Thursday, January 4, 2018

Interview with MMA pro Carson Gregory; Jose Haro to box in March

The next SteelFist card is Saturday, January 13, in SLC, and the co-main pro bout matches undefeated Carson Gregory, of Lehi (seen above), against a very tough veteran out of Idaho, Mike Jones. It's for the welterweight promotional belt.

We had the opportunity to chat with Jones recently and we share that with out readers now.

(About himself, his MMA history and fighters he admires) GREGORY I started MMA when I was 14 years old. I was looking for the new hobby. Throughout my high school years MMA has kept me clean and true to my values. Because I'm Mormon I'm often asked at church how I can fight when we believe we're all children of God. I simply tell them that MMA helps me fight my depression and anxiety and has kept me out of trouble since an early age. And then usually answer their question with another one of my own; Why wouldn't God want me in something that helps me stick to my values and keeps me clean? Francis Ngannou is a new and upcoming athlete in MMA who I look up to. He's all about the KO. I can relate to that. I don't believe that MMA should be a point game. I believe that when you step into that ring that it should be a "kill-or-be-killed" mentality, not to see who can score the most points or hold each other down. Another fighter I relate to and respect a lot would be Chuck Liddell. He was never anything special as far as an athlete goes. He just had tremendous heart and a deadly right overhand. I feel like I'm in a very similar boat. I'm nothing incredible as far as an athlete goes but I know I can hit like a freight train and I know I have more heart than any fighter! 

(On where he trains, his coaches, and other athletes he trains and spars with) GREGORY:  I'm training out of Xcite MMA in Lehi. My coaches are Mark Balcer and Dustin Smith. I'm currently the only active fighter in our gym. My gym does not like to spar a whole bunch, we generally try to keep sparring at a minimum. Our training is focused around drills and lots of fight applicable mitt work.

(On his strengths, his opponent Jones' strengths and how he plans to win) GREGORY: My strengths are obviously in my hands. My footwork is very unorthodox and I can strike at awkward angles. My goal is to move like Muhammad Ali and hit like Mike Tyson. My opponent is an opportunist not a warrior. He has a good one two and a half-decent head kick. It's nothing special or that I haven't seen before. I just need to go out there and fight my fight. My game plan never changes its all the same. Use my footwork to break my opponent down then go in for the kill.

(On where he plans to be a year from now in the sport) GREGORY: A year from now I plan on fighting in UFC or at least Bellator. Sooner or later a bigger promotion like them is going to want an exciting fighter like me fighting for them. It's not a matter of if just when. The only thing that separates me from other fighters already in those promotions is experience. I'm still very young in this sport and just need a little more time.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Carson, and good luck the 13th. We also wish Jones the best of luck as well, and all the competitors. It's a great card. The main pro bout matches former UFC fighter Clay Collard against Troy Dennison. It's a great opportunity for Troy. Two good amateur title bouts match Lehi Dominguez against Alonzo Salas and Ha'va Nathan Owens versus Tyson Roberts.

NOTES: A couple of news nuggets: Rowdy Akers, of One Hit MMA, an MMA pro who had retired after winning a very exciting bout over John Valentine, is making a comeback. He will fight Tyler Polito on March 10 on a card promoted by Fierce Fighting Championship. Valentine, by the way, has enjoyed success in top-flight grappling competitions recently. And Andy Pitcher, of Smithfield, will fight Ben Goins on the March 17 inaugural Mountain Force MMA card in Logan. 


Big news for Utah boxing. Jose Haro, of West Jordan, the United States Boxing Association professional featherweight champ, announced this past week on social media that he will fight undefeated Jean Rivera on March 17 at the storied, historic Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout will be televised on ESPN. Best of luck to Jose, and we hope to talk with him prior to the bout.

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