The mixed martial arts community based in the north east of the United States has a number of fighters that can lay claim to the words “future prospect.” Opinions may vary on who truly holds that title, but there's one individual who should be considered on everyone's list. That is current Cage Fury Fighting Championship roster member, Jonavin Webb. In just five fights he's captured some serious attention in MMA and seems to be barrelling down the path to stardom in this sport. MMA Ratings caught up with the 24 year old athlete to talk about his career and other aspects of his life:
Raphael Garcia: How did you get started in MMA?
Jonavin Webb: I've wrestled my whole live. I eventually got into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the age of 17. At that very moment I was hooked and turned to fighting. At 19 I took my first amateur fight. Back then I was more interested in just getting it off my “bucket list: but I fell in love with the sport. I continued to compete and won the Abu Dhabi trials and competed in the black belt division for that tournament. I also competed at Worlds and Pan Ams. I still try to compete whenever I have free time.
RG: Who are some of the biggest influences you've had on your career?
JW: Brian McPherson is one of the first names that comes to mind. Along with him there's Ricardo Almeida, Frankie Edgar and many others. One of the most important things I've learned in fighting is from Frankie and that's you've got to have heart when you are out there. Even when you are down, you're not out. That happened in my last fight. I was down and losing but came back to win.
RG: How would you best describe your style? Is there anyone that you draw parallels with as a fighter?
JW: I can mix my wrestling and BJJ together very well. I'm still working on my striking. I would like to compare my style to someone as a Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza; being that I'm very aggressive with takedowns and always trying to finish once on the ground.
RG: What advantages do you feel that you have coming up in today's MMA industry?
JW: I feel like things will really blow up in a couple of years. I hope that I get to see such things as fighter unions become a reality so this can become a full time job for me. The holes in the business side of the game are starting to get fixed and I want to be able to take advantage while I'm in my prime. I used to bounce at clubs and was going to go into the police academy but decided to put all of that on hold to see if I can make a living as a fighter.
I”m trying to fight 5 times this year to see if this is really going to be my career. I've quit everything to put my focus on MMA right now. Eat, sleep, train. A lot of people don't have that opportunity to do that. I feel like I have an advantage over a lot of people at our level.
RG: What is your normal weight and do you ever have a problem with the weight cut?
JW: I fight at 170 but I normally weigh 195-200. I think I could make 155 but it would be very hard and I would need help from a dietitian. I hear it from my coaches and everyone. But my mentality is “if it's not broke, why fix it.” Right now I'm going to keep winning at 70 and try to get a bigger contract. If they want me to go down at that time, maybe I will.
RG: Who are some of the people that you get to train with on a regular basis?
JW: When I lived in New Jersey I got to train with Frankie Edgar, Marlon Moraes, Edson Barboza and some other guys, but since I've moved I'm now training with Daniel Gracie, Paul Selder, Zu Anyanwu (CFFC heavyweight champ) and Sean Brady.
RG: Who are your agents? Do you use a full marketing team? Have you thought about your “brand” as a fighter?
JW: I work with Spotlight Management and Mike Thowart. They are certainly building my brand. They do an awesome job with sponsorships and giving me that brand name that I'll need as a professional athlete.
RG: What area of fighting do you think you need to work on the most?
JW: Being confident on my feet inside the cage. I'm very confident in my ground game. I feel like I'm not in danger and the fight is going to be OK. I need that same mentality while I'm standing. My coaches Phil Maldonato (kickboxing) and Bozy Ennis (Boxing) work with me daily and are some of the best coaches I could have.
RG: What do regional promotions do for a fighter who's at a point in their career similar to your own?
JW: I was offered a lot of other contracts but CFFC is like a family there. I know only one person can win, but they want to see their guys get to the next level. They want to see guys go into the Bellators, WSOF and the UFC. They want to mold you into a better fighter to get you out of their organization and onto the bigger stage. They've been nothing but good to me. The new ownership is working hard to expand it into a larger market as they are holding shows in AC, Virginia, PA and other areas.
RG: Are you solely interested in moving into the UFC or are you interested in groups such as Bellator, WSOF or other promotions?
JW: We've had those conversations but there's still a lot to work on. I need one good fight where I can stand a little bit and work on my striking. I always wanted to fight in Asia. I would watch fights from Pride and other Asian organizations. Maybe One FC then going to the UFC after wards. I don't think I would always want to fight there, but I would love to get at least one or two fights out there.
RG: Do you consider yourself a fan of MMA? When you're not fighting do you follow the sport closely? What sports do you follow?
JW: I didn't know anything about MMA until I started to watch the fights in Japan. Now I watch very closely because I know I'm going to be fighting these guys. 155 and 170 are tough weight classes. I feel like I have a lot of work but I can compete with these guys.
RG: What is the biggest benefit of fighting that you're looking forward to experiencing?
JW: I've always said that if I can't at least make a living from fighting I want to fill my passport. I want this sport to take me to places I've never been to and allow me to see the world.
RG: Let's get to know some random facts about Jonavin Webb. What's the last good movie that you've seen?
JW: The Lone Survivor
RG: What's the first thing that you do after a fight?
JW: Eat. I like to eat. I usually go out and see all of my friends and family that came out to support. I like to have a good time with them.
RG: What's the one thing that you're horrible at doing?
JW: I can't sing. I can't draw. I don't have one artistic bone in my body. That's one thing I always wish I could I do.
RG: What are you doing with your life if you aren't a fighter?
JW: My whole family is in law enforcement. I would have followed that path.
At 5-0 there's still a lot of room for growth by Jonavin Webb, but with the potential he's shown while competing in the CFFC cage, the MMA world can expect to see some great things from this young competitor.