When KnockoutLounge first got started we had a great connection with Kelly Reilly and fighters she’s managed and worked with. We were also fortunate enough to befriend her and her fiance, Jake Tyree. Jake is a beast of a human specimen at 170 lb. Lets hear his story and where he stands in his MMA career.
Jason Przewoznik: How are you doing Jake? We’ve had a little bit of a history from kitchen jokes to shit talking on facebook, now aside from all that we’re going to hear your full life story! I hope you’re ready! Tell us a little about Jake Tyree and where he’s from… before he stepped in the cage.
Jake Tyree: Well, I was born in Colorado. I moved around a lot as a child, I was an army baby. Growing up I was always a fighter. I had my first fight when I was 3… I knocked out a 5-year old in daycare (haha). My father being a recon scout, some of the military’s elite – left a huge imprint on me and what I wanted to be in life. I wanted to be a badass like my father. Well that never happened because I turned towards other things as I was growing up. I started hanging with an older crowd, grew up with kind of a ‘hood’ lifestyle… I guess you would say; drinkin and bangin’ – reppin’ for whats yours n always ready to go. As a child I was always fascinated with the martial arts. I loved watching Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and especially Steven Seagal. I loved how quick his hands were and how he never used energy to whoop ass and would take fools out, breaking bones etc. So I got started and studied Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Aikido. I also studied collegiate and Greco-Roman wrestling and some Judo as well with my pops right there showing me the ropes with a lot of these arts since he had studied a little of each in the military. …So anyway, I left the good life and got into partying and trouble-making… Always fighting in the streets and in and out of jail. I did some time in the big boy and about year after I was released I was at a local gym n noticed an MMA flyer, I didn’t even know there was underground shows because I had watched UFC, but never knew I could do it too. So I went to the show and was like, “Yep, this is definitely for me. It’s my calling.”. I come from a thick blood line of fighters. We’re Scotts/Irish and love to drink n fight (haha). So I thought what better for me than to try it out and try to make a job and career out of something I love to do. So I got to know some of the local fighters and joined the team a few months later. …I was making an MMA debut and loved it! It truly felt like my sport and calling for me!
JP: So you started TKD, TSD and Aikido; what did you pick up from these arts? Also, with the incorporation of wrestling and judo what would you say your strong suit is? Which art really interests you when you step into the cage?
JT: I can’t really say I use any of TKD, TSD or Aikido in the cage, but it taught me discipline and dedication. …With the fact of practice makes perfect; because as I’m sure anyone would be when I started those, I sucked ass but kept it up and got better. I would say my strong suit is either standing and banging or ground and pound. I feel very comfortable with my hands and power, that I can knock out anyone put in front of me and the fact I have a rock sold chin. I’ve been rocked before; ya’ know, if I’m caught clean on the button but I recover extremely quick like it didnt even happen. I have never been knocked out in my entire life and I’ve been hit with just about everything, so with that bein said I feel just fine standing n trading leather. Now if for any reason I feel like taking it down, whether I’m rocked or just dont feel comfortable and want to use some strength and out muscle and pound em’ out then I feel very comfortable with my takedown ability as well. With studying 2 forms of wrestling, I can do the usual shoot in double leg or from the clinch my greco and judo; I’m very comfortable with as well. When stepping in the cage the 2 arts that interest me are of course wrestling, I love me some sick slams (lol); but I would have to say Muay Thai is the one i want learn the most, they have proven to produce great fighters and I wanna kick someone in the dome and get a ‘KO’ that way. I’m also working very hard with my ‘jitz’, thats always been a weak point and I want to be able to defend and if I have to submit as well. I want to feel comfortable from my back, so been working that very hard and actually got my last victory by tapout which is very unusual, haha.
JP: Haha… What’s your current record? How many fights have you finished in that time?
JT: 14-6 and I’ve finished all but one of my victories and only been to the 3rd round twice.
JP: Well, SOMEONE is an animal! Haha. 14-6, and this is a pro or amateur record currently?
JT: Haha… Ammy, looking to go pro within next couple of fights.
JP: Awesome man. Care to share any in-cage (or out of cage, even…) experiences during your fight career that may have been memorable or even…upsetting?
JT: I would have to say my 3 most memorable would be; my 1st fight because it was like an old school yard brawl, we went punch for punch pretty much. My second would be my 36-second knock out in my home town. My third would be my last win in my hometown, it was amazing; the support and love and how the crowd went nuts, i fed off it! …Worst memory or upsetting deal was my 1st fight back after over a year out due to injury then getting involved with the law. …I came in and won the 1st round, I even KO’d him at the end; any other ref would called it, but for some reason this one didn’t. He let it go. So it went to the second round, I mean dude was out cold it shows clear as day on video…. But whatever. Then I got caught in a weak ass arm bar, I didn’t train anything for the fight and still took it to him. I ended up losing to someone I would run through with some training. I’ve called him out numerous times and everything… but the dude won’t fight me because he’s scared; his own coach and manager tried getting me the rematchm but he wont accept. That’s my worse memory because it haunts me. I want my rematch so bad and tear him apart!
…Out of the cage, my greatest experience… I would honestly say is meeting Kelly. She has really helped me come a long way to get back in my groove and helped me change my path. Before her, I was partying non-stop and street fighting. Living the ‘in and out of jail’ life again and was headed back down the path of death or prison, ya’ know.
JP: Gosh your life must’ve been TERRIBLE if meeting Kelly is your greatest out of cage-experience! Haha. I love you guys! Pretty interesting stories, though man. Hopefully before you go pro, you get a rematch with that guy as well. So you’re currently an ammy with a 14-6 record and also engaged to another fighter/manager — how’s that like? Do you think dating someone who shares the same career goals motivates you?
JT: Haha. It’s actually really nice being with someone that does this as well. I don’t know if I’d necessarily say that it motivates me, but it is really helpful for a few reasons… I always have someone to train with no matter what, even tho there a huge size difference we can still go through technique together. When we do roll or whatever I have to lighten up with strength so we both get benefits out of it, which in turn helps me to work on relaxing and being calm. Also when I have a fight coming up, she understands the stress level with the mind-set of how you get edgy and like almost become another individual. When I’m cutting a lot of weight, she is able to put up with me – so all in all it’s great for the support for sure because most don’t realize how fight preparation (whether it’s cutting weight, training, etc.) can really fuck with your mind. …So because she is involved herself, it really gives me an advantage in the aspect of I probably have some of the best support… Always being coached on what I need to do better and it’s not from an outsider so I really consider it to be a blessing. I was lucky enough to find someone that does this as well; to know exactly what I go through every time and is able to back me up and give me the greatest support system possible.
JP: Awesome man… Definitely makes sense and also shows us that Jake might even have a little bit of a soft-side! Haha. You said you’re looking to go pro in the next couple of fights; any idea on when? Will it be this year? …Also what would you say your goals as an Amateur fighter going pro soon are?
JT: Yes, it would be soon as in this year. As an amateur fighter my goal before I go pro is to fine tune everything as much as possible before hand… because you can’t turn around and say, “damn I wasn’t ready; this is another level and I want be an ammy again.” – So I just want to make sure I’m pretty well-rounded and for sure ready to go to the next level!
JP: …And that’s a great mindset. You’re right; this is the practice stages – as much as you’ve succeeded – it only gets real once you go pro; which I’m sure you won’t have any problems. What about 5 years from now, where do you see yourself?
JT: 5 years from now, as long as I keep flying straight, doing good and taking training serious – I see myself being a top contender in a higher up promotion. Hopefully the UFC. I know with my skill and mind-set as a fighter that I can do it as long as I fly straight.
JP: I could definitely see you in the UFC; at 170 they’d be in for some trouble!! Now, on to some fun; Where did the nickname “The Juggernaut” come from?
JT: Well I use to go by “The American Psycho” and “The Pitbull”, but those were given to me on the streets due to my rep. as a banger and not giving a shit. Within the last few months, I have taken a complete turn around as a person and a fighter. I started training more seriously and all and was like, “Ya’ know what, it’s a new me, I want a new name!”; so I hit up all my friends to see what ideas they had, almost all of them sent that back to me so, I was like it must fit. The reason is because I absorb punishment and pain like no one else, when I get hit it’s like I enjoy it and it doesn’t effect me. …And because of my size it really applies. Everyone was like if you’re focused and straight with your size and power, with your skill level and incredible chin, you will be running over and through people just like the Juggernaut, so ever since then the name stuck with.
JP: Do you suppose we can see a Juggernaut vs. Juggernaut against Ellenberger when you make it into the UFC at 170?
JT: Only time can really tell with something like that, but it would definitely be an honor if and when I make it and I got to fight someone of his caliber. The fact the he is one of my favorite UFC fighters and I love his style, it would definitely be an honor for sure.
JP: Definitely man… I can’t wait to see that one happen! How often do you train? What’s your daily life like as an MMA fighter?
JT: I train anywhere from 5-6 days a week. I lift in the A.M., do some cardio like running the elliptical and in the afternoon… And at night sometimes I’ll either do more cardio or muscle endurance like p90x, work mitts, do circuit training, or rolling . My life as an mma fighter is pretty normal as anyone elses id say i just most likely workout alot more than the average joe n sometimes bcuz of that i can be on edge alot more cuz my test levels id say are prb pretty high from all the excercise but i spend alot of time with family doin activities, playin games etc goin to watch movies or whatever.
JP: Aw wait, so you’re just a normal guy? …and to think I thought you were a super hero! As an MMA fighter; what do you think of the sport, it’s future as a sport; and even the introduction of WMMA with being in a relationship with a female fighter?
JT: Haha. The thing is the sport is just going to keep booming like it has. It’s really taking over the athletic sports in the combat department. I mean you use to really have to make a huge name for yourself to be in the UFC or get a shot. Now guys are making it that some only have 4 pro fights because it’s so mainstream now and they’re going to new heights everyday. As for WMMA, I like it. I’ve always been a fan of chick fights in the streets, lol. …But always thought it’s awesome when a woman stays in shape and is an athlete because it’s not as common as it is men, so when they started getting into MMA, I was super stoked. I really back it 100%. Sometimes it’s hard being with a woman fighter just in the aspect of hate watching her get hit; not that she cant take care of herself, but I grew up and have always been protective, so I feel like it’s my duty to protect my spouse and my family. That’s the only aspect that is hard… when she actually fights and I have to watch her get take any hits, but besides that, I dig it.
JP: I completely agree with both… and yes, it’s a blessing to see a woman in shape and fighting – it’s definitely an ‘ART’ and a sport that should be taken serious on both sides. Since we’re at that… the current issue I’ve seen floating around is trash talk… What’s your thoughts on that? Do you condone? Do you think trash talk is another fighter trying to get in their opponents head [as it’s meant to be?] or do you see real grudges held? Also, in women’s MMA… do you see that being a factor? Do you think it won’t be taken serious due to the level of WMMA and it’s trash talk?
JT: I think trash talk is fine. It’s part of the sport, every athlete is gonna have a chip on their shoulder that they are the best. It’s part of the game. 90% of a fight is in the head, if your mind is clouded then you’ve lost because you’re not thinking clearly. You start to doubt yourself, so if you fight not to lose, you’re going to lose because you’re not doing what it takes to win. You’re on the defense all the time instead of fighting to win; what the mind says the body does, so if you can get into another fighters head go for it because it just shows how un-confident he is in himself. I do believe some are serious grudges, but I think as men are known for, we might have beef, but as soon as we fight and settle it, it’s usually over. …Unless one is really immature. I haven’t really been involved myself, never had the need, I let my fists do the talking for me. You can run your mouth all you want, but can’t run it forever. We’ll see whats up and how bad your running it when I drop bombs on your face ya’ know? As for the women talking trash, they can get down right dirty. Starting to talk about each other’s looks and bringing families into it… I see it as unprofessional and not helping them mainstream themselves. Men just talk shit bout who’s going beat who and why, they don’t usually go to those extremes.
JP: Very true, and I’m glad you gave your perspective [and it wasn’t from my mouth!! lol] …Now going to step away a bit… You have a fight coming up in May… Care to share a bit about that and your thoughts on it?
JT: Haha. No problem. I am super stoked for this. It’s like one door closed and another opened. What I mean by that is, I was suppose to fight this past Saturday in Denver for a belt and had to pull out to go to my grandma’s funeral. …So we came home and this offer comes my way, so it was like, “Yea, I gotta do it!”.
JP: True and sorry for your loss man… This is a title fight, correct? Your opponent – know anything about him? what’s your thoughts on the fight itself?
JT: Yes, it’s a title fight. No, I really don’t know too much about him yet since fight just got confirmed last night. I know he’s the champ in 2 different weight classes and hes one of the midwest best. I know he takes it serious and will be ready. Hes got very good Jitz mixed with some wrestling and decent stand up. I’m stoked for the fight and my thoughts on it is; I’ll be ready for war. They got to carry me out of that cage like if we were in an actual war. I hope he’s as ready and prepared to die as I am because I’m coming to fight no question about it. I will be ready for wherever the fight ends up and I’m ready to go until I possibly can’t anymore.
JP: Reminded me of 300… Come back with your shield or on it (your title) …but I completely understand. Again, this part you do not have to share, as I’ve been told nobody likes sharing, but do you have a game plan or are you walking in prepared for anything? Your brute strength as a slugger and it helps with slams and jits, do you feel any holes in your game or his that may become an an advantage/disadvantage?
JT: I’ll share it because it’s the same as always. My game plan is to go in there to take your head off! I like to stand and bang and have high confidence in my chin and KO power. And everyone knows usually cardio has always been my biggest downfall, but I have taken that to new levels with being serious in the sport and not trying to train and party at same time. As for him, from what I could see from videos… is he’ll stand for a bit until he gets tagged and when your fighting me your going to get hit and hit hard; that’s a guarantee. He likes to rush in and use a clinch take-down and if it comes to that I feel my judo n greco (wrestling) are very superior. I am confident it will work in my favor, but I will be ready for every aspect of this fight whether its standing, on top, or on the bottom. I’ll be ready thats a promise.
…And to add to that, because of my strength, if it does come to a clinch or by any chance me attempting a shot which I don’t foresee happening – but if it does, when I move you or throw you… Or pick you up and slam you, trust me YOU WILL FEEL IT.
JP: That’s great Jake – and thanks for scaring me; I’m only here to interview you! Haha. We know you’ll be walking away with another victory and a belt! Before I get to wrapping this up; I want to just touch quick base on weight cutting or just weight in general. You fight at 170, but hell I’m 175 and about half your size… What do you normally walk around at and how hard is it to cut/maintain a fight weight?
JT: Depending on what I’m eating and how much fluids I drink, I tend to walk around at anywhere from 187-195. I have hit 200, but trying to get more lean and just have a straight solid mass and not as hard of a cut. I only stand at 5’7″ tall so as you can imagine, I am a short, but very big welterweight. …As for cutting, it really isn’t too hard of a deal for me. It just takes dedication on the fact that I can’t eat what I want to and I really hate that because food is one of my favorite things on earth! (lol). To maintain it is just a mental process I guess, because once I’m at weight, even if I have a nice set of hours before weigh-ins… I know I can’t eat or drink because my body will latch onto it and I will end up walking in over weight.
JP: Very true… You do not want to go in to the fight dehydrated with a quick cut. But; definitely good methods and your mind set is definitely in it to win it! I hope to see a lot more come out of you, especially when you go pro and you know we’ll be in touch! …I do have to ask the trademark question though – who is your favorite super hero and why?
JT: Batman hands down! He’s the only super hero with no special gifts or powers and still fucks dudes up and saves the day using technology, witts, and skill.
JP: Oh I quit. Everyone says batman.
JT: Haha, however if I was going to pick a second favorite, it would be Daredevil. Because he is the only superhero with a handicap that he turned into a positive; to do good and kick ass. I mean what would it feel like getting your ass kicked by a blind man (lol).
JP: …You’re a good man, Jake. (lol). I appreciate you taking the time and really giving us an in depth look into your life; do you have anyone you want to thank or any shout outs you’d like to give?
JT: (lol). I would like to say thanks and give a shout out to you, Knockout Lounge for doing this interview with me. I would like to give a shout out to all of my friends and fans who have stuck with me through thick and thin. My family for always backing me and believing in what I am capable of and even though my dad doesn’t do this as a sport, he was a bad ass in the military and fighter all around. It runs in my blood so I’d like to thank him for always riding my ass when I was younger and fighting in the streets or whatever. Now when I fight, even when I win he will point out what I did wrong and how I could improve and I love it; it inspires me. I’d like to shout out to my old teams and teammates – Pangsuko Shootfighting (now Final Round Fitness) and Warriors MMA both in Scottsbluff, NE. They were where I got my start and helped me fine tune my aggression and natural God given talents into something worth while. Also my fiance Kelly for sticking by my side and putting up with me through the ups and downs of fighting in the cage and at home. That truly is the greatest support system anyone can ask for; a spouse, if ya have one; that fully understands, backs and supports you no matter what. With all the weight cutting, temper tantrums and so on… So I consider that a blessing. To my sponsors Down By Contact, Ripper Fighter Gear, Sinister Minister, Aggravated Assault and anyone else I might have left out, I apologize and will get you next time. I promise!
JP: Haha fair enough – Jake loves everybody! Well man, I appreciate the time and I know we’ll definitely be linking up in the future to get some more out of you! Again, Thanks for the time bro!
JT: I try, haha. Thank you for the time of doing all this, it was great! …Hey if it’s not a ptoblem throw in another shout-out and thank you also to my second family who have always been there also – Marci, Robert, Mitch, Ivey, Joey and Ashley….Thank you!
JP: Not a problem man, thank you! And we’re looking forward to your fight results!
Aw, Kelly loves Jake too. (Image Courtesy of Chandler Smith)