DENVER — Trevor Wittman starts off every morning reciting five things for which he’s grateful. Then he repeats the mantra "externalize the internal champion," a saying he lives by and aims to instill in others. Wittman encourages those in his life to embrace their inner being and passions.
Wittman has had many big nights as one of the top MMA coaches in the world. Saturday at UFC 268 will be another special night for him — and a unique one, as three of his fighters are competing in the three biggest fights on the main card. Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and strawweight champ Rose Namajunas will defend their belts in the main event and co-main, and before those fights, opening the main card, Justin Gaethje will step into the Octagon for a lightweight bout that could lead to a title shot. All three will have Wittman in their corner.
That might sound complicated for Wittman, but his goal is simple: Bring out the best from each fighter.
Two title rematches headline a deep UFC 268 card. Kamaru Usman puts his welterweight title on the line against Colby Covington for the second time, while two-time strawweight champ defends against Zhang Weili , whom she beat in April. Also, in a key lightweight bout, Justin Gaethje faces Michael Chandler .
Buy UFC 268 on ESPN+ PPV
UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2
• Saturday, Madison Square Garden, NY
• Main card: 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV
• Prelims: 8 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS/ESPN+
• Early prelims: 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+
Subscribe to ESPN+ to get exclusive live UFC events , weigh-ins and more; Dana White’s Contender Series ; and more exclusive MMA content. "To me winning is a part of life, it is not life," Wittman says. "If we focus just on winning, we’re missing the whole picture. Some of our losses have set us up for our greatest accomplishments, and this Saturday we’re facing the best in the world."
Leading into this card, Wittman has had to overcome challenges that are always hidden behind his constant positivity and dad jokes. He was recently diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that creates a thickening and tightening of tissue under the skin of the hand. It has progressed over the past few months, limiting mobility in his arms. He’s also dealt with a case of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which creates episodes of dizziness with certain head movements and has occasionally impacted Wittman’s work in the gym.
Yet he continues each day to put aside what could set him back and instead work with his fighters with a smile on his face because he is doing what he loves. Wittman rarely takes credit for his accomplishments, preferring to ride the waves with those who stand by his side.
"This is all about the fighter, it’s not about me," Wittman says. "You get so much out of life when you give to life, when you give to people and your environment."
Wittman is focused on […]