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"Chocolate Thunder"


Victory MMA Head Coach Gilbert Jamal Smith started in Martial Arts with Wrestling as a youth. At the age of 17; he enlisted in the United States Army and served 6.5 years Active Duty. During this time he was introduced to Capoeira under Professor Mago in Colorado Springs and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) under Marcelo Garcia in NYC. After serving his country he worked as a Civilian Contractor for the government on Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq for 3 years. During his time civilian contracting he voluntarily trained military and civilian personnel in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). There he established a fight team called Victory Top Team. He traveled to Brazil, Thailand, and Amsterdam to train with some of the best coaches with the goal to grow and develop. After returning to his home in Colorado Springs, he changed the name of the team to Victory MMA and partnered up with Carlos Ibarra from Hustle Hard Boxing to form a World Class Training Facility.

His Most Recent Accomplishments Are:
  • MMA Fight Record 12 w, 6 L
  • Contestant on TUF 17 & 25
  • Founder and Owner of Victory MMA
  • RFA Welterweight World Champion
  • Sparta Combat League Middleweight Champion
  • Fight To Win 2016 Colorado State Championship Gi 200lb Brown/Black Belt, No-Gi 200lb Advance Division and Gi Absolute Brown/Black Division Gold Medalist
  • BJJ Brown belt
  • Master Degrees in Business Administration and Project Management
  • Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science
  • N.A.S.M. Certified Personal Trainer
  • N.A.S.M. Performance Enhancements Specialist
  • N.A.S.M. Corrective Exercise Specialist
  • TRX Certified Instructor
  • RKC Kettlebell Instructor


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Carlos began his martial arts training under the Chuck Norris system at the Imperial Beach Club at the early age of 6. At the age of 10 he started training in Taekwondo and within 2 years he received his Black Belt. From there he started Kickboxing and Boxing at the age 15 where he gained valuable striking experience as a fighter and as an instructor. In 1997, he joined the Army at the age of 19. After turning 22 years old and with 3 years of service in the regular army, Carlos began boxing competitively in the Army. During that time, he won Outstanding Boxer Award for the All-Army Championships and was selected as a member of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) in Colorado Springs. As a member of WCAP Carlos was a 3-time Armed Forces Gold Medalist, 2002 National PAL Gold Medalist, 2003 State and Reginal Golden Gloves Gold Medalist. In 2004, Carlos turned Pro with a 1st round KO at the San Diego Sports Arena. With a record of 10 Wins, 4 Losses, and 1 Draw (5 Kos), Carlos decided to retire and focus on training potential up and comers. In 2014, Carlos partnered with GJS and Victory MMA to form Hustle Hard Boxing. Under Carlos’ boxing tutelage, Gilbert won the RFA 170lb Welterweight Championship, got signed to Bellator, and was picked to be a contestant on TUF Season 25. He also Coached back to back Boxing Pro Debuters of Year for 2015 and 2016 and he was voted Trainer of the Year Runner Up for 2017.


Assistant Coach at Victory MMA
Dr. Dave Lauritzen is an Assistant Coach at Victory MMA. He has been with Team Victory since the doors opened back in January 2009.  During this time, he has studied BJJ and Muay Thai Kickboxing, while earning his Blue Belt under Gilbert Smith. His dedication to the team has become a valued part of the success of Victory MMA. He has competed in a few grappling tournaments including Colorado State Championships. He has coached and cornered many fighters in MMA and Kickboxing events all over the country and Canada, including in the UFC and Bellator. He has helped create teaching criteria and curriculum for the team. Dave is also a Chiropractor who has a very successful practice in CS. His office sponsors several local fighters including UFC fighters Gilbert Jamal Smith and Raquel Pennington.
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Aaron Cordova

Assistant Coach for Hustle Hard Boxing

Aaron Cordova is an Assistant Coach for Hustle Hard Boxing. His major role is running the Youth Boxing program and teaching new gym members the basic fundamentals of boxing. Aaron started with wrestling and was a Colorado State Qualifier during his junior and senior year of high school. In 2012, Aaron was involved in an accident at work that lead to having his right leg amputated below the knee. After 9 surgeries and 5 artificial legs he turned to boxing as a rehab program. Under mentorship from Carlos Ibarra he has been instrumental in the success of professional boxers Arturo Melo and Corey Bernard and is an undefeated amputee amateur boxer. Aaron is a registered Level 2 USA Boxing Coach, licensed corner with the Colorado Boxing Commission. In 2016, he started a boxing and fitness program for amputees called “Limitless Athletics.”