miles to improve.
He describes his rigorous mental training techniques, visualizing every victory before it comes into fruition just as Goku does throughout the anime.
His commitment to his brother is unparalleled in today’s fight game, serving as the Goku to his brother Louis’ Gohan.
While he once took inspiration from the legends of MMA lore, he now only focuses on emulating a fictional fighter so legendary, he saved the Earth many times against the fiercest villains in the universe across multiple epic sagas.
MMA finally has its real-life Goku, and his name is Orion Cosce.