The heavyweight division has always been the glamour division of combat sports. On Saturday May 18, 2019 at the Ponchatoula Rec Center in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, Brandon Hebert will battle Nunzio Camarata for the Bayou FC professional heavyweight title at Bayou FC 37: Ponchatoula.
Thug Passion: Tell me about how you got that name?
“Its a short story. When I first started at Gladiators back in 2013, I walked into the gym, and back then I was 24, I didn’t give a sh*t. I walked in all thugged out, and Tim Credeur, he’s a god, if he notices stuff, he’s gonna call it out. So I walked in, and Tim said ‘Hey, look, Thug Passion walking in to get some work. It stuck ever since.”
You’re fighting Nunzio Camarata at Bayou FC 37. What do you think he brings to the fight?
“He’s a brown belt, so we are working on takedown defense, BJJ. To be honest, I dont know, I can’t tell you anything other than he’s a brown belt, and he’s been doing it for a really long time.”
Tell me, whats this week going to be like for you?
“No difference. Same old basics that we do every camp. Work on conditioning. Once we get that down, work some technique, take down defense.”
What’s it like with heavyweights out there?
“Mike Stall, Mike Doja, another pro fighter out of Headkicks, used to come to Gladiators in Lafayette, but moved over to Headkicks. It’s like finding a unicorn, trying to find a good heavyweight to train with, so when you find one, you got to go get ’em. But working with little guys has its benefits. They’re so much faster than I am, so I’ve got to be creative.”
Every superhero has an origin story. What’s yours? Where do you come from? What got you into fighting?
My grandpa was a boxer. My mom was a brown belt in Shotokan karate, my uncle too. I was overweight at one time. I was always into sports, but then I did the family thing, I was away from school, no recreational things, so I gained some weight. Then, I started to train. Once I did, I started getting better and better. When I got to Crowley, I told Christian [Fulgium] that I wanted a fight, and he got me one. It’s been like that ever since. “
What’s a typical week like for you? How often are you training and what do you typically train and when?
“I’m off of work Sunday and Monday, so Monday in the morning I train with Christian. I do a private session with him and we work on a few different things, a kickboxing class, then BJJ. I start at 9:30 and I’m done by 1:00. Monday is my hard day. In the afternoon, if I’m feeling alright, I do an extra class. Tuesday, I go to work at 8:00am. After I get off, I rush over to Headkicks and start training at 7:00 in the evening and get done at 8-8:30. Wednesday I usually do my own thing: cardio, jogging, sit-ups, and work on my striking. I work on what I feel I need. Thursdays I work all day then go training at 8:00 in the evening at Headquarters in Lafayette, and that’s not over until 9:30-10:00. Friday, I usually rest. Saturday I go to work, and do my own thing in the evening.”
What do you like most about fighting?
“I got 3 kids, and I want to leave something behind for them. My mom and uncle didn’t make it there in karate, so I’d like to leave stuff for my kids. I love shining for my family.”
What do you feel is your biggest strength?
“My grit, not giving up. I’m well-rounded, striking, jiu jitsu. It can go anywhere. But what sets me apart from others is grit and heart.”
What was it like the first time that you stepped into the cage? What was going through your mind?
“March 25 2017. With everything going through my mind, it’s hard to remember, hard to play back. It’s all like a blur. The video never got released, so I was never able to watch it to see what I did. I watched some crappy video from the outside. What I remember from it was warming up and they called me late. My song had played almost all the way through, so I had to hurry up and rush to get out there. Next think I knew the bell rang, and shortly after I was in the back taking my gloves off. The training took over and I didn’t really feel a thing.”
Who has been your biggest challenge in the cage thus far and why?
“My sixth fight was my first loss, that was my toughest fight. I was fighting myself in there. In September I did a BJJ competition in Lake Charles, and broke my toe. It bothered me since September. October 13th I had a fight in Houma, which I can count on one hand all the times I trained for that fight because of my toe, but I actually got a knockout in that fight, making me 5-0. However, I broke my foot in that fight, so I can count on two hands how much I trained for that fight plus my next one, and on fight day, I weighted in at 263. I had to cut weight for that fight. I was out of shape, chubby, and so slow, so I was fighting myself on that one. I went in there and thought I was going to knock this guy out, and I tried in the first round, but after that, he kept taking me down, and holding me down. My last fight and my first loss as an amateur were my toughest fights.”
Obviously, your long-term goal is to become a world champion. What are your short-term goals? What are you doing to help you get there?
“The next year I want to have 4-5 other pro fights, obviously all wins, if I can get to 4-1, 5-1, I think I can fight for the Contender Series in the next few years. Hopefully, Dana White or somebody big sees me. I’m trying to show people what I can actually do in the cage.”
And do you think having Tim at your side helps with that?
“Yeah, for sure. Tim is one of those coaches. He’s ruthless when it comes down to training. If you want to do it, if you really want to fight, it’s hell going through it with Tim, and that’s s**t I can be appreciative of. But with him and Christian at my side, there’s no stopping us. All the way to the top for sure.”
What has been the highest point of your career thus far? Why?
“Turning pro, I think that was a good decision. That was a big goal that I set when I first started training.”
How about the lowest?
“My first pro loss. I’m disappointed in myself because of what happened. I couldn’t continue, because I got injured. I kicked the guy on the inside of his knee, and once I did that, I didn’t feel it, but after I hit the ground, I felt it. I messed up some tendons and muscles in my foot, and I couldn’t walk. Every time I’d go to step on it, it kept collapsing on me.”
In 20 years when you’re looking back on your career, what would you have had to accomplish in order to think of it as a success? Why?
“To be honest, if my kids are doing it, and they’re doing good in life from martial arts, and seeing them succeed, that would be an accomplishment for me.
Anything to plug? Would you like to shout-out your school or coaches?
“First shout-out to my wife. She is 100 percent supportive, pushing me to get better and do better, telling me to go train and workout. She’s my back bone and if it wasn’t for her and the kids, I don’t think I’d have been in it this long. Shout-out to Christian Fulgium, being in it with me every step of the way, showing me how to fight, showing me everything. I started with him back at Gladiators. Shout-out to Niko and Braylen Jackson from Lake Charles. They come out and spar with me. Shout-out to Mike Stall, for allowing me to go in there and beat me up and let me beat him up. Shout-out to Tim [Credeur] for those hard nights pushing me when I really didn’t want to go, saying 5 more minutes, the motivation, the grit. And a shout-out to my Tauntie (aunt) for being at every fight that I got. She’s never missed one. She helps me a lot. She’s my motivation, always gives me advice, and I’m always appreciative of her. And of course, shout-out to my kids.”
Make sure you are able to get to the Ponchatoula Rec Center Saturday May 18, 2019 as Hebert goes for the Bayou Fighting Championship professional heavyweight title. Get your tickets online now at www.bayoufc.com or at the door. Doors open at 6pm with food being served and the first fight is set for 7pm.