Flyweight prospect JJ Jones will face Colton Kielbasa in his pro-MMA debut on Jan.8 at TFC 5 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Dangermouse” talks to The AllStar’s John Hyon Ko about:
- Training in Thailand During the Pandemic
- Bangtao Muay Thai and MMA
- Amatuer Career
- Training Camps with UFC strawweight Loma Lookboonmee
On His Journey to Thailand (2:09)
“I came to Thailand on the recommendation of a friend. I was about 18. I just fell in love with the lifestyle here. I like the gyms here, training was good, and there is a lot more people here my size being a flyweight. When you are in England or America there’s not a lot of flyweights. Here there’s a lot more small people to train with.”
On Switching gyms in Thailand (2:38)
“I started at Phuket Top Team with Vaughn Lee, Ruddy Roots, Ben Royale training there. Then after time I progressed to training at Tiger [Muay Thai] with George Hickman, Alex Schild, Frank Hickman…with the Hickman bros. Obviously now I’ve transititoned to Bangtao [Muay Thai and] MMA following the Hickmans.
“COVID produced me with the opportunity to train with some of the best coaches Asia has to offer. On a more one-to-one scale. Because of COVID it gave me a chance to show my skills, show myself, build a relationship with the coaches, and move forward with them.”
On His Training Camps with UFC Strawweight Loma Lookboonmee (5:40)
“It’s actually huge. It’s crazy looking back when I was like 15, 14 watching Loma fight. Watching UFC on Fight Pass, watching YouTube videos. I never met like a proper UFC fighter before. Now, looking at it it’s a casual thing. Training with UFC fighters everyday. I’m helping them. The fact me, JJ can help someone get ready for a UFC fight blows my mind. I don’t have that confidence and self belief to realize that I’m actually helping somebody. I feel like more of a hindrance. But now this camp I actually can produce some skills to help that person get ready for such a big event.”
“It gives you an insight of what the top looks like. It gives you a feel for the process. Doing the process without being in the process yourself. It’s like a run through. You get to see all the little things they have to do and the pressure that person is under. You see that. Mentality you get to prepare yourself when it’s your turn. It shows you the good and bad sides of being in the UFC. Because it’s not all golden. It’s not like a golden gate when you arrive to the UFC. You can see that. You can see the good and bad sides of being a high-level professional fighter.”