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When he was 15 years old, Eddie Weiser started boxing and on his first trip in the ring for a match, he learned a valuable lesson.

It’s not always about being the most aggressive. It’s about learning how to use your aggression, strength and skills to your best advantage.

It’s a lesson that has served him well in multiple athletic endeavors. The Western New York native is starting a Mixed Martial Arts professional career along with serving as a starting linebacker for the Buffalo State football team.

“In my first boxing match, I went out there and I just went nuts and I was dead tired,” Weiser said. “So I had to learn how to control my breathing, how to control my aggression, when to use it at the right times. I bring that over to football, too. It keeps me calm.”

The 6-foot, 230-pound senior linebacker started workouts in a kickboxing gym with his dad when he was 7 years old. He started playing football in 10th grade when he moved to Grand Island, but stayed active in the boxing ring. In 2007, at age 16, he won the New York State Golden Gloves Championship.

He went to Buffalo State in 2009 and in his freshman season was the New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year with 79 tackles. But he decided to leave football to pursue an MMA career.

“At first, I was just going to have a couple fights and just try it,” Weiser said. “It wasn’t something I wanted to do. My first one was in March. I fought and then I had another fight in May and I just ended up really enjoying it. At the time I was really having fun with it and I decided to fight for a while and take a couple years off from football.”

In March of 2010 he made his MMA debut and went 4-1 as an amateur before deciding to turn pro on 2011.

But his football background served him well in his MMA training, which includes muay thai, boxing, wrestling and Jiu Jitsu.

“There’s a certain toughness to football,” Weiser said. “There’s waking up for practice when you’re tired and sore and I took that from football and carried that over into my MMA training where you may not want to do something that day, but you just do it. I’m used to that because of football.”

But it became difficult for him to schedule bouts; he has had only one, a loss. Opponents would pull out with injuries or events would fall through. So Weiser decided to return to football and rejoin the Bengals this season.

“I was having a real hard time finding fights. It’s unreliable,” Wesier said. “I was getting tired of it because I’d train hard and I’d make weight and then I’d be excited and nothing would happen. So I figured I might as well play football while I can because I know no matter what I’m going to have a game on Saturday.”

Weiser has worked his way into the starting lineup for the defense and has 13 total tackles on the season. While the Bengals have struggled, losing their last four games, Weiser sees plenty of potential in the young defensive corps.

“This week we’re just trying to get back to having fun,” said Weiser as the Bengals prepared to host Frostburg State at 2 p.m. Saturday. “The first few losses were very tough losses but I just try to tell them everyone’s going to be all right. Let’s just finish strong and not give up. I keep trying to motivate them that in years to come, they’re going to be very good.”

A criminal justice major, Weiser is on track to graduate this year. He plans to continue pursuing MMA fights after a brief respite at the end of football season and get right back to training at Victory MMA in North Tonawanda.

“I’m going to take two weeks off just to heal up and recover a bit and let my body heal and then I’m going to get right back into it,” Weiser said. “I’ve been texting my trainer already to look for fights in December.”

email: amoritz@buffnews.com