I’m an MMA Fighter: Interview with Professional Fighter Jeremy UyApril 23, 2012
After UFC 145: Jones VS Evans PPV this past weekend, one of the most heated grudge matches in UFC history is now behind us and no doubt MMA fans will be counting the days until UFC 146: Dos Santos VS Mir. While the UFC is synonymous with MMA to most people, there are plenty of alternatives for people to get their MMA fix while waiting for the next UFC event. Among these are local events featuring up and coming fighters looking to climb the ranks and get a shot at the big show. Having attended a few of these events myself, I can personally say they are a great experience for all MMA fans, and can offer just as much excitement as the biggest UFC event. I caught up with recently-turned-pro MMA fighter Jeremy Uy and got his thoughts on a variety of topics, including the challenges of starting an MMA career as well as his opinion on some controversial UFC news.
Metal Arcade: What inspired you to be a Mixed Martial Arts fighter?
Uy: As a kid I did karate and I also wrestled in high school, but I never thought about competing until after high school. After I graduated high school I partied a lot, got into bar fights and all that nonsense. One day I realized I need to slow down a bit and also need to lose a lot of weight. I was 220 lbs at one point. So I started boxing, and as I was losing the weight I realized I am pretty good at this. I did a couple boxing bouts, which eventually evolved into MMA. I was hooked.
MA: You currently train at Atlantic City Miletich Fighting Systems and John Machado BJJ. At what point did feel confident enough in your skills to take on your first fight?
Uy: I was training at the American Top Team branch in Boca Raton, FL, before my tenure at ACMFS. Before I moved back to Jersey, I had a really good sparring session with a few amateur and pro fighters there. The same guys that were whipping my ass on a daily basis, but this time I was holding my own and landing my own shots as well. At that point I knew I was ready.
MA: What are some of the difficulties you have faced as a young fighter trying to improve? How did you overcome them?
Uy: The obvious difficulty, of course, is the mental and physical stress one goes through preparing for a fight. The combination of cutting weight, sparring, rolling, lifting, and cross training can be too much for some people. But you have to have the will power to push through that. I know that’s easier said than done, but some people have it and some don’t.
MA: MMA has rapidly risen in popularity in recent years. While the UFC has benefited most from this, it also brings more attention to smaller promotions. What advantages and disadvantages has this brought to your career?
Uy: I can’t think of a single disadvantage from the rise of MMA. Because of that boom I have been able to secure fights a lot easier. There is an event almost every month in Atlantic City alone. I don’t see this rise of popularity slowing down anytime soon, so the only thing I have to worry about is to make sure I win my fights.
MA: In your first ever amateur fight at New Breed Fighters 24 in Atlantic City, you won by knockout in the very first round. How did it feel to come away with decisive KO victory in your first fight? Was going for a KO part of your gameplan?
Uy: That feeling, honest to God, was better than sex. I felt like a god at that point. I don’t really have a strict game plan when it comes to my fights. I mainly focus on what I’m good at, and what I’m good at is standing up. So the main goal all the time is to get that KO.
MA: You recently made the jump to professional fighter at Ring Of Combat 39 in Atlantic City. What were the main differences between the amateur fights and your professional debut? Did you feel added pressure to pull out a victory?
Uy: Of course the main difference is in the rules, for instance in Amateur you are not allowed to punch to the head of a downed opponent; in Pro, of course, you can. You can’t really prepare yourself for getting hit while you’re on your back, you just have to go through it. I’m not gonna lie- I was nervous, first time ever being nervous before a fight, and seeing Frankie Edgar and Ricardo Almeida in my opponent’s corner didn’t help. Even though I couldn’t pull off the victory, I was not finished. I earned my respect that night, and I will be back.
MA: Did you agree with your Decision loss at ROC 39?
Uy: Yeah, Frankie had a good game plan against me.
MA: What changes have you made to your training regimen since your last fight?
Uy: I have started to lift again. For a few years now, I’ve abandoned weight lifting as part of my regiment, opting instead to circuit training and kettle bells. But at my last fight I felt like I should have been stronger, so I have been working on that.
MA: As a striker, how do you feel about wrestlers such as Jon Fitch and Nick Lentz that use a wrestling based attack and look to win on points without going for a stoppage?
Uy: Of course I’m not a fan, but hey, that’s their game plan. And it’s my job to make sure they can not succeed with their game plan.
MA: Alistair Overeem has recently lost his UFC Heavyweight title shot to Junior Dos Santos due to a failed drug test. Do you feel that performance enhancing drugs are a major issue in the sport of MMA?
Uy: Of course, as it is in every other professional sport. Personally I feel it’s a coward’s way out.
MA: The big MMA event coming up this summer is the rematch of Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in Brazil. Chael Sonnen has made quite a name for himself and risen in popularity over the past 2 years with his over-the-top, WWE-style interviews and promos. How important is self-marketing to a fighter? Do you agree with Chael’s theatrics or do you think they are bad for the sport?
Uy: I think Chael is an asshole, but a funny one. That’s his way of marketing himself, and it does nothing but help the sport. Any kind of attention is good attention.
MA: What are your thoughts on the UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show? Is it something that you would compete on given the opportunity?
Uy: It’s a great opportunity, if I ever have the chance I would gladly compete on it. I don’t know if I’m reality show material, though.
MA: As MMA continues to grow, what changes do you feel could be made to the sport so it can continue to gain mainstream coverage and acceptance?
Uy: UFC has taken the right steps the past year by signing a contract with Fox. Fox will do wonders for the sport. And if ESPN would do more than 30 seconds of coverage on it, that would be nice too.
MA: What advice would you give someone just starting out, but with dreams of fighting professionally?
Uy: Don’t do it because you want people to think you’re tough, or to impress someone. Do it because you want to do it, because you love to do it. I leave every training session with a smile, nothing relieves stress better. Also, don’t be an asshole.
MA: What goals do you have for your fighting career?
Uy: My main goal, of course is to make it to the big show, maybe eventually open my own gym. I will push this as far as I can push it.
Thanks for your time Jeremy, and best of luck in your future fights.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @TeamH0Y and keep an eye out for his upcoming fights.