It is amazing when you can sit down to interview someone you just met or saw on TV and you instantly feel like you have known them forever. This is just the case when we sat down with Anthony Mitchell who some of you may know from the Strikeforce Challengers 12 card where he submitted Jeffrey Huedgepeth. Mitchell (2-0 professional record) trains out of the Knockout Fitness Center in Flowood, Mississippi holds a Brown Belt in Jiu Jitsu and has trained with some of the best in the world such as Anderson Silva, Junior Dos Santos and more. He defines the word humble in all aspects especially with all the accolades he has earned throughout his life. So take a minute to get inside the head of a guy that is sneaking under the radar but is a superstar to the people that know him. Also take a minute to follow him on Twitter as he may have one of the coolest handles out there @bigantmonster.
Hey Anthony how’s it going? Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to come talk to us here at ArtofMMA.com. Can you take a minute to talk to our readers about just who you are and what got you into the world of MMA?
Mitchell: Hey man it’s going great! It is a pleasure to sit down and talk and thank you for taking time out of your life to talk to me. I started out as a body builder because I love competition and I saw MMA as another way of competition and was hooked from the start. I don’t have one of those bad childhood stories or drama and all that I am just a guy that loves competition and testing myself. I am not like those guys you see on The Ultimate Fighter and speaking about that I would never to it. One of my teammates Wes Shivers was on it and said it was the worst experience of his life, guys locked in a house doing dumb stuff to get on TV, that just ain’t me. I am just a normal hard working guy and it’s all about the challenge to me. I not one of these “I have to go out and kill this guy” or “I wanna hurt this guy bad” types. Man leave that stuff at home there ain’t not place for it here. Why would I want to hurt a guy, he has a family at home and probably has to go to work the next day to feed his family. Those type of guys get under my skin.
That’s awesome and all too true, a bunch of the fighters I have had the privilege to talk to are the same way, very competition driven. Can you take a minute to talk to us about you’re your team and some of the guys that you have trained with because it is quite the impressive list!
Mitchell: Yeah I train with some cool ass people haha. I train at under Israel Gomes who is my head BJJ instructor, Jarrett Becks (BJJ), Johnny Little (striking and MMA coach), Randall Powell (Judo, BJJ coach), Chris Wright (crossfit) and Brian Albin (Crossfit) just to names a few. I have rolled with some amazing dudes like Anderson Silva at his camp, Gustavo “Gutty” Mugiatti, as well as Alan Belcher. I got the chance to roll with Alex Martens a Black Belt under Carlos Diego Ferreira, I rolled with him for 7 minutes and he didn’t tap me, he just kicked my ass hahahaha. We have been all over the place and we are about to go to Canada in the upcoming months. Israel told me about it and I was like yeah I will go for the skiing and maybe we will get some JJ in hahaha.
Amazing! Now you started your pro career on the Strikeforce Challenger 12 card, any plans to jump into a big name promotion such as Bellator or the UFC?
Mitchell: I loved being on the Strikeforce Challenger card and thought I put on a great show winning via submission in the first round but when Zuffa came in and took over the Challenger Series ended. I was hoping to stay but only the really big name guys got contracts and I wasn’t one of them. I have been contacted by Bellator a couple of times but they just didn’t work out, I guess no one wanted to fight a BJJ guy. They asked me to take a fight on 3 days notice vs a Relson Gracie Fighter and I was ready to go but the medical procedures to fight took too long and I wasn’t able to fight. Funny story thought, I was in a restaurant and go figure that card was on TV and I was like hey that is the fight I was supposed to be in. Go figure that guy turned it into a BJJ fight and I think I would have taken that one.
That’s crazy, so how have you been keeping active in the world of MMA?
Mitchell: Keep training and working hard and I have been competing in a bunch of NAGA tournaments. I took 1st place at the NAGA Memphis Adult Purple Belt Gi division at 197.8lbs. I have been to the tournaments in Tennessee and Atlanta, Atlanta is the the only place where took second. Man I watched John Piper win all his matches leading up to final with me via Bow and Arrow and I am sitting there thinking “no way this dude beats me by bow and arrow”. Then Bam!!! I lose by yeah you guess it bow and arrow. I was humiliated, man I went back to the gym and for three weeks all I did was tap guys using a bow and arrow. I had to figure out the doorway to get out cause no matter what the hold and how deep it is in there is always a doorway out. That was a long 8 hour drive home but it drove me even more to get better. It don’t matter how good you are there is always someone better and that night I found that guy. I am training right now for the IBJJF New York Open tournament in New York where I plan to take first, then onto the Dallas Open. I don’t want to put in all this training and getting my ass kicked each day in the gym, then drive all the way to NY for second.
Wow first place in Memphis! congrats on that, how cool was that to win?
Mitchell: I don’t mean to sound cocky but I expect to win every time I step in cage or mat I expect to win. Man winning was pretty sweet and it’s cool anytime you can take home a belt. Plus with a big shiny belt people think your a badass hahaha.
You mentioned you were a body builder before getting into the world of MMA, how was that transition and what advice would you give to the people looking to get into the world of MMA?
Mitchell: Man it was AWFUL. Here I am a big muscular guy rolling jiu jitsu and getting my ass kicked each day. My first mistake was joining a gym that was full of just fighters and thinking I could hang. My training sessions consisted of me fighting them because that’s how they trained, but I knew from day one I loved it, hell im still with the same guys to this day. But each day I got my ass kicked a little less and felt myself getting better. They put me into a fight really early, and I did great for the first round, but yeah man that was it. I got to the corner and was beyond gassed I told my head coach Johnny Little “I am done” but I wasn’t gonna quit I got myself in this fight, and I’m here for the duration no matter how bad it gets. I took it to a decision but I knew I had a ton of work to do. For new guys looking to get started, man find a LEGIT GYM and do your research, it’s your money! Find out who the head instructor is and what have they done in the world of MMA. Yeah its gonna cost a little more but don’t fall into a trap. Be prepared to go through the steps, you won’t fight in a show after week one man you got to learn.
I will be the first to admit that when I saw your photos before we talked and I did my research I had you pegged as a stand and bang, short on words and aggressive guy. Man was I wrong but do you get that a lot? You are a big guy at 200lbs in the world of JJ.
Mitchell: Yeah there are times where I get it when I walk into a new gym or a tournament and I hear people whisper. But I am just a humble hard working dude who is not only here to win but to make everyone better. I roll with everyone at the gym no matter the level, try to share the game. I have people tell me after we roll “man thanks for not kicking my ass” and I just tell them man I am here to get you and me better. I like having those guys get me in positions that I have to work out of. I am also a fan of the guys that are like “whoa your bad ass I thought you would suck” and I just remind them yeah we got BJJ in Mississippi too bro hahaha.
So besides being the best in the world what is the overall goal of Anthony Mitchell?
Mitchell: Well I am about to open a new gym next month, that is pretty cool. I really want to pass my game along to the young kids. Not to start a fight but I want to see a little more Jiu Jitsu and a little less Karate out there. We have a bullying problem now a days and I think JJ can help with that cause we don’t teach kicking and punching like Karate does, and isn’t that were bullying starts? JJ helps build confidence without all that. I hate to see all these BJJ gyms struggling to keep alive when there is a new Karate place opening on every corner. But yeah man I want to pass my game along and help these kids./em>
We spoke about the coaches at No Limit BJJ and American Killer Bees are there any fighters we should keep our eye on or we should be looking at for future interviews?
Mitchell: Yeah man we got some straight badasses here! Jason Cefalu 125 (10-3 Ammy), Nick Rutland 125 (7-3 Ammy), Jon Jackson 145 (7-2 Ammy), Zeb Stroud 170 (5-1 Ammy) and James Horne 170 ammy who is 6-0 and will be going pro very soon. Don’t you worry I will send them your way. I don’t just expect big things for myself I expect it for them too.
Well I have to admit this has been one of the cooler interviews I have ever done, I am amazing how down to earth you are and how much you care about everyone. Are there any sponsors or people you would like to give mention?
Mitchell: Yeah man this has been a blast. I would really like to mentionwww.bradcooney.com, www.8countnews.com, www.ricksprotrucks.com,www.nolimitbjj.com, www.Americankillerbees.com, Shorter Productions and a big shout out to Jen (@Toughprincessjn) for setting this up, she is awesome! Also thank you and the rest of ArtofMMA.com, it is pretty cool that you take time out of your day and away from your family to talk to a guy like me and get my name out there, that is badass man!
Thanks for that man it was a blast.
There you have it folks! Make sure you are paying attention to perhaps one of the most overlooked good guys in the MMA world. Make sure to give him a follow on Twitter @bigantmonster!
UPDATE!! @Cagechattererik will be going up to NYC for Anthony’s Tournament on April 20th so make sure you are following him for updates, photos and tweets live from the Tournament!