Just two weeks ago, Legacy Fighting Alliance returned to The Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas, for LFA 62: Kenney vs. Cachero. On the card, local favorite Austin Lingo (6-0) kept his undefeated career rolling with a lightning-quick, 25-second submission over Angel Cruz (5-4).
The origin of “Lights Out”
“I knew he was coming in with a [good jiu jitsu] game, but I caught him in that first round,” Lingo told The Body Lock. “I caught him with that right hand.”
Austin Lingo, 24, is a product of the red-hot Fortis MMA gym, also located in Dallas. Nicknamed “Lights Out,” Lingo offers his most recent opponent’s own words as explanation enough for the reasons behind the moniker:
“He said he had never been hit harder in his entire life. After the fight, he was like, ‘Man, holy crap.'”
That high level of striking has been refined for years. Lingo began training in martial arts at a young age after his father found out he’d been involved in a street fight.
Lingo started boxing, along with training Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He became so enthralled in the latter that he went across the globe to train in the birthplace of Muay Thai, Thailand.
“My dad, he hooked me up with the USMF [United States Muaythai Federation], USA Muay Thai team, to go to Thailand, and I was one of fifteen Americans out of that. I was the youngest kid on the team in Thailand,” Lingo recalled.
Training in another world
Like many foreigners who train in Thailand, Lingo recounts the training as an unforgiving – but effective – process.
“Thailand, it’s like two-a-days, and the weather out there is really what kills you ’cause you’ve got that humidity. It’s humid, and it’s just horrible.”
“I remember waking up, and I’d just be training. At the end of every pad session, they’d tell you to do, like, thirty kicks on each leg. Everybody else is doing ’em, so you got to do ’em just as fast, or you’re gonna look dumb. I remember just sweating like crazy. [The local fighters] don’t even train with shirts on; they just have those little Thai shorts. That’s all they wear, pretty much the whole day, because it’s so hot out there,” said Lingo.
Back in the states, Lingo has had an incredibly successful start to his MMA career. After turning pro in 2017, Lingo has fought – and won – six fights, with four finishes to boot.
What’s next for Austin Lingo?
Widely regarded as a top featherweight prospect, Austin Lingo is focused on the next stages of his career. As for what that means, Lingo only sees two options, one of which is rapidly approaching:
“It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but I’m thinking [Dana White’s Tuesday Night] Contender [Series]. It’s right there; my coach said, ‘If there’s another fight before then,’ though, ‘I’mma throw you in it,'”
But, Lingo adds, not just any fight.
“If it’s for the title on LFA or something… ’cause the LFA belt’s up for grabs now, so, hey, if they want to throw me in there, I don’t care. I’ll jump in there; fight real quick. Whatever,” Lingo added with a laugh.
Lingo credits his coach, Sayid Saud, with the push to get him on the Contender Series.
“My coach has said some stuff about it. He showed me some emails that he’s been sending, like with my name on it, but, I mean, everything’s not confirmed yet. He’s talking to [the UFC] about me, and he’s making sure that they’re trying to get me on there.”
The fraternity of Fortis MMA
Saud, the head coach of Fortis MMA, has by all accounts created a strong – and successful – community down in Dallas. Lingo couldn’t sing the praises of Saud, Fortis MMA, and his teammates loudly enough.
“It’s awesome, man. They’re always boosting me up, helping me out with stuff. We’re a team over there. We always just work it out and just go hard, you know?”
Lingo pointed to those teammates, attributing his recent successes to their advice and training, as well.
“[UFC welterweight] Geoff Neal: he’s helping me out, [UFC featherweight] Steven Peterson: he helps me out with my jits, Damon Jackson, he was the LFA champ, now he’s going to PFL… man, it’s pretty awesome over there.”
“It’s a lot of big names, and we’re all just in there grinding.”
“It’s like, ‘Wow. These are the guys who are the best,’ you know? It’s awesome.”
Whatever the future holds for Austin Lingo, it’s safe to say that he’s planning to leave his mark.
“I get that contract, get that UFC title, whatever. I’ll call out someone in the UFC. I’d say, four fights in the UFC, I’d call out [someone in the] top fifteen, and then after that, I’d try to have fifteen, twenty more fights; hopefully in the UFC, and hopefully staying undefeated.”
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.