As we enter the new year, we have a lot to look forward to. Namely, Tuff N Uff, the most respected and longest running amateur promotion in the country, is hosting their first fight card of the year on January 24th, 2014. A well stacked card with the main event being the 125lb title placed on the line. I am blessed with the opportunity to have a few words with Jamin Tayaba, the man who currently holds that belt.
Jason Przewoznik: Jamin, thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you regarding your career and your up coming fight. I like to start off by getting to know the fighters on a more personal level. Care to share a bit about young Jamin, growing up, and what it was that got you into MMA?
Jamin Tayaba: The way you're wording things to me, makes me feel important, as a person and a fighter. Feels good. I was a rugged kid growing up. Always getting in trouble. My mom and I always butted heads. Other than that, I loved the ocean, lifting weights, playing football, and wrestling. Anything that was physical, and got my heart pumping, I was doing it. One day my cousin came to my house and asked me and my two brothers if we wanted to "train" that's how it all started.
Jason Przewoznik: In response to that its fighters like you… Those on a mission to succeed that ARE important. You are the future of what most "fans" are watching religiously on TV. Soak it up, embrace that fact! Haha. How old were you or how long ago did this idea to train come into play? What exactly was your training discipline at the time?
Jamin Tayaba: I started jiu-jitsu and kickboxing in my garage, with my cousin and two older brothers. I was about 11-12 years old. My cousin Quentin, was training with Sidney Silva at HMC on Oahu. At that time, nothing was serious. It was just a hobby. Something I thought was cool, but never took it too serious. 2007 was where I made up my mind on going to a fight gym. Inner Circle Grappling (ICG) was the beginning of my fight career. That is when I fell in Love with this sport.
Jason Przewoznik: What was the transition like, going from training in your garage to training at a legitimate gym? Do you have any stories you'd like to share about your first times stepping into a real training facility?
Jamin Tayaba: It felt unreal, to train with guys that actually fight. Inner circle grappling was in my home town (Wahiawa) so I knew most of the guys, from school.
Jason Przewoznik: That's pretty cool… So where did you head from there and when was the first time you competed as an amateur fighter?
Jamin Tayaba: Training at ICG, was the best thing that has happened to me. My first fight was a kickboxing match in 2008. I did lose, but made me realize that this sport is for me.
Jason Przewoznik: What was it that pulled you in after facing a loss? What would you say was the one thing you have taken from that fight?
Jamin Tayaba: It bothered me, that I lost. But I was more excited to have had my very first fight in this sport. One thing I take with me, from that fight, is that "impossible is nothing"
Jason Przewoznik: Awesome. Jumping forward a bit to a more recent time frame… Tell us about your first experience in MMA and where you are currently training now.
Jamin Tayaba: My first MMA fight was for Destiny MMA. It was also an interim title match. I was ranked #1 in my weight class, because I was undefeated in Destiny MMA, for pankriation fights. so my promoter, Jay asked me if I wanted the shot. I have lost four MMA fights straight. My mind wasn't focused. That is why I moved here to Vegas. I started to train here with Excel Defense, and fought in LV MMA. I lost, but I knew that my head was back in the game. I started to work for LA Boxing ( now UFCGYM ) and my schedule changed so I couldn't make it to excel anymore. So I started to train with Gabe Casillas and Javier Torres. Javier Torres took my in as family and put extra time into my training, as well as his own, and his family. He took me to train at extreme couture gym, and syndicate. My "comeback fight" was in march, with Tuff n Uff. I won with a TKO in the third Rnd. Then August 2nd TKO in the first Rnd. Then Tuff n Uff offered me a chance at the title, August 30th. I won with a TKO in the third Rnd. …Now I am training with my new coach, Brian Clements.
Jason Przewoznik: That's definitely sending a message that you are now focused and on a roll and look forward to seeing you progress through your career. What is your official current record at 125lb?
Also… What would you say has put you on the position in completely turning your record around? More training, more focus, or overall determination?
Jamin Tayaba: My MMA record is 3-5. Just being away from home (Hawaii), my family, made me realize what my fight career really means to me. I would be lost without it.
Jason Przewoznik: That's understandable man! So you're 3 and 0 under the Tuff N Uff banner and currently the 125 lb title holder which you'll be defending January 24th; before I get into that fight, tell us about your experience working with Tuff N Uff as a promotion and how you felt with that belt around your waist.
Having that belt around my waist is always an unreal feeling. And it makes me feel one step closer to my dream/goal; to be in the UFC. But it's more to that, than just having the belt. It's more responsibility. I represent my supporters. Everyone that believes in me. My family, Hawaii. The kids that I train at my gym, look up to me. I can't let any of them down.
Jason Przewoznik: Definitely man… That's good to hear that you’re also a bit of a role model to the kids! Always something to be proud of. You do have a date coming up to defend your title at Tuff N Uff the 24th of this month… What are your thoughts on this fight? Have you checked out your opponent and how confident are you in keeping that belt in your possession?
Jamin Tayaba: I train hard, for every fight. No matter who it is. Every single fight that I have, is important to me. Every opponent that steps in front of me, is my biggest opponent. I do not underestimate junior Gomez. He is fighting for the title for a reason. As far as watching any of my opponents fights, and studying them, I leave that for my coaches. My job is to train and be ready for everything and anything. It's a fight. There's is a chance that I may lose the belt. But That is why I train my ass off.
Jason Przewoznik: That's one way to go about thinking and shows where your head is. I am anticipating a great fight and wish you the best in the cage! ….a few short questions before we get back to work. Firstly, for any up and coming fighters or fans …do you have any words or wisdom to share or any advice?
Jamin Tayaba: I appreciate that. I will definitely leave it all in the cage, comes January 24th! To anyone that wants something in life, no matter how "impossible" it may look, if you want it, Go get it. Impossible is nothing!
Jason Przewoznik: I completely agree with that and know it holds true because I’ve seen lots of "impossibilities" become realities in this sport and first hand. Well man… The time has come for me to wrap this interview up… Do you have any special thanks or shout outs you'd like to provide? Also if anyone were to be interested in sponsoring you or offering a fight, whom can they contact?
Jamin Tayaba: I want to give a big shout out to everyone that has the love for this sport. The fans, people that put the money and hard work into putting these events together. Us fighters would not be able to do this, without you all. Thanks to my family and friends, coaches, for never giving up on me. Thank you, Jan-Michael for everything. Rest In Paradise. ALOHA!!!
Anyone could contact me for any reasons. Email: Jamin.email@example.com Cell: 702-581-6019
Jason Przewoznik: Thanks for the time man, and I wish you luck in your upcoming fight!
Jamin Tayaba: No problem! Thank you. I look forward to putting on another great show to start of the year.
You can purchase tickets for the Vegas show at www.tuffnuff.com as well as the iPPV.