Twice a day, Joe Ellenberger of Omaha is in the gym at Premeier Combat Center pushing through relentless, grueling workouts.
But training for a UFC fight is not nearly as tough as the day over four years ago when Joe's Doctor game him the news: "It's cancer."
"The Doctors told me that I would never compete in contact sports again for the rest of my life," explained Ellenberger in an interview with WOWT6 News.
"I was devastated for a few days with sleepless nights."
Ellenberger has a rare blood disorder called PNH, a disease that affects only about one in a million people.
For treatment he receives an infusion every two weeks of a drug designed to stop the body's defense system from attacking red blood cells.
Gradually, Joe's Doctors gave the okay for increased physical activity and eventually allowed him back in the ring.
Now, with a 14-1 professional record, Ellenberger is gearing up for his first shot in the octagon as a UFC fighter. His twin brother Jake has already reached that goal. It's something they both dreamed about years ago.
"We had aspirations of winning pro titles together, taking over the world together,"
Now, along with that family blessing, is a new addition to Joe's family. He and his wife Vanessa are celebrating the March 28th birth of their second daughter, Myla Jo.
"She is a blessing, and it reminds me again of why I'm doing what I'm doing. You know everyone's got a battle they're battling outside and so this is one that I'm going to take and I'm going to be able to get on the platform and show the world that overcoming adversity is not that tough. Just put your faith in God, light a fire and never give up."
His UFC debut is April 26th in Baltimore.
Joe Ellenberger: Knicely Done!