By Erik Uebelacker
Tanya Kaufmann didn’t always expect her son Delton to be an MMA world champion.
“I always knew he was going to do something special and be successful in it just based on his dedication and work ethic,” she said. “I never expected him to take his passion to the world stage, but now I can’t see him stopping.”
Delton hasn’t looked back; he added to the United States’ impressive team performance with a gold medal in the Youth B 72KG division at the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships. It was the American’s third time competing in the Youth World Championships and his second time winning a gold medal at one.
“To experience fighting at such a high level and win, it’s a feeling like no other,” Delton said.
Despite his young age, Delton is already a decorated combat sports competitor. He’s an Arizona USA wrestling triple crown champion and a three-time youth Pan American Champion. He’s been praised by the likes of Bellator Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader.
All of his experience culminated in yet another world championship for Delton in August’s Youth World Championship tournament.
“I went in with the mentality that I was willing to do anything to win, and I was hungrier than ever,” he said. “I was coming back a better fighter and a harder worker than last year.”
Delton’s efforts helped contribute to the United States’ second-place overall finish in the tournament, behind only Ukraine. But in fact, it was a win over Ukrainian Ivan Berdysh that won Delton the gold medal this time.
While the level of Delton’s global success was a surprise for his family, his mother always knew that his work ethic would take him far. After all, he’s always been a fighter.
“Delton was never supposed to be born; the doctors didn’t expect him to make it through the pregnancy,” Tanya said. “But he was a fighter… He has always been a fighter, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he chose this as his career path.”
His combination of hard work and grit has already made him a two-time IMMAF Youth World Champion. Delton says that the experience he’s gained from these tournaments should serve him well in his fighting future.
“It’s so vital to have experiences like these because of the multiple displays of high-level skill among the fighters,” he said. “It gives you different looks as to what you will be seeing when you get to the really high level of fighting, such as the UFC.”