Bregman's UFC ties helped to boost offseason

Bregman's UFC ties helped to boost offseason

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- His drive to be the best took Astros third baseman Alex Bregman through the hills of his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., where he chased UFC fighter Holly Holm as part of his intense offseason training regimen.

Bregman, entering his first full season in the Major Leagues, said he worked out with the 35-year-old Holm, a former UFC women's bantamweight champion and multiple world champion in boxing who's best known for beating Ronda Rousey. In fact, Bregman was ringside for Holm's fight in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday.

"We've been family friends for a long time now," Bregman said. "We would go on some sprint runs in the mountains. It's been a blast getting to see their mindset and getting to see what drives them and see if I can turn that onto the baseball field and use some of it."

Bregman's high school baseball coach was Holm's husband Jeff Kirkpatrick. Bregman said he's known Holm since he was a kid.

"She's got a warrior mindset, and that's the kind of mindset I want -- a tough mindset, an I'm-going-to-win-mindset, an I'm-going-to-get-this-done, a confident mindset," Bregman said. "I want to translate that onto the baseball field."

Through his connection with Holm, Bregman had a chance to meet Conor McGregor, the reigning UFC lightweight champion.

"He's awesome," Bregman said. "Same kind of things. He says it's an obsession. There's no talent. It's an obsession. You can be anybody you want to be as long as you're obsessed."

Bregman, who overcame a slow start at the plate in his debut last year to hit .264 with eight homers and 34 RBIs, is listed as the Astros' starting third baseman, but Bregman isn't taking anything for granted as Spring Training begins.

"I'm here trying to win a job every single day," he said. "That's the mindset I'm taking, just trying to win a job and come out and compete and get ready for the season."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.