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Bellator 221: Tywan Claxton says coding knowledge makes him one of the smartest fighters in MMA

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When Bellator featherweight prospect Tywan Claxton isn’t training for a fight, he’s building apps for your smartphone.

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Tywan Claxton is already on his way to being successful in a completely different field than mixed martial arts.

Claxton, a top Bellator featherweight prospect, is also a coder; he makes web apps. He said ahead of his Bellator 221 fight against James Bennett he recently partnered with the company GoMeta and its web app development platform, Koji.

According to VentureBeat.com, developers can build and deploy web apps faster and easier with Koji. The platform also allows more people to build apps.

Claxton said one of his roles is to build templates that other people can use to build their own apps. GoMeta raised $6 million ahead of the Koji launch, he said. Koji is currently in beta.

“With these templates, you don’t know how to code — I do all the underlying coding,” Claxton said at a media event on Wednesday in Chicago. “Pretty much you can just drag and drop, and you’ll be able to make an app or two.”

Claxton has been coding for three and a half years. He said he learned how to code by simply reading material online. He recently began getting together with a mentor once a month. He said he leaves those sessions with a “sh-t ton of homework” but also with answers to his questions.

When he’s not training for a fight, the 26-year-old said he spends 60-80 hours per week coding; when he has a fight booked, that number decreases to 20-30 hours.

“I started on a site called Team Treehouse just learning Swift, which is an iOS development platform,” Claxton said. “After that, I started doing C#. It’s easier to do C# if you’re building apps for iPhone and Android because you can do cross platforms and you only have to know one language.”

Claxton said he intends to retire by the age of 32 or 33 and will commit to a career in coding after his fighting life comes to an end. He said in two years, he expects to be the Bellator champion, and then a few years after that, he’ll be deep enough in the coding world that it wouldn’t make much sense to continue fighting.

But for now, Claxton, who fights in the opening main card bout on Saturday at Chicago’s Allstate Arena, is one of the hottest featherweights in the promotion. Does Claxton’s programming knowledge make him one of the smarter fighters out there?

“I like to think so,” Claxton said with a laugh. “I think that I approach the game a little differently. While other guys are in between training camps, playing video games or watching Game of Thrones, I’m utilizing my time to prepare for a life outside of fighting and to preserve my brand. If you don’t use it, you start to vanish a little bit.

“As far as what I choose to do with my time and the way that I approach the fight game in terms of tactics and overall training, I think I am one of the smartest fighters Bellator has ever had the privilege of employing.”