By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
(CNN) — It should come as no surprise that U.S. Army soldiers can fight.
But Staff Sgt. Colton Smith can say he’s the Army’s ultimate fighter.
Smith, who is based at Fort Hood, won the season 16 finale of “The Ultimate Fighter” on national TV last weekend by beating Canadian Mike Ricci in three five-minute rounds of mixed martial arts (MMA).
“It’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment,” Smith said in a story posted on Fort Hood’s website.
Ultimate Fighter is the world’s largest promoter of MMA events and Smith’s unanimous decision over Ricci in the welterweight division guarantees him a six-figure contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship.
But Smith plans to stay in the Army.
An infantryman while not training for fights, Smith trains other soldiers in mixed martial arts to make them more effective warriors.
For the next month, he has to pass required Army training for senior non-commissioned officers, then he’ll be able to focus more time on training for his next UFC bout.
“I’ll get that knocked out and then get back to training, and just get ready for the next fight and representing the United States Army and III Corps the best that I can,” Smith said.