Team Guardian stud Mark Cherico goes out on top

On the seventh anniversary of Mark Cherico’s first trip to the cage, the Team Guardian powerhouse finished his spectacular career by winning the Gladiators of the Cage featherweight championship Saturday night in Cheswick, Pa.

“I can’t think of a better way to end my career,” says the Pinnacle FC titlist, who upped his pro record to 9-1 on the weekend.

“I didn’t realize it until yesterday, but I woke up and saw that stupid Time Hop app, and it told me I fought for the first time seven years ago, and I won with the same submission at the almost identical time.”

“The Pride of Bloomfield” stumbled upon MMA by chance a few years ago and, through hard work and determination, became a regional star and UFC prospect.

Cherico is looking forward to his future away from the cage, but he’s definitely pleased with his time in MMA.

“I’ve done a lot more than I ever thought I was going to do in this sport. I just thought I was going to do this for fun,” Cherico says with a smile. “I was able to fight as a professional, and I’m happy with my record and what I was able to accomplish.”

In-cage accomplishments aside, Cherico has more to show for his time in MMA than banged-up ears and a wall of title belts.

“I’ve met more good, legit people than I ever had doing anything else in my life,” Cherico says. “If nothing else, I’ve made lifelong friends from fighting, and I couldn’t be happier about that.”