Introducing Nathan Jones
BritFights are pleased to introduce to you, Nathan ‘Mr Bag and Tag’ Jones. We first saw Nathan on WCMMA where he and all his team mates swept the board with great wins. Nathan is set to make his professional debut on December 1st for UCMMA against Mohammed Ali. We caught up with Nathan to find out more about him and his plans for the future.
Tell us a little more about you?
My name is Nathan Jones (yes like the wrestler/actor, and yes like the song that Bananarama sang). But I am Nathan ‘Mr Bag & Tag’ Jones fighting out of Combat Company, Richmond. I am 6ft and currently fighting at 84kg but will look to go to 77kg in 2013.
How did you get into MMA originally?
It started 2 years ago. I had a friend that went for a free trial at Combat Company and asked if I wanted to come along. At the time I had just started to live by the ‘YES’ philosophy (where you say yes to everything – it is a great film!). So naturally (and naively) I said yes. I quite enjoyed the session except sharing others sweat and finding myself in rather compromising positions – but nonetheless, I kept an open mind. When asked if I wanted to join I said YES. When asked if I wanted to compete. I said YES. When asked if I wanted to fight I said WHEN!?!?
It is quite amazing as if you said to me before, that I would be competing at a professional level, I would not have believed you in a million years! But what is more, is that I love it. A full bio can be found on my website: www.mrbagandtag.com
Who do you look up to as a fighter and why?
I look up to the original Mohammed Ali. In a nutshell I am moved by him voicing his views on the Vietnam War. America in the 1960’s was a tentative and uncertain time for black people. Despite risking everything, Ali kept his standpoint. His statements against the Vietnam War raised awareness and inspired others in their fight for equality and anti-war campaigns. I believe he was a social activist and a cultural icon. Not to mention his boxing achievements. Legend!
What’s it like training at Combat Company?
It is great, the atmosphere is really friendly and there is a lot of banter, there is never a dull moment (until it is time for core work). I have a strong team behind me and I am always pushed. It is also really convenient to get to – right on top of Richmond station!
What is a typical week like for you training and how does it differ in the lead up to a fight?
I train 5 days a week – 2-3 hours a day. I tend to spread my training evenly over the days and the disciplines. Depending on what I am competing in or who I am fighting against will determine what I focus on. In preparation for this fight I have visited Legacy BJJ and Legion Wrestling. During my boot camp, I will include 3 days a week road and core work in the mornings.
How do your friends and family feel about you fighting?
My friends think it is cool, my mother and sisters aren’t too keen, people at work are surprised as they do not attribute me as a fighter as I am a nice guy (but do not take my kindness for a weakness). For everyone else they are intrigued. I regularly have to correct people as I am a mixed martial artist and not a cage fighter.
So what is the ‘day job’ and any other hobbies outside of MMA?
‘I serve the community in the day and train to fight bad guys at night’
I am a youth support worker and have been active in the Richmond Youth Service since 2005. In this time I have undertaken various roles in various locations spanning across the whole borough. I have undertaken a range of projects such as, universal afterschool club, detached sessions and holiday provision. I am currently focusing on targeted work with vulnerable and at risk young people. In the new year I will be running a MMA fitness programme for my young people – educating them in the sport and instilling the discipline. I love what I do and have great job satisfaction. I am a hard worker and commit to what I do 100%. I am currently studying an MA in Youth Work and Community Learning and Development. I love learning and getting stuck in. Amongst all of that, I am a family man. I love spending time with my son and my niece. I am very lucky as I have an amazing girlfriend that supports me.
You recently fought on WCMMA against Joe Gilmartin winning by UD. How did the fight go for you? What was it like getting the win and how proud were you of combat company sweeping the board that night?
The fight went to plan – I got in, got on, got off and got out. Getting the win was almost as good as having sex – but Combat Company sweeping the board that night, was just as good as sex! On WCMMA 6 I had many chances to finish the fight – but as the rounds are so short, I thought it was best to use the occasion for cage experience. I was getting ready for a bout on the Fight Scene 4 (a month after) against Tomasz Glinski, who is a proclaimed tough dude. I lost a close decision (but believe the fight would have been mine if there was a third round – hence why I am stepping up!) It was a pleasure to fight both Joe and Tomasz as they are nice guys and I wish them well.
You are due to fight Mohammed Ali 2-2-0. What do you know about him as a fighter?
I think he is tough – but anyone I fight at this level will be. I know come 1st December he will have his hands full. Playtime is over…
Ali enters on a win, does this make you more nervous?
I am always nervous when I step in the cage – but I feed off the fear – it keeps me focused. Its fight or flight!
How are you feeling knowing you are making the Pro Debut?
To be honest what makes me more nervous is that this is my professional debut on Sky Sports with an audience of 2.3 million viewers. I am certainly excited to get it in, this is my time to demonstrate my skills and make a statement.
Is there anyone you really want to fight in the future and why?
I have a few in mind – but that is another interview.
What are your long term goals in MMA?
To be honest I am going with the flow – I will continue to work hard and make the most of all opportunities that come my way. I have just signed with Colosseum Sports so I believe the sky is the limit. At the moment MMA for me is about learning and enjoying. I am focused in progressing and making a difference in my current line of work.
Any fight night superstitions or rituals?
During the lead up to the fight I repeatedly count my blessings, speak to my angels and visualise each round and all possible variations. Afterwards I picture my hand raised and practice my winning speech!
What has been your biggest learning curve so far and any advice for others?
I used to be scared of my opponents and fearful of what could happen to me but having doubters has only fuelled my desire to succeed. I have learned to flip it on its head and have the perspective that I am a S.O.B. and this is what I am going to do to my opponent. For me this grows the more I fight, consequently I fight better.
Advice that I would give to others is to enjoy it and leave it all in the cage. You get out what you put in, so train hard!
Tell us your prediction for your fight?
I will be 1-0, I am going to fight my fight and get the job done. Option a) round 2, TKO – shin to chin served with a portion of ground and pound – good night sweet heart. Option b) round 1 TKO – take down, ground control and drop bombs – wham bam strawberry jam. Option c) if he wants to go to ground then I will submit him – tap, snap or nap. Or option d) just win – 1-0 BAG AND TAG!
I want to thank everyone that has helped me get to where I am – on and off the mat! to my coaches at Combat Company, Peter Simon – boxing, Gabriel Rainho – BJJ and judo, Moss Houdini – wrestling, Wez Lucas – K1 and kick boxing and Mike Rosenstock for strength and conditioning. Thanks also to Ashleigh Grimshaw who helped me string it all together. I would like to also thank my team mates, friends, family, and my fans who believe in me come rain or shine.