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The Interview: “Future Champ” John McGuin

John McGuin is the 170lb 4-0, Chet Schemahorn protege. He trains and fights out of Indiana and the Michiana Fight League. From Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the cage, the sky is the limit for the “Future Champ”.

As the “Future Champ” at 170lbs,take sometimeand tell the people a little about the 4-0 Gracie Jiu Jitsu fighter out of Indiana? Where did you get your start and what made you want to step in the cage and do mixed martial arts?

McGuin: I first started training in my apartment when i was 20 years old. It all began with me getting the idea to hang a punching bag in my room & pad the floor out with some spare mats I had. My brother was cool with it even though we lived on the second floor. To say the least we got a lot of complaints. All I did was hit the punching bag for about a two years. My friend showed me the B.J.Penn instructional MMA book when I was 22 & it changed everything. After that I bought Royce Gracie’s book. I saw the technical aspect of MMA in jiu-jitsu & knew I needed to join a gym if I was going to be serious about becoming an MMA fighter.

I started at the LaGrange Gracie Academy shortly after. Professor Chet Schemahorn, a gracie jiu-jitsu 1 stripeblack belt, has now been my instructor for almost 5 years & ranked me up to a purple belt. Ryron Gracie is our leader as he passes down the art at its purest form. Jiu-Jitsu became my passion & my love. I became a Gracie Fighter because I use Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as my main martial art form. I believe you have to learn how to defend yourself first if you want to last in this sport. About 4 years ago I met my striking coach, Dan Weed, at an MMA event in South Bend, IN. He invited me to his gym & i began to train kickboxing/MMA with him on Friday nights before my jiu-jitsu class in LaGrange. Two years of training with Dan & three years with Chet; my MMA career began.

We took on & beat 4 good opponents together in the amateur ranks as we continued to improve my skill set & knowledge. I traveled & trained at a few gyms on top of that throughout the years. Now I carry the label “future champ” because all thats ever on my mind is becoming the UFC champion. I work as hard as I can every day to make this a possibility.

There seems to bea lot of local talent coming out of Indiana lately and with the local promotions such as the Michiana Fight League, do you feel like you can stay in Indiana and grow as a fighter or do you feel like you might have to start travelling to places like California, New Mexico or New Jersey and train with some of those camps?

McGuin: There are some great fighters & a lot of talent coming out of Indiana. Most of them are professional fighters & are doing really well. We have a great state for amateur MMA also. The MFL is the league I fought in out of South Bend, Indiana. They have great venues & some amazing fans. My fan base has definitely grown since fighting in their shows. Luckily, I have been spoiled with jiu jitsu in my area. Chet Schemahorn is a the real deal & can translate techniques with ease. There are only monsters at his gym in LaGrange. Recently i started training & becoming good friends with Kroyler Gracie. Kroyler is a black belt & direct grandson of Grandmaster Helio Gracie. He’s an amazing teacher & a very special talent at only 24 years old. But i do believe I have to expand my training to find better & more advanced training partners. I’ll be in California this spring with my brother, Thomas, to train & mainly learn under Ryron Gracie. After my knee heals up I’ll be traveling to Chicago to train with team Top Notch under Mac Ramos. I can’t call myself an official team member until I put in my time there, but I plan to make that my MMA home.

Every fighter from every discipline will tell you that their styleis the key to success. However, Gracie Jiu Jitsu fighters have a very long history of success. Do you feel Jiu Jitsu gives you the key to success in the
cage and what other skills are you working hard on to continue to grow as a fighter?

McGuin: I do feel like Gracie jiu-jitsuis definitely is the key to my success. I’ve been taught from day one if you don’t lose, how can the other guy win. Now that I feel like I can’t “lose”, fighting & going for the kill becomes much more comfortable. I’ve been grappling more than ever but striking has been a huge focal point in my training recently. Being dangerous from everywhere is very important to me. So I’ve been training hard on becoming a well rounded fighter & catching my striking up with my grappling abilities.

When you think of the 170lb Welterweight division, you instantly think of Georges St-Pierre (and now maybe Johny Hendricks). What did you think of his last fight and if you were Johny Hendricks what do you think he should have done differently to make sure he won the fight? How would you have approached the fight with St-Pierre?

McGuin: With the Hendricks vs St-Pierre fight I thought Johny won the fight by a landslide. There wouldn’t be much I would do differently if I where Johny except maybe go for the kill. To me, damage tells the story. It’s hard for fighters because there really isn’t a blue print on how to win a fight. Different judges, judge fights different ways. But I’m like the Diaz brothers in the way that I will drop to 155 or fight 170. The older I get I’ll have to go to 170 because of natural muscle weight gain. At 155 I have a big height & reach advantage. Right now it’s not that bad of a weight cut for me at all so it would definitely be my preference. If I were to fight Georges I would try & defend the takedown if possible & pepper him with strong boxing. I believe Nick Diaz had the right skill set to do it but wasn’t himself when he fought Georges in Canada.

As a fighter, what was your most memorable fight and as a fan what is the one fight that either made you love this sport or really stands out as your favorite of all time. If you had your pick, anyone throughout the history of MMA, who would be your dream opponent?

McGuin: My most memorable fight as a fighter would be my last fight against TJ Pettigrew because I was dealing with a recurring knee injury. A week before the fight my knee popped & made it difficult on me. The main reason why this was my most memorable fight was because of the crowd. I have the best family, friends, & fans anyone could ask for. When I fight they bring the noise & I can’t thank them enough for being there for me. The most memorable fight I’ve ever seen was the Nick Diaz vs Takori Gomi fight. To see thestand up war they had end in a go go plata was priceless. Nick Diaz is a true master of martial art. My dream opponent would have to be (Kazushi) Sakuraba. He was such a dynamic fighter & always was fighting the Gracie family.

You recently had surgery on your knee. How did the procedure go and how long ofa recovery process are you facing? When can we expect the “Future Champ” back in the cage and what’s next for you?

McGuin: Yes, I just had lateral meniscus repair surgery in late November at Elkhart General Hospital. The surgery actually went better than expected. I went under thinking the doctor was going to take out my meniscus but when I woke up from surgery he told me he was able to repair the damage. This calls for a longer rehab process but it’s much better for my long term knee health. The recovery process will take three to four months.After my knee is back to full health I’ll be making my way to team Top Notch in Chicago. I’m aiming for late 2014 to make my pro debut. I’m taking time to improve all my skill set because I don’t want to be an average fighter. I want to be a champion. I would like to thank God for everything in my life. He is good. Thanks to sponsors Defense Soap, Slaven Brews, Weichart Reality, URfightsite.com & Aries sports rub. Also a big thanks to the ArtofMMA.com. You can follow me on Twitter @JohnMcGuin.

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