“I respect everyone unless given a reason not to.” Justin Brooks Interview by: sPidA

sPidA: Tell us what gym you train out of and what all can one expect from training there?

Brooks: I train out of Austin Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu.  Training here anyone can expect good tough training, man whether someone is there for competition, fitness or just to learn ,make them beasts in every aspect!

You will be fighting for a title going into Cage Quest, what were you expecting to get out of the show?

Brooks: To be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of Cage Quest, I just wanted show people what we’ve got over here at Austin Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu and win a title! This whole thing has been an experience, that’s for sure!

sPidA: I’ve noticed personally a lot of fighters are shy and get nervous while doing interviews, had being on T.V made you nervous or is the fighting just that much distracting?

Brooks: Nah man I don’t think to much about the cameras, I always stay more focused on performing well and winning!

sPidA: I’ve noticed a lot of top level fighters going through the Austin Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu Academy, can you give us a few names of those that have stopped by there at one time or another?

Brooks: Yeah there have been some good guys come through the gym and train! A few of the pro guys we have there everyday are Tim Kennedy, Drew Pendelton, Adam Schindler, Jon Hester, Derek Campos and these guys are animals! Guys like Tom Lawler, Eves Edwards, Dustin Poirier, Bubba Jenkins and others have come in and out of town and we’ve had the pleasure of them coming in to train with us, it’s awesome, everyday is tough!

sPidA: With the level of guys training there, does this motivate you guys?

Brooks: Yeah training with these guys definitely keeps everyone motivated! It doesn’t matter who you are or how good you are someone will always one up you at something or dang near die trying. Everyone on our team is very supportive of one another, we are a tight knit family and push each other a lot. That makes it even easier to stay motivated, it’s awesome!

sPidA: How would you describe your style, do you try and emulate to anyone or would you say its your own?

Brooks: I’m a striker and a grappler pretty evenly, I would say it’s my own style for the most part. There are some guys in the gym that are always putting it on me when we train and I do try to pick up the things that they do to me, like Tim Kennedy, I try to learn and do a lot of the stuff he does!

sPidA: How were you guys approached about Cage Quest? Was this something you wanted to jump on immediately?

Brooks: We were approached by a couple of our teammates that have fought for Kickass in the past and then told us about it. I wanted in on it from the start, I knew it would be a good way to get Austin Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu’s name out there.

sPidA: The show has quite a bit of Central Texas Top Pro fighters coaching, having that experience, has it helped your game that much more?

Brooks: Yeah man they had a few Black Belt instructors come in and show us some cool stuff! I appreciate the effort all of those guys put in, no matter what anyone has told them!

sPidA: How has being on the show Cage Quest been treating you guys, have you noticed the publicity at all?(with the public?)

Brooks: Not so far man, the show airs on a San Antonio based network and I live in North Austin so no one around me directly gets to see it. Maybe the next time I go to San Antonio someone will recognize me, ha-ha, we’ll see!

sPidA: The finalist will be competing May 5th in New Braunfels , will you guys be going Pro right after or continue to get more experience?

Brooks: I won’t be going pro yet, I’m going to keep fighting amateur for now. There is a lot to be learned via experience and amateur competition is the place for a lot of that learning to take place. Plus I want to win a few titles first, not just in mma but in Muay Thai and Boxing too. After I have done that I will start thinking about what’s next for me.

sPidA: Its all business when you step inside the Cage but outside the cage, do you guys notice respect from others in the Mixed Martial Arts scene?

Brooks: Everyone that I have met is pretty respectful around the Mixed Martial Arts scene. I respect everyone unless given a reason not to, that seams like a pretty common outlook. Of coarse, there are always those people out there telling lies and trying to start trouble for whatever reason, not necessarily competitors but just people on the scene.

sPidA: Best MMA moment and worst?

Brooks: Winning is always the best moment! Worst would have to have been dislocating my elbow in training! Man that was no fun between rehab and being out of the gym for the whole healing process!

sPidA: Thank you for taking time for this,much appreciated, any last words bro?

Brooks: Thank you Spida for taking the time for this interview and for what you do for all the local Texas fighters and gyms and thank you to all of my trainers and teammates at Austin Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu!

UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture to make Appearances at Xtreme KO 15

Who: On JUNE 2ND 2012, Back Alley Promotions in association with Corona bring to you Xtreme Knockout 15 (XKO – Professional MMA Fights) and the top Pro MMA fighters in Texas. XKO will be filming in HD for their Xtreme Knockout television show. Back Alley Promotions has produced over 1,000 “live” events including a reality show featured on the Discovery Channel. THE GYM Combative Sports Training Facility (and location of XKO 15) is also the home of “TEAM TAKEDOWN” the Next Generation of Fighters including Johny Hendricks, Jake and Jared Rosholt, Chris Feist, Chas Skelly and Shane Roller!

What: Xtreme Knockout, Back Alley Promotions in association with Corona bring Pro Mixed Martial Arts fights to Arlington!

Pre-Fight Party from 6-8pm. Belltime 8pm.Pre-Fight party includes: Special appearance by UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture, Team Takedown members and current UFC fighter Johny Hendricks! MMA & Sports Vendors including METROFLEX SPORTS, HOOTERS RING GIRLS, THE GIRLS ROOM, BORN 2 BANG CLOTHING, REDEMPTION CLOTHING, THE MARINES, THE ARMY, VIP CUSTOM MOUTH GUARDS, ULTRAVIOLENT FIGHT GEAR, WEIRDOZ CLOTHING, AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE COMPANY, LONGHORN HARLEY, BLU ENERGY, GIRLS FROM THE CLUBHOUSE, THE IMPROV COMEDY CLUB AND MORE! 10 professional cage fights, meet and greet with fighters, celebrity guest appearances, Bikini contest, live music and DJ! Television Taping for the TV show “Xtreme Knockout”.

When: Xtreme Knockout 15 – Saturday JUNE 2ND 2012 Pre-Fight Party at 6pm, Fights Start at 8pm. Meet and Greet UFC Legend Randy “The Natural” Couture and current top UFC Welterweight Johny Hendricks and Team Takedown members! Official XKO Weigh – ins Friday June 1st at 3 pm at The Improv Comedy Club in The Arlington Highlands 309 Cutis Mathes Way Suite 147 817-635-5555 will host the Official XKO 15 Weigh-ins with The State of Texas – ALL MEDIA WELCOME, family, friends and guests welcome! Come out and support the TOP fighters in Texas and watch as the fighter’s face of for the first time before they step into the cage! (FREE- OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – FREE)

Where: XKO 15 will take place at THE GYM COMBATIVE SPORTS ARENA 921 W. Mayfield Rd. Suite #112 Arlington, TX 76015

**Official After Party: Meet and Greet the fighters after the event, enjoy great food and drink specials and hang out with MMA Fans at Little O’s 4650 Little Rd Arlington TX 76017 817-561-0000
Tickets are available for purchase at THE GYM, Rustys Billiards and HYPERLINK “http://www.xtremeknockout.com” www.xtremeknockout.com – $30 for advanced general admission and $35 when purchased at the door. Ringside Reserved starts at $75, VIP tables start at $600 (limited tables) Purchase Ringside seats and get a private “meet and greet” with Couture and Hendricks on Friday June 1st! Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.thegym.org” www.thegym.org for more information. CORONA, MMA Merchandise and Concessions are available for purchase at the event!

XKO 15 OFFICIAL FIGHT CARD (Card Subject to Change)
205lbs UFC VETERAN JAKE ROSHOLT (12-3) Team Takedown fighter vs MATTHEW THOMPSON 6’5 (16-9) This is a highly anticipated matchup between Jake Rosholt a 3X Div. 1 Champion at OSU and 4 time All American with victories over some of the top fighters in MMA including UFC standout Chris Leben. He faces XKO newcomer and MMA standout the 6’5 Matthew Thompson. Thompson has faced some tough opponents including UFC Veteran Ben Rothwell and MMA standout Justin Wren. Both fighters are at the top of their game, this promises to bring fireworks!

185lbs CHRIS FEIST (3-0) Team Takedown Fighter vs JOSH STRAHAN (2-1) Chris Feist makes his return to the XKO cage with a perfect record and 2 of his victories in XKO. As Feist looks to become one of the top 170lbs fighters in XKO he must first face XKO newcomer Josh Strahan. Strahan’s two victories came with dominating ground and pound and finishing in TKO’s. Strahan’s training partner is undefeated fighter Jay Jay Sanchez who just KO’d his opponent at XKO 14 in less than a minute. With Feist’s wrestling background and Strahan’s striking and power this should be a very exciting match-up.

170lbs ROY SPOON (7-4) vs HAYWARD “The Hybrid” CHARLES (4-4 Metroflex MMA and Genesis) It’s hard to describe the excitement for this fight! Both Roy Spoon and Hayward Charles are some of the most well known fighters in the area with a reputation for dominating fights! Roy Spoon has never backed down from a fight in XKO and is considered to be one of the strongest fighters in the division. He steps into the cage against one of the top fighters in XKO – Hayward “The Hybrid” Charles! Hayward is coming off an impressive fight with Brad Cox and looks to get “Fight of the Night” honors. Known for his Jiu-Jitsu Hayward is arguably the best Jiu-Jitsu specialist in the company! A great match-up that will bring fireworks! “I don’t care who you put in front of me, I’ll fight them because I want to be at the top” – Hayward Charles

145lbs CHAS SKELLY (7-0) Team Takedown Fighter vs DJ FUENTES (9-7) Chas Skelly made his professional debut at XKO with an impressive submission win. Since then he has fought 6 more times which includes a win in Bellator most all victories by submission. This is Skelly’s first fight back in over a year and looks to move to 8-0. He will be taking on one of the top 145lb fighters from South Texas. DJ Fuentes is an impressive fighter both with his striking and takedown defense. Fuentes is the South Texas Fighting Champion at 145lbs and looks to make a statement at his first appearance in XKO! You can expect this fight to be an exciting match-up and could be fight of the night!

195lbs JACOB BRANNAN (2-0 ) vs JOSH FOSTER (5-3) Jacob Brannan made his pro-debut at XKO making an impact in the company and among other fighters. A Ft. Worth Police officer and Black Belt Brannan has a promising future in MMA. Jacob Brannan is a skilled striker looking to KO his opponent. His opponent is no stranger to MMA-Josh Foster! Josh is coming off a huge main event victory over the talented JJ Holmes. Foster is well known for his striking and never being knocked out or down in a fight. Both fighters have never lost in the square cage and on June 2nd one of these 2 top performers will have take their first loss in XKO, my guess is probably by Knockout. Look for a “Knockout of the Night” award winner in this match-up!

185lbs ZACK BOARD (0-1) vs DUSTIN ADAMS (0-1) American Revolution Corpus Christi. This will be a fast paced fight for the fight fan and a good matchup that will not disappoint. Zack Board is making his return to the cage after almost a two year layoff from the sport. Zack’s pro-debut was a fight to remember as he battled a dominating wrestler who had no quit in him. Zack is looking to stand and strike with someone so XKO matched him with XKO 12’s “Fight of the Night” recipient Dustin Adams. With training partners like top XKO fighter Chris Pecero, Dustin is comfortable keeping this fight on his feet! Both fighters were happy with this fight and will promise to put on a great show! Look for another “Fight of the Night” nominee!

155lbs ARMANDO “THE LATIN ASSASSIN” SERVIN (0-1) vs KEITH MINOR (4-3) There is so much we can say about the talent of these two fighters. Armando Servin became a key fighter in the 155lb division when he took Donnie Bell all the way to a decision in his pro debut. Armando is an exciting fighter that is strong and will go along way in the sport. He will face another fighter making his 2nd appearance in XKO – Keith Minor! Keith also fought Donnie at his first appearance in XKO losing by KO in the first round. Keith has overcome many things in his life including a tragic accident taking away his right hand. Both Keith and Armando didn’t hesitate when signing the contract for this fight. “I’m ready to do my part and put on an exciting fight and show” – Armando Servin

135lbs SIDNEY CAWDREY(Pro-debut Texas Fighting Syndicate) vs KLAYTON MAI (2-0 pro Octagon MMA) Training out of Texas Fighting Syndicate Sidney Cawdrey has the training partners and coaches to step up to anyone In the cage. After having 4 amateur fights Cawdrey is ready to make his pro-debut. He will be facing Octagon MMA’s Klayton Mai. Klayton’s first fight in XKO he took down highly skilled Casey Hudson by submitting him in the 3rd round! Klayton trains out of Octagon MMA who’s fight team is no stranger to XKO, competing in almost every event!

Fight to Win “Super Heroes” 12 MMA Cage Fights

MAIN EVENT 155LB TITLE FIGHT

CHASE HACKETT (4-1) FACTORY X VS ADAM SCHINDLER (10-3) AUSTIN MUAY THAI

CO MAIN EVENT 17OLBS

JOSH CAVAN (4-1) TEAM WILDMAN VS STEVEN SIMMONS (4-6) TOP NOTCH MMA

145LBS PRO

JOSH HUBER (7-3) EASTON BJJ vs BRIAN WOOD (3-3) SLEDGEHAMMER MMA

185LBS PRO

ADAM STROUP (1-0) FACTORY X VS TODD MEREDITH (1-1) FUSBOXE

265LBS PRO

GABE BEAUPURTHUY (7-7) ALTITUDE MMA vs ANTHONY ALIREZ (2-1) SLEDGE HAMMER MMA

145LBS PRO

VELLORE CABALLERO (6-4) EASTON BJJ VS JOHNNY TORRES (5-3) 303 TRAINING CENTER

165LBS PRO

MATT SIMMS (3-2) ZINGANO BJJ VS ALVINO MONTOYA (0-0) BATTLEGROUNDS MMA

150LBS PRO

JUSTIN HOUGHTON (4-1) GRUDGE TRAINING CENTER VS JEREMY MARTINEZ (4-6) ALAMOSA MMA

185LBS PRO

JOSH GOLDBERGBER (1-1) COLORADO BJJ/TEAM WILDMAN VS MICHAEL MATTHEWS (0-0) FREEDOM FIGHTERS

———————————————————————————————

115LBS AMATUER KICKBOXING TITLE FIGHT

LAUREN SUGIHARA (5-0) MUAY THAI OF COLORADO/3D MARTIAL ARTS VS CRYSTAL PARRISH (3-3) 8 POINTS MUAY THAI

145LBS AMATEUR TITLE FIGHT

J KEVEN HERNANDEZ (4-0) ZINGANO BJJ VS DOMINIC GARKO (5-2) FREEDOM FIGHTERS

125LBS AMATEUR

NICK DEFOIRE (2-0) TEAM WILDMAN VS GABE FLORES (1-1) SLEDGE HAMMER MMA

Garcia Promotions Presents ” CAGE COMBAT 9″

CAGE COMBAT 9
Friday May 25, 2012
PENDING TDLR APPROVAL

1. Alex Martinez (Silverback) VS. Martin Garcia (GB Texas) – 125
2. Sijin Kurian (SLMMA) VS. Hugo Delafuente (Bushi Ban) – 125
3. Victor Lomax (Ground Dwellers) VS. Chris Rivera (ACS) – 125
4. Hector Cortina (RSKA/Silverback) VS. Alex Chang (4oz) – 135
5. Raul Rodriguez (SLMMA) VS. Brandon Gauthier (Tooke/Pitre MMA)- 145
6. Martin Walker (ATT Beaumont) VS. John Rodriguez (Silverback) – 145
7. Mike Eaglin (Elite MMA) VS. Bryant Holt (4oz) – 185
8. Tony Stolfa (ATT Beaumont) VS. Edgar Juarez (Paradigm) – 145
9. Alex Fernandez (Silverback) VS. Luis Santiago (ACS) – 135
10. Gregory Diaz (ATT Beaumont) VS Leville Simpson (Twin Wolves) – 155
11. TBA VS. Lucas Aguirre (Tooke/Pitre MMA) – 160
12. Kody Williams (GB Woodlands) VS. Yan Digalov (Paradigm) – 145
13. Josh Cooper (ATT Beaumont) VS. Mike Dunn (4oz) – 135
14. Ramiro Cortina (RSKA/Silverback) VS. Randy McCullough (Windy MMA) – 135
15. Ryan Sheehan (GB Champions) VS. Chas Liberty (Paradigm) – 170
16. Tony Orozco Jr. (Silverback) VS. Cesar Del Angel (KO Club) – 135
17. Tyler Flores (GB Woodlands) VS. Joe Whichard (Kingwood MMA) – 170
18. Tina Gomez (SBA) VS. Kristy Kester (Windy MMA) – 125
19. Kolton Englund (RSKA/Silverback) VS. Jason Friedman (Paradigm) – 155
20. Ryan Hollis (Hard Head Hitters) VS. James Deherrera (Windy MMA) – 125 TITLE
21. Robert Butler (SFS MMA) VS. Aaron Croon (Tooke/Pitre MMA) – 145 Title
22. Ryan Spann (ATT Beaumont) VS. Charles Lloyd (GB Woodlands) – 170 Title

“I am determined to prove everyone that has said I can’t – WRONG!” A few words from Tommy “GUNN” Guerrero

Danny Flick , Josh Rios , Polo Sanchez and Tommy"GUNN"Guerro

sPidA: Your coming off a great win on your MMA debut, was a submission your game plan or were you just prepared where ever it went?

Guerrero:For my debut i was ready for anything, i just wanted to make the fight entertaining for the fans and for everyone that came out to support me. This was my debut, i had been waiting for this moment for years so i didnt want to lose my first fight. When i got to the venue i was thinking i would be neverous walking to the cage but i was mentally and physically prepared, i was not nervous at all and i was very calm during my fight. It was just the right time to do work.

sPidA: You representing a great fight team, what guys do you have out there pushing you to reach your limits?

Guerrero: Man Full Contact Fight Academy is full of talent. We have guys like Hector Munoz, Roger Narvaez,Cory Bellino,and Josh Rios to name a few. These guys push me to the limit and they do not take it easy on me lol, at the same time they help alot. I am greatful to be part of such a great team and although the Flick brothers are not in town anymore , they too helped me so much. My jiu jitsu coach Aurelio Gallegos also has alot to do with us being well versed in the ground game.

sPidA : Has competing in MMA been in the works or was seeing your training partners compete just motivate you to do so?

Guerrero: To be honest i have been training MMA since 2007 and i was supposed to make my debut a few years back but things just kept on happening, then in 2009 i herniated 2 discs and that just set me back even further. I was so depressed that i couldnt train or do anything but be in pain. My doctor told me that i was never going to train or be the same again and i was determined to prove him and everyone else that said i wouldnt train again wrong. So i did alot of research and found a book online from a Dr. who specailized in spinal injuries. I bought that and followed his directions and i also found a local chiropracter who had a drx – 9000 (spinal decompression machine) and nearly a year later i was back at it.

sPidA: You’ve been to Cowboys Dance Hall before making your debut, what are your thoughts on the place, enjoy yourself there as a fan?

Guerrero: Cowboys Dance Hall is a great place for MMA! So many fans come out to not only support their local mma fighter but the sport of mma and that is awsome.They also advertise pretty well, facebook, the radio etc. so they are pretty popular.  As a fan of MMA myself I enjoy watching the fights, Jen does a awsome job of match making and that makes for some exciting fights.

spidA: I know your Team trains in all aspects of the fight game, is there one your better at(strking/grappling) are you still improving both?

Guerrero: I am still improving on both. I love the stand up game and my jiu jitsu is good. our jiu jitsu program run by Aurelio Gallegos is one of the best in Texas. We have 3 BJJ Black Belts in one place and so many technical jiu jitsu guys so our ground game is no joke. Our stand up is second to non, Hector Munoz has very technical kickboxing and im eager to get to the level he is at. I just need to let my hands go on this next fight and thats what we are working on. My hands are good, i have been boxing since 2001 but soon enough i will show what my hands are like, and with kicks being involved its just even better because i love to throw combos that end with kicks.

sPidA:  With promotions like M1 Global,BELLATOR and the UFC are you setting your goals to reach these promtotions?

Guerrero: I would love to fight for anyone of those promotions. Bellator puts on some awsome fights and the possibility of fighting for them is more realistic since they travel alot and have come to our area a few times. Id also like to fight in Japan, But of course the UFC is the main one. Im far from it but i will do my best to get there.

sPidA: What was the first live MMA bout you had seen, do you remember your thoughts on watching it live?

Guerrero: My first live event was one of the Renegade Extreme Fighting fights back in the day. A family friend from my home town of Alice, Texas would fight and i got to go with him and I got to be back stage. I also had my seconds license at 17 so being around the fighters and guys like Rocky Long and Carlo Prater who were very friendly got me hooked! Just to see the fighters before their fight, during and after was just like wow, these guys just put it all out there, i couldnt wait to get my turn. Oh and i got to meet my favortie fighter Yves Edwards at one of the Renegade Events in Houston that was a great night lol

sPidA: When not training, whats a chill day for you? (unwind,TV, Flying a kite ,<~kidding)

Guerrero: I am a huge History buff so i like to read up on history when ever i can. I also work in the I.T field so dealing with new technology is common so i like to read up and learn about how things work and how i can become a better I. T Professional. I also like to watch Ghost Adventures and Nat Geo and i cant forget playing Xbox live, That is always fun. But most importantly Im really close to my family, so when im not training i like to spend as much time as i can with them. I work 8-5, then go home to get my things and head to Corpus by 5:30. It takes me about 45 min to get to the gym so if they are home after 5 i get to see them briefly but usually they are not and by the time i get home from training my mom and step dad are asleep and my sisters are at their houses. You know time flies and i see my nieces and nephews growing up so fast it makes me sad that im not involved more in their lives. I wish that i could spend more time with everyone but one day this life i have chosen will be worth it.

sPidA: With a nickname like GUNN, can your opponents always expect an all out war,who gave you the nickname or how did it come about?

Guerrero: The nick name Tommy Gunn has been around since i was a kid. Before i chose to fight the older guys would say “whats up Tommy Gunn” so when i decided to fight i knew what i was gonna use. My opponents should expect to go all out for 15 minutes because thats what i train for but with the Gunns (my striking) should be what they worry about, but Im always ready for anything and everything.

sPidA: Is your family involved in your choice of acticities,how has their reaction been to watching your fight or hearing of it?

Guerrero: My family is very supportive of what i do.Since my jiu jitsu tournaments they have always been involved and now MMA they want to be there for me. My mom doesnt agree with it but she accepts it lol. She will see when i buy her a house one day that I chose a good profession. One of my sisters and uncles got to see my fight live along with one of my nieces and nephews and numerous cousins so they were very excited when i won. When i got home my family including my mom who never wants to hear about it was asking details lol so it was cool to come home with my first victory. There will be more to come thats for sure and hopefully they will be recorded so i can show my grandpa who is now a MMA fan. He used to bad mouth the guys hugging on the ground but now he is retired and watches alot of MMA reruns so he likes to see his favorite fighter Urijah Faber fight lol. He was so upset when Mike Brown beat Faber, he now hates Mike Brown. He also appreciates the submissions, its funny to sit with him and watch fights with the things he says like grab the arm and the neck so i hope we will be watching my fights on his tv or he will be watching me fights live on tv.

sPidA: If you could fight any other athlete in the world(non MMA) whom would it be and why?

Guerrero: If i could fight any other athlete non MMA I would have to choose Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore lol just kidding id say i would like to fight Juan Manuel Marquez. Not because i dont like him, because i think he is one of the best Mexican boxers out there. So if i got to fight him i would get to say i fought a legend in the sport of boxing. For some reason i also want to say Eli Manning because im a Dallas Cowboy fan and he upsets me alot lol
sPidA: Thank you for your time bro,I’ll be seeing ya come May, anything else you’d like to blast to end this inreview?

Guerrero: Your welcome and Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I know im just coming up but i intend to make a name for my self in MMA. I just want to thank the Lord for another day of life and for me being able to do the things im doing now and for the people in my life. I want to thank my family who I love very much for being there for me and put up with me. My friends who support what i do and my team mates and coaches who put it on me and help me prepare for my fights or tournaments. and to the MMA fans who come out to support their fighter, thank you for making this sport a great one!

“I am using this fight to make a statement!” Cleburn Walker Interview by: sPidA

sPidA: You’ll be competing at the Element Fighting Championship 2 “FULL THROTTLE” on June 9th for a title shot, how much more does this fight mean to you?

Cleburn: This fight means so much to me already that I am doing something I haven’t done in years, which is go away from my family to put in a proper fight camp. I am leaving next Sunday to go stay at the Tapout House. I have hurt my record and my reputation in recent years by not showing up at my peak potential but I am using this fight as an opportunity to make a statement. The fact that it’s for a title just adds even more motivation.

sPidA: What does your training consist of before a fight and does it change with your opponent?

Cleburn: As I mentioned, this will be my first fight in over 3 years that I leave home to focus 100% on the fight at hand. My training doesn’t really change for my opponent. Since I can’t tell the future I have no idea how he may respond to me. All I can do is constantly improve myself and be as prepared as I can, as well as make note of whatever habits of my opponents that I may suspect will play a factor but ultimately I am going to fight my fight and be ready for everything.

sPidA: Your coming in with 17 bouts in MMA, what lessons have you learned more from ,wins or losses ?

Cleburn: I learn from everything but most of my losses aren’t a reflection of my skill or ability. Most of them to me are a reflection of poor decision making during difficult times in my life. But after a fight, whether I won or lost, I analyze my performance and look for anything I can improve on. Then I continue moving forward. I am never defeated nor satisfied. I am simply moving forward at all times. (or at least trying to, lol)

sPidA: Your representing Phalanx MMA, with you and now your training partner James Vick in the TUF house, what does the gym  offer to those looking to train in your neck of the woods?

Cleburn: I train at Phalanx and Genesis Jiu Jitsu, and from someone who has trained with lots of people in lots of places, I can tell you that the technical expertise you will find at these places is better than anyplace you are gonna find! I am so happy to finally have home gyms that really have helped me grow and improve a lot in such a short time. And unlike other experiences I’ve had in the past, the coaches at Phalanx and Genesis actually care about you and make you feel like part of the team. Feeling at home is extremely important when you are trying to grow.

sPidA: What do you know about your opponent and how has your training been since getting word on this match up?

Cleburn: I know he is gonna be extremely athletic and explosive, but I see no way that he will be on par with my technique or experience and I’m pretty athletic and powerful myself so I have been training to make sure I absolutely show up at my very best. He is gonna be a little unpredictable, so I just am making sure that I am ready for everything.

sPidA: You recently had an addition to your family, as a parent, would you be supportive if your kids grew up wanting to compete in a combative sport?

Cleburn: Yes I  just had my fourth child this January. As far as I’m concerned the support process starts during pregnancy. I constantly pray over my children and am constantly trying to be the best leader of the house that I can so that as they grow, they will grow in wisdom and grow closer to God. That way when the time comes for them to make decisions about their lives they will already be on the right track and I will have faith in what they feel they are supposed to do with their lives. And whatever they choose to do, I will help them as much as I possibly can. And what I can’t help with I will encourage them to find someone more knowledgable than myself so that they can fulfill their potential.

sPidA:  I was able to meet up with you in Austin Texas for your fight at King of Kombat a while back, you had a great personality going into the bout. Do you get people having a misconception of you being a cage fighter? What do you think has helped the way fans view the sport now?

Cleburn: Thank you sir. I really can’t tell what people think of me. All I can do is conduct myself as best I can so that anyone who meets me will get a positive impression. And at this point I think the sport is so mainstream that people view MMA athletes as what they are, which is some of the hardest working athletes in the world competing in the toughest sport in the world.

sPidA: Thank you for your time bro, I will be contacting you closer to fight time, any last minute words?

Cleburn: Thanks to the Lord for seeing me through so many hardships and continuing to give me more and more opportunities. Thanks to my wife April and the kids for being behind me 100%. And thanks to coach Durwyn Lamb and coach Tony Tipton and Master Sina Hadaad for giving me so much of their time and knowledge!