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From the ranch to the octagon: Ariel Beck traveled windy road to - KXLF.com | Continuous News | Butte, Montana

From the ranch to the octagon: Ariel Beck traveled windy road to the UFC

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LAS VEGAS — Growing up on a ranch near Deer Lodge, Ariel Beck always dreamed of competing at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Well flash forward to the present and the 27-year old Butte resident is finally competing in Vegas. Just in a much different sport.

On Friday night, Beck (4-4) will step into the octagon at the UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale to face Shana Dobson (2-1).

“So now when I fight someone that’s my size instead of the animals, it’s a piece of cake,” she laughed. “It’s a lot better than trying to fight with cows and horses. I kind of just grew up Montana tough all around.”

Beck was rodeo-ing for Montana Western when she started boxing for fitness. She quickly realized she could hit hard and turned in her spurs for a pair of gloves.

“I was 3-0 as a pro before I started going over to MMA,” Beck explained. “I decided I should try it while I bend and don’t break as easy. It kept coming together. I boxed for about three years, now I’ve been doing MMA for about four.”

While her win-loss record isn’t what she’d hoped it would be, her toughness in the cage earned her a tryout and a spot on the UFC reality series the Ultimate Fighter 26. The UFC added a flyweight division, which opened the door for a 125-pounder like Beck.

“It was like the most loved and hated experience all at the same time,” explained Beck. “It was awesome being around some of the best girls in the game from all over the world. Just to be able to hang out with them and train with them and train with some of the best coaches around was great.”

Beck lost her first round matchup against Montana De La Rosa, but still earned a spot in the finale prelims against Dobson, her roommate on the show who she grew close with during the six months of shooting. They shared a big hug during their weigh-in and face off in front of UFC president Dana White.

“We just happened to get picked to fight each other at this moment you know we’re both athletes, we’re both fighters,” Beck said. “We’re going to put on a good show and then go hang out afterward.”

There aren’t many fighters UFC fighters from Montana, but on Friday’s card, there are two including Helena’s Sean O’Malley. Beck hopes she can pave the way for future treasure state fighters to reach the sport’s highest level.

“I absolutely hope that other fighters from Montana know that we can do it too,” she said. “We can make it happen too. We’re here, we’re fighting for the UFC and it’s possible.”

The Ultimate Fighter 26 prelims begin at 6 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

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