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Highfill on the Rise

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

Bunker Hill, Ill has a population just south of 2,000.

Positioned outside of Edwardsville, there is very little raucous in the home of the Minutemen.

But one native son is doing his fair share in trying to change that.

Twenty-two-year-old Aaron Highfill is starting to emerge as one of the top amateurs in the region. Thanks in part to a berserker, six-fight, six-month stretch; Highfill is all of the sudden 10-1.

The former middleweight turned welterweight had impressive wins during that stretch over Jake Buehler and Scott Futrell.

Highfill's cage exploits were once whispers around Bunker Hill but have now turned into full-blown talk of the town

"When I worked at the grocery store I would get asked about it every day," Highfill said. "Everybody is interested in it now."

Highfill had thought often about training and before he stepped foot into the War Room four years ago. He works as a CNA at Alton Memorial Hospital and is putting himself through nursing school.

The flimsy, often scattered schedule of hospital work leaves Highfill no choice but to bounce around from gym to gym. Whether at home or at any number of the St. Louis-area gyms, most notably of late, Finney's MMA, Highfill has seen, smelt, and felt the inside of them.

"I gym hop a lot. I see a lot of different styles," he said. "I have always been willing to train with people better than me and I've always been willing to get the shit kicked out of me."

He is also able to check his ego in pursuit of a greater goal.

"I train to get better," Highfill said. "Everybody is really cool as long as I don't step on anyone's toes."

His varied athletic background; football, baseball, kickboxing, and boxing, means that stylistically, Highfill is hard to nail down.

"I'm not awesome at one thing," he said. "I try to figure out what the other guy is not good at and beat him that way."

He will test himself Saturday at Lumiere Casino on the main card of SFC: Havoc against Tyler Claussen.

"He is pretty aggressive with a good wrestling background," Highfill said. "He looks like a durable guy; someone you have to put out or finish."

After a little social media snooping Highfill discovered that Claussen is eager to stand and throw,

"I was creeping on his Facebook and he seems confident in his striking and that's where I'd like to be with him," Highfill said.

Highfill is making the cut from a near 200-pounds.

"I balloon up," he said. "It's always a struggle but I don't freak out about it like I used to."

With a pro career almost certainly on the horizon, Highfill is patiently biding his time and seems driven to improve rather than just compete for cash.

SFC: Havoc is sold out and will feature a main event of Josh Epps vs. Ken Porter.

(Photo courtesy of Shamrock FC)