Here at ArtofMMA.com we pride ourselves on bringing you not only big name fighters but introducing you to the up and comers in the sport. This week we are dedicating fiver days of interviews to the Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) as they prepare to put forth their biggest card to date, CFFC 24 on May 11th from the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. The Fighter Relations and Public Relations Dept of the CFFC (Devon Mathiesen and James O’Hagan) have been nice enough to let us interview basically the entire card of fighters and let you get a up close and personal look at these amazing fighter who are on the cusp of being Bellator and/or UFC superstars!
Next up in our look at the CFFC 24 card is 2-0 Jonathan Delbrugge who fights out of Baltimore . He sports a perfect pro and amateur record and is known world round for his BJJ skills. He will be facing off vs Derrick Kennington (6-4) who is coming to the CFFC via Bellator. This fight has amazing written all over it so take a second to get to know a name that, if all according to plan could be tapping out the competition in every promotion very soon.
Hey Jonathan thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us. How have things been going and can you take a minute to tell us what got you into the sport of MMA?
Delbrugge: I grew up in a pretty big wrestling family but I was always involved with hockey or football so I didn’t really get into wrestling until I was a junior in high school. I went to West Liberty College on a football scholarship but I always kept close with the wrestlers and I always kinda regretted not starting wrestling earlier and pursuing it. I went to a couple local shows in support of those guys and I found myself thinking “I could do that” I mean I was always wrestling with them and tossing them around. So one day I got on the phone with my little brother and he was seriously into MMA, he suggested I try BJJ and get into a tournament.
We drove to the NAGA tournament and I won my division, tapping everyone out, he took second. I posted some of the videos on Facebook and I got a ton of replies and Coach Julius Park (current coach) talked to me about it. I was in love and I dropped out of school to pursue a career in BJJ. I am now training full time and work at the gym, it’s my job, I love it! I don’t have to worry about problems that people have with their everyday job because this is mine!
That’s awesome and could be the most complete answer I have ever received haha. Coach Park is a big name in the business and is very well respected. Can you take a minute to talk about him and what he puts you through to train you to be the best?
Delbrugge: He is an amazing coach and I have a ton of respect for him. He told me right off the bat I needed a specialty and not wrestling for all those years I had a lot of coaching up to do. We pretty much put 10 years into maybe 4 or 5 years just grinding and competing. I went from a White Belt to a Purple Belt in about 11 months, no joke man we were really putting in work. I still am, Coach has me working on everything, for example I work on grappling for 6 hours a day for 6 days a week. I have competed all over the world and received many different awards, for example I am a 2 time medalist at the Pan Ams and a US Open Champion just to name very few. I have been around the scene a long time i just haven’t been competing in MMA for that long. Coach was getting me ready.
It sure looks like it man! If you want to get a list of exactly go follow him on Twitter and ask @DEVASTATOR155. He is a really nice guy and very approachable, highly recommend! Now this will be your second fight in the CFFC, can you talk to us about what it means to be in this organization and how amazing is it to be on such an epic card as the one they have put together on 5/11?
Delbrugge: I really like being in the CFFC, they are very professional and they really take the steps to get their fighters ready for that next step like the UFC and Bellator. This promotion has been around for a while and done some great things in the sport, they really got big after that Kimbo vs Mercer fight which wouldn’t have happened on some small promotion, these guys are for real.
Being on this card really means a lot to mean and it is an awesome feeling. I feel like I belong on a card with these guys, I have led a very professional career and take this job very serously. I am very excited to see a lot of the fights on this card as it is stacked with talant.
Yeah this card is going to be something very special and really open the eyes of those who don’t know about it. Now you have drawn a very tough opponent in Derrick Kennington who is making his CFFC debut after fighting in Bellator. What kind of emotions went through your mind when it was announced. You are the guy the CFFC has placed to fight a big name coming in from a bigger promotion. Also what do you think about this fight? Also you have only been to a decision once in your career and he has a couple times, do you feel that could come in to his game plan to test you in the deep waters?
Delbrugge: I would like to start out by saying I have so much respect for Derrick, he is an active duty part of our military and that is something special. Props to him for that, I know I couldn’t do it and for a guy such as himself to put his life on the line for this country is really something amazing. I have a ton of respect for everyone in our military.
On to the fighter, truth be told we asked for a fighter that was coming in from The Ultimate Fighter but he turned that down, I won’t name him but he knows who he is. But we wanted a big name guy, we want to fight those veterans who have been in the spotlight and been on those wars. I think we got that in Derrick and I think it will be a great fight. I have been building these skills for a while now it is time to showcase them!
As for the fight itself our only concern is getting that W and I am willing to do anything to get it. I feel my team and coaches have me ready for anything. He is a big, tough and confident guy coming here from Bellator and I realize he doesn’t care who I am he wants to finish me. The way I think he is 6-4 so there are at least 4 ways to finish him and this fight is really going to come down to skill vs skill and who can execute their game plan.
Yeah it is a glaring thing that he has been to the judges more than me and he may be thinking “how will Jonathan react”. Well I am ready for that and ready to grind out that W for as long as it takes. I assume he is training hard cause I am and he has to know I will take any advantage I can, I am sure he will do. It will be an exciting fight I can tell you that!
I hear ya there! I am ready for this fight now haha. Now you have that amazing list of things you have accomplished all over the world. Where has been your favorite place and why?
Delbrugge: The best place to fight in the world is right here in the USA!!!! Besides that I am a big fan of Brazil because they tend not to like Americans and you get that sense as a fighter of being being enemy lines, I love that! I am also a huge fan of their beaches but yeah the good old USA is the best!
Awesome answer! Now it’s time for the Fight Club question we ask everyone. If you could stand across the cage from anyone who would it be and why?
Delbrugge: Well I really wanted that fight with the former TUF contestant but to be honest I want anyone currently in the UFC or Bellator that is coming to the CFFC or an organization like that. I am not one for calling people out I just want to be the best and face the best.
Nice! Now looking back on your entire career is there anything you wish you could change?
Delbrugge: I wish I had gotten into wrestling sooner. Coming from a family like I do and having those genes there is no telling where I could be if I went down that road. I also wish I had built a base sooner. I have had a great time at my gym Crazy 88 and they really have made me, along with Coach Park to be pretty successful. Going all over the world and competing like I did, there were times as an ammy that after facing black belts abroad then having a match in the USA I felt like I was facing white belts.
So what type of advise would you give to a typical fan thinking they want to get in the world of MMA?
Delbrugge: Find the best local gym or school that you can. Google it, chances are if they are on Google then they have the money to advertise and if you have the money you must be doing something right. Make sure to see which local gym has the most champions and active duty fighters as well. And if your young WRESTLE!!!
Quick and to the point I like that. Before we let you go are there any people or sponsors you would like to mention?
Delbrugge: I would like to that Coach Julius Park and Crazy 88 and my manager David Zwanetz. My sponsors are Vivid Salon and Spa also wholemonthfree.com. Thanks so much for having me guys this was a blast!
Absolutely man and best of luck on Saturday. We look forward to the fight and talking to you again.