Fighting is everything to me, it transformed my life and really gave me something to focus on. It gives you confidence with every day life, in training I’m always being pushed and smashed by my team mates and coaches. As soon as you learn to deal with that. Life becomes easier, well for me anyway it did.
TSP: How did you start getting involved in MMA? And what did you like of it?
JW: Hey guys cheers for the interview, really happy you asked… How did I start getting into MMA. Erm, only recently really, I’ve been competing in BJJ and Muay Thai for nearly three years, my friend was in Canada in 2009 where BJJ and MMA was massive so when he returned he persuaded me to give it a try (BJJ) from there i never looked back quit playing football and I’m now in pursuit of my dream career. I love absolutely everything about it, it appealed to me so much with all the respect that all fighters have for each other. There isn’t many sports out there that show the same respect.
TSP: A lot of people started following MMA with UCF1 and 2. As a new fighter, what is your idea about the 90’s vale tudo challenges and the modern MMA?
JW: The older vale tudo fights are great to look back on and watch, they were a purer form then where most fighters relied on one discipline. But as it’s evolved like everything it’s become fantastic to watch, everyone now is so rounded so it makes things really exciting.
TSP: Who is your inspirational fighter?
JW: There is a few fighters that really inspire me, the biggest now being the Notorious Conor McGregor, I haven’t just recently jumped on this guys band wagon too. I have been following him since his cagewarrior days. The guy is unbelievable, has it all from the fighting skills to the mindset. I’m a big fan of Michael Bisping too, I believe he is the best guy we have in the UK at the moment in the UFC… until I arrive!!
TSP: What’s your training schedule?
JW: My training schedule is pretty normal for a full time athlete, I train six days a week, at least twice a day some days even three or four. It involves a lot of BJJ and Mauy Thai, weights and conditioning, wrestling, running and soon to be some boxing.
TSP: What do you think about BJJ applications in MMA? What’s your favourite style while fighting?
JW: I don’t get these guys who don’t believe in BJJ for MMA, for me it’s a massive part, you need to be confident overall, or your weakness get exploit. BJJ is a great base to build off. A high level BJJ fighter can hold dominate positions which is ideal for MMA. I’m happy standing punching, kneeing and kicking, but you know what if I’m on my back I’m just as happy. Most of my submissions in BJJ comps are off my back.
TSP: Can you tell us something about your latest matches?
JW: So the last quarter of the year has been amazing for me, back in September i fought at the 02 in K1 World Championships, took bronze that day but ended up fighting the eventual winner (Tim Lo) in the semi finals. We had a war and it went the whole 3 rounds. Tim was the North American Thai Champion so to fight against him was a great experience but was also credit to my striking coach Alex Costa, he is the best striker I know. November was a massive month, I become BJJ English Champion submitting 2 of the 3 opponents and then just last saturday (22/11/14) I won my MMA debut in 2 minute 30 something by rear naked choke, what a great experience it was with all my coaches.
TSP: I see you train with Carlson Gracie Team. Who are your coaches?
JW: I’m part of Carlson Gracie Essex and I’m really proud to be a member of the team. I believe we have one of the best competition teams in the UK right now. My coach is Alain Pozo, and what a coach he is!, I know I speak for all of the team when I tell you he is an inspiration to us. He fights everything, and to me its what you want from your coaches, you don’t want a pot bellied smoker giving instructions from the side. Alain lives the lifestyle with us all, diets to make weight does his conditioning and always puts it all on the line on the mat/cage.
TSP: Who would you like to fight abroad and where?
JW: I love Holland, I love to go to Mejiro gym out there and train kick boxing. It’s run by Andre Mannaart who is a legend of the sport. I get along with his son Roel well, who himself is a very good kick boxer. So always feel welcome. So yeah, to fight in Holland is a big goal of mine, or the United States, but I plan on concurring that continent after this one. Not really looking to fight anyone in particular, just take every one as they come. They are just all one body to remove on my way up. I’d love to train with Anderson Silva though just to see if I could hit him haha!
TSP: What “fighting” means to you? Have you ever needed to use your fighting skills outside the mat/cage?
JW: Fighting is everything to me, it transformed my life and really gave me something to focus on. It gives you confidence with every day life, in training I’m always being pushed and smashed by my team mates and coaches. As soon as you learn to deal with that. Life becomes easier, well for me anyway it did. Luckily I’ve never had to use what I have learnt outside of the competition. Which is probably more lucky for them.
TSP: What are your goals in the next future. Do you see yourself involved more in MMA or BJJ? Or both?
JW: My goals for the short term future are just competing. I will be at the Ibjjf European Championships next January and hopefully in California in late May for the Worlds. I want to get another professional Thai fight in as well, maybe even a boxing bout if I can get one! Then you’ll see me back in the cage. In the future though you’ll see me definitely fighting in the UFC it’s everything I’m working towards. I quit my job twice for this. It’s the life i love and will live!!
TSP: Please tell us something about yourself and your hobbies outside the cage…
JW: There isn’t too much to me if I’m honest, just a nice looking guy from Colchester… I enjoy long walks on the beach and a bit of One Direction hahaha! No I’m pretty easy going trying to enjoy every possible moment I get. Mobdro for iPhone Hobbies outside the cage for me include most sports, I love watching my brothers and friends play for a local team. They are decent too, I reckon they would give Colchester United a battle lol! They are a rowdy bunch. I really enjoy Yoga too, I have been trying to go once a week to improve my flexibility and just to meditate.
TSP: Many of our followers love combat sports. All of them love football. Are you into football James? What’s your team? If not, which other sports do you like?
JW: I am into football yes, I use to follow Manchester United, ironic isn’t it!? As I’m from the south, I have watched them at Old Trafford a handful of times and Wembley a few times too. But not in the last four years really, my focus is solely on this now.
TSP: Anything else that you would like to add?
JW: A real big thank you to Three Stroke Productions on giving me the interview, it’s been a pleasure! Thank you to all my coaches and sparring partners at 9th legion training centre. A big thanks to family and friends for the on going support and to my sponsors, The Point Clinic who always make sure I’m physically ready to fight and to Opro with their fantastic custom made gumsields which keep my teeth in my head. Thanks to Okami Fight gear for all the training and fight equipment!
TSP: Thanks James, wish you the best!