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Chicago police officer Mike Russow fights crime as well as MMA as heavyweight

01/27/2012 03:33 EST | Updated 03/28/2012 05:12 EDT
Crime fighter, cage fighter. Heavyweight Mike Russow happily wears both hats.

The six-foot-one 251-pounder is a Chicago police officer who patrols the tough South Side from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. A typical night in his patrol car might entail answering calls about robberies, shots fired or domestic incidents.

He goes to bed, then gets up to train as a mixed martial arts fighter.

"I pretty much have no life," he said with no trace of complaint.

If he gets a day off training, chances are he still has to put on the uniform. It's a punishing schedule, but he's OK with it.

"Being a police officer's a great job. And MMA, this is my passion. It's something I like doing. I'm the kind of person that likes to have goals and set dreams and try to accomplish them."

On Saturday, Russow faces a tall challenge in six-foot-six submission specialist John-Olav (The Viking) Einemo on the televised UFC on Fox card in Chicago.

"There'll be a lot of police there at the United Center on Saturday," Russow said.

The Chicago cop, who wrestled and got a degree in sociology at Eastern Illinois University, used all his vacation time to get ready for Einemo. A local fighter on the card, Russow has found himself in the unusual position of being under the media spotlight.

Russow (14-1 with one no contest) deserves the attention. He has won 10 straight, a streak that includes three UFC fights. But other than a blip triggered by a shocking 2010 comeback win over Todd Duffee, he has remained under the radar.

"For me, I don't need interviews and all that stuff," Russow said. "It's just not my personality.

"I think a lot of times I get overlooked too just because of kind of having a fat stomach and things like that."

Russow, 35, has been in training since June. An October fight was called off when opponent Dave (Pee Wee) Hermann failed a drug test.

He took a week or two off and then returned to the gym. "I feel like I'm in great shape."

Russow doesn't have the chiselled body some fighters do. But he demonstrated that you can't judge a book by its cover when he took down Duffee at UFC 114 in May 2010.

Duffee was a slab of muscle coming off a seven-second knockout of Edmonton's Tim (The Thrashing) Hague. And he punished Russow with strikes from the get-go.

But Duffee ran out of steam and Russow, fighting with an arm broken by a kick in the first round, rallied for a shocking one-punch knockout in the third.

"It was just one of those situations (where) you've got to gut it out and must hang in there," he said of the broken arm. "And just try to remain calm."

Easier said than done, when you have a broken limb and a six-foot-three 253-pound man is trying to hurt you in a locked cage. But Russow managed it.

Russow has never watched the fight in its entirety. The ending aside, he thought it was an awful performance in that he never got his game plan going.

After the Duffee fight, he took time out to heal and get married. He's a home-owner and father to a little girl.

Einemo (6-2) lost his UFC debut, stopped in the second round by Herman at UFC 131 last June in Vancouver.

"He's a tough guy," Russow said of the 36-year-old Norwegian. "He's fought tough guys and on top of that he's a world champion grappler. I think Jon's going to be my toughest opponent."

The 253-pound Einemo, who came to the cage in Vancouver wearing a Canucks jersey, arrived at the Chicago news conference on Thursday in a Chicago Rum Runners T-shirt.

"It was just an idea we got before the press conference," the big man said with a laugh.

"Not everyone likes the police so I have to try to get the other ones on my side."

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