‘Help Them Find Their Potential’ – Denis Puric Bringing The Best Out Of Local Youth With His Soi Dogs MMA Gym

Jacob Smith Denis Puric ONE Fight Night 21 24

Denis “The Bosnian Menace” Puric is using his status as a world-class competitor to help change the lives of the next generation. 

The 39-year-old – who will face Thai megastar Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon in a flyweight kickboxing bout at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II on Prime Video – juggles his fighting career with running Soi Dogs MMA in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  

Puric still has a lot to contend with as an athlete, especially as he prepares to face Rodtang in U.S. primetime on June 7, but he decided to make the leap and start his own team alongside his competitive obligations.  

Initially, “The Bosnian Menace” was happy to wait until his fighting days were over, but he was convinced to set the wheels in motion. 

He spoke to onefc.com ahead of his next battle at Bangkok’s Impact Arena: 

“My girlfriend [made me want to do it initially]. She said, ‘Babe, it’s time for you to open a damn gym! You can’t be fighting forever.’ She basically got me to do it, and I’m glad I did.  

“It’s hard to be a fighter and run a gym at the same time. So that’s why I was kinda waiting for my career to end, but she’s said, ‘It doesn’t look like you want to stop fighting, so just open a gym and still fight. Do your thing and keep it going.’” 

Although he needed a little push, Puric always knew he wanted to help his community through martial arts.  

He understands what it’s like to be a local youth on the streets, sometimes making bad decisions, but when he found his coach and the sport of Muay Thai, he realized there were more opportunities out there than he ever thought possible. 

The veteran striker is proof that a young man with fire and passion can achieve great things with the right guidance, and he wants to offer that same chance to Hamilton’s potential future stars: 

“I’m lucky that I found my Kru Alin, who showed me the path to greatness. There were many paths out there, but he showed me a path where I knew I could make something of myself in this lifetime.  

“And that meant a lot to me because, at that age, all you wanted to do was make your parents proud. I was an only child, and I got in trouble a lot, too. But at the end of the day, my parents meant a lot to me because they came to this country so I could have a better life. 

“I want to be somebody’s Kru Alin. I’m trying to do what’s been done for me and trying to pass on the knowledge, help people, and help them find their potential, whether it’s fighting or it’s something else.” 

Puric Reveals Fortunate Circumstances That Led To Soi Dogs MMA 

Even with the best intentions, getting a new gym off the ground is never easy – especially if you’re still an athlete competing at the highest levels of your sport.  

Denis Puric was wary of the logistics involved with setting up a new gym from scratch, but just as he was preparing to make it happen, the perfect partnership fell into his lap.  

“The Bosnian Menace” was viewing places while also preparing to fight in ONE when a phone call came through at exactly the right time, offering him the chance to work with two experienced local businessmen who had a facility ready to go:

“Just before one of my fights in ONE, I was in the process of looking for a space to open a gym. I was just searching around, and there must be a God because one of my good friends called me and he was like, ‘Hey, Denis, there’s these guys who were going to open a gym with some guy, the guy fell through, and now the space is just there.’ 

“I did the fight, came back, and we had a meeting with both of the guys. We sat down, talked about it, and checked out the place. One thing led to another, we put everything together, and we started it off.  

“That’s how it started, really. It’s crazy how life works. You’re trying something, and then things just come, so now we got a gym going with my two partners. It’s going great.” 

With his reputation as an elite Muay Thai fighter and kickboxer, it didn’t take long for Soi Dogs to take off. 

However, the gym is for everyone, not just the hardened competitors, and Puric makes sure his mats are open to anybody as long as they respect it.  

“The Bosnian Menace” doesn’t just want his team to produce good fighters – but also good human beings who learn respect and discipline under his roof. 

Puric added:

“I enjoy working with different kinds of people. Everybody’s welcome in my house. As long as you leave your ego out the door, you can come in. You have to be pure, you have to be respectful, and you have to leave that ego outside because we don’t rock like that.   

“You have to be humble, nice, and respectful. This is not the streets. We’re actually changing lives here because we’re helping people off the streets and trying to humble them.” 

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