There have been ample sacrifices that people around the globe have been forced to make throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, not the least of which has been perseverance in the absence of sports. Fight sport fans have been somewhat fortunate, with the UFC’s stubbornness to succumb to this disease, and the persistence of Dana White to put on shows for the last two months, despite other major sports organizations being unable, and/or unwilling, to do so. Following in the UFC’s footsteps, regional promotions from several states have begun booking and hosting fight cards with success. Atlas Fights looks to be one of the first promotions on the Gulf Coast to resume live fights, and they’ve got a stellar card in the works. Atlas Fights 54 – Biloxi MMA Beach Bash will be held on Saturday, August 1st, from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi. With the return of live fights, I wanted to reach out to some of the professionals fighting on this card to help have their stories told.
Under the direction of UFC and Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship veteran Johnny Bedford, and the #1 ranked professional Texan Welterweight Evan Cutts, Fitness Fight Factory has cemented itself as one of the top combat sports camps not only in the state of Texas, but also along the entire Gulf Coast. The athletes produced by Fitness Fight Factory are consistent competitors that never fail to rival the best of what this region has to offer. Juan Carlos DeLeon is one of those athletes, and he will be making his professional debut at Atlas Fights 54 – Biloxi MMA Beach Bash on Saturday, August 1st. So, we decided to reach out to JC to get his thoughts on his debut, and to find out what he’s been doing to help prepare!
Every superhero has an origin story. What’s yours? Where do you come from? What got you into fighting?
I’m from Fort Worth Texas, and I grew up in a little town called Everman. Growing up there made me a fighter. Some kids would try to punk me, and I had to stand up for myself, so I got involved in a lot of street boxing just to make a name for myself, and let anyone else know I’m not the one to mess with.
What’s a typical week like for you?
A typical week for me is just getting dropped off at my gym in the morning and basically staying there all day till the last class of the day. When there’s not a class taking place, I just do some bag work or just exercise my body.
What’s it like training at Fitness Fight Factory, and how would you describe the culture of that gym? Who are some of your best training partners?
To train at Fitness Fight Factory, man oh man, I remember looking for a gym all over the metroplex where I stay, and I knew Fitness Fight Factory was the place for me, because little ole guys like Levi Mowles and Devin Miller kept turning me into a human pretzel and showing me strength don’t mean nothing over here! My best training partners are definitely Kendall McKinney, Don Doyle, Levi Mowles and Julius Holmes. All these guys are badass grapplers and make me grind!
“The first thing that went through my mind is when we started throwing kicks and doing takedowns I was like, damn this definitely ain’t like boxing.”
What do you like most about fighting? What do you feel is your biggest strength?
I like everything about fighting, (and how) we have a wide variety of moves to put in our arsenal. I just love the fitness of it and most definitely how it has been a stress reliever in my life, because seriously if I’m not training, I’m not having fun. I’d say my biggest strength is my striking.
What was it like the first time that you stepped into the cage/ring? What was going through your mind?
The first time I stepped into a cage I knew I was in for it. I had butterflies and they just disappeared when it was time to go to work. Really, the first thing that went through my mind is when we started throwing kicks and doing takedowns I was like, damn this definitely ain’t like boxing.
You’re making your professional MMA debut on August 1st. How was the decision made for you to turn pro?
The decision to turn pro was easy! I would’ve liked at least (to have) had 4 more fights to make me 10-0, but my coaches knew I was ready and convinced me of the decision.
You’re fighting Justice Lamperez, who trains with one of the best teams along the Gulf Coast. Without revealing too much, what do you think he brings to this fight, and what have you been doing to prepare?
I think Justice is a tough competitor. I see he’s good at putting the pressure on these guys and overwhelms them with his intensity, but no way he’s gonna walk me down like that, and if the man wants to bang it out in the center of the cage, I’ll be there toe-to-toe with him.
You and your team will be making a 9-hour trek down from the Dallas area to Biloxi, Mississippi for the fight. What will you do for the ride to pass time, and does the trip bother you at all, or is it just another day in the office?
For this ride to Biloxi, I’m just (going to) be chilling, watching YouTube videos, chatting with the people I’m going up there with, and just staying focused and prepared to get the task ahead of me done.
“No way he’s (Justice Lamperez) gonna walk me down like that, and if the man wants to bang it out in the center of the cage, I’ll be there toe-to-toe with him.”
How have you been staying sane during the Covid-19 pandemic and the quarantine? Has it affected your training at all?
I’ve been completely sane in this pandemic. It doesn’t phase me, and I’m aware of certain things in this world, but I know I got angels camped around me, and no weapon formed against me shall prosper. I pray to the man above that he keeps me safe and healthy in times like these.
Do you have anything that you’d like to plug? Would you like to shout-out your school/coaches?
Of course I’d like to shout-out all my teammates (that) helped me prepare for my pro debut (on) August 1st, and obviously my coaches. I would not be what I am without them and their advice and knowledge of the sport. And shout-out to my father for working hard to sell some shirts for me and (for) giving me rides to my gym, and my mom for her prayers and comfort in this time leading up to the fight.
If you liked this article, don’t forget to share, like and subscribe – and go ahead and like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram @fightsportfocus. You can catch JC in his upcoming fight with Justice Lamperez at Atlas Fights 54 – Biloxi MMA Beach Bash on Saturday, August 1st, from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi. To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.atlasfights.com/ or http://www.mscoastcoliseum.com.