Friday, July 29, 2016

10 Questions with Jenelyn

Name: Jenelyn Olsim
Age: 19
Height: 5"4
Weight: 115lb (52kg)
Gym: Tribal Submission Team Torogi
Record: 2-0 (1 sub)

WSOF-GC will be having an event this Saturday in the Philippines, in an event that is being dubbed the Philippines vs The World.  One of the fighters representing the Philippines is a young prospect, Jenelyn Olsim. At only 19 and 2-0, she is full of potential and with the love of combat sports in the Philippines could be a star. Unlike Jujeath, Jenelyn comes from a grappling background and will be looking to submit her opponent, Nayara Hemily this Saturday.

CJ: What is your martial arts background? How did you get started with martial arts and when did you decide to go professional?
JO: I'm a grappler. I started with my head coach Christian Gazmin from Tribal Submission. Prior to that I was a basketball player for my college. I started MMA about a year ago, I fell in love with the sport and decided to go pro when the opportunity knocked on my door. 
Jenelyn faces Hemily

CJ: You're relatively new to the game, all of your pro-fights have been this year. Can you talk about your first two fights? What sticks out to you when you think about them?
JO: Yes, I know I am so new to the game. I guess my coaches have seen something special in me that they gave me the opportunity to fight. The first fight I had was with a 40 yr old, Dolores Meek, didn't know much about her, all I knew was she was a student of the Catalan Fighting Systems here in the Philippines that had superior striking skills. I took the fight to the ground and finished her on the last seconds of the first round. Got Lucky, I guess. The second fight was a little tougher on the mindset, a veteran of the sport from Australia that I heard auditioned for the Ultimate Fighter reality show, she had a 4-1 record and I was really up against a very stellar all around fighter. My coaches really had my stick to my game plan and I won unanimously :) Another lucky fight. What sticks out to with both fights is the drive, knowing that we Filipino women actually can compete internationally with top caliber women fighters worldwide. That was the vehicle that had me going. 

CJ: How does it feel to be on such a big card for only your third fight?
JO: My coach always reminds me of this. It is just another day at the office :) We train hard, we fight hard, that's all it has to it. Whatever the outcome is, deep inside, you know you gave it your all.
Both Jujeath and Jenelyn will represent the Philippines 

CJ: WSOF announced potential tournaments and championships for your division. Are those goals of yours? What are your career goals?
JO: Come what may! I know I am here for the long haul. Martial arts is not a hobby or a job for me, it is my lifestyle. 

CJ: I think I saw that you're a criminology student.  Can you talk about that? What's your goal with that?
JO: I am. I have another year until I graduate. My brother, Jerry, who happens to be an MMA fighter like me, is also a Criminology student. I guess, you always look up to somebody and want to follow their footsteps. My goal with that? TO PROTECT AND SERVE :)

CJ: How does it feel to be representing the Philippines at the Philippines vs The World event?
JO: It is a great honor. For all the fighters that came before me and still are fighting in the sport with me. We always take pride representing our roots, our tribe. If you know what i mean :)

CJ: Can you talk about your training? What is your training schedule? What martial arts are you training?
JO: Wow! I have my hands full. I train twice a day, about 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the early evening. I mix up cardio, strength and conditioning in the morning, striking MWF and ground game TTHS. My head coach is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and he runs the camp like boot camp :) My other coach is 3x world muay thai champ so I don't really have a choice but to get better.

CJ: Can you describe your fight style for the readers?
JO: At first, I rely more on my grappling and wrestling techniques. But now, with Muay Thai, I really think I've evolved all around. Everyday, I know that there is always room for improvement. 

CJ: When you aren't fighting, what do you like to do?  Any hobbies?
JO: I'm always fighting:) whether be it my off season or no fights to prepare for. My martial arts lifestyle is my hobby. Kidding aside, I like coffee and always wanted to have a dog as my partner. i know i'll get one soon:)

CJ: Is there anything you'd like to say? Anyone you'd like to thank?
JO: I am just another girl that wants to do extraordinary things! My coaches and teammates, my family, that drives me to better myself everyday. Thank you coach Cricket and coach Brent. WE ARE ONE!

We would like to thank Jenelyn for the interview and wish her good luck this Saturday.  You can watch Jenelyn fight this Saturday for WSOF GC.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

10 Questions with Jujeath Nagaowa

Name: Jujeath "D' Badgirl" Nagaowa
Age: 28
Height: 5"0 (152cm)
Weight: 105lb (48k)
Gym: Highland Boxing Gym
Record: 2-0 (2 via TKO)

This weekend, WSOF-GC is putting on a event in the Philippines and for their inaugural show in the country they have signed a skilled boxer and a top prospect in mma, Jujeath Nagaowa. With 8 KO/TKO's in boxing and having finished both of her mma fights by TKO, it is clear that Jujeath is primarily a striker but she is looking into becoming more of a well-rounded mixed martial artists. Both of her mma fights were pretty exciting as Jujeath mixed up her strikes to both the head and the body and attacks in a seemingly relentless manner, which is why when I saw that WSOF-GC had announced that she was fighting this weekend, it caught my attention. As some of you may be aware, I have been compiling statistics relating to the women's divisions in Asia and Jujeath's names was one of the names that I circled as a prospect to keep my eye on. Apparently I was not the only one who noticed her potential as WSOF-GC announced that they had signed her a couple of weeks later. If you haven't, I would suggest watching one of Jujeath's mma fights to get a better idea of what her striking is like.

Without further ado, here is our interview:

CJ: Can you introduce yourself to the readers? How did you get into martial arts and when did you decide to go pro?
JN: I am Jujeath Nagaowa, a Filipina fighter and a proud Igorot native from Mountain Province & Benguet.
I started martial arts career thru amateur muay thai in 2006 then shifted to pro-boxing the same year to become the first Filipina pro-licensed boxer to compete. I Enjoyed boxing professionally for almost 10 years then became an MMA fighter as well in between those years specifically in 2014.

CJ: You started out as a boxer (2010-2013), then fight twice in MMA (2014). Afterwards you returned to boxing in 2015. Why did you return to boxing?
JN: I've been doing boxing ever since. I just love the sport and it's hard to really get out totally if you're really in love with it. At those times, so many offers I think I shouldn't let go so when it knocked,I just grabbed.

CJ: What motivated you to return to MMA?
JN: As I always say, MMA is an undeniably very intense exciting and tempting combat sport where you can show what you really got and what you can do really regardless of what your specialty is. I just want to prove myself that I can do more than boxing and anything else. It's a self challenge and at the same time a dream.

CJ: Your boxing record is well documented, can you talk about transitioning to MMA? What is your training schedule like?
JN: I always start the day with morning run then killing myself in the gym in the afternoon. All I can say is that MMA training makes you a beast. From the stretching itself,conditioning, very different,. It's just always like an obstacle you need to pass thru every single training.

CJ: In press releases WSOF has hinted at future championships and titles for women. Do those interest you? What are your career goals?
JN: I am a dreamer, I dream big but I should walk the right path towards that goal. Definitely,championship thing is a very interesting one but I think it's too early for me to advance my thinking on that stage coz I still consider myself a novice in this career and I really want and need to get some wins first. :)

CJ: When you aren't training what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
JN: I am doing online selling, and taking school for graphic designing. 

CJ: Can you talk about women's combat sports in the Philippines? Is it becoming more popular? What about MMA specifically?
JN: Combat sports is I think very popular especially boxing and MMA is becoming more on the scene nowadays in the country.
I hope to see more fighters excel. I think there are so many female fighters, its just that some are not being exposed or given an opportunity.

CJ: Are there any fighters that inspire or motivate you? Who do you like to watch?
JN: I'm a fan of Meisha Tate, but I love to watch the fights of any fighters especially females.

CJ: Can you talk about your upcoming fight? What should the fans expect?
JN: Just expect same Jujeath, fighting still no matter what. I am just excited to be back on the cage. 

CJ: Anything you would like to say? Anyone you would like to thank?
JN: I am so thankful for the WSOF for opening it's door to me and for all the concerned individuals who worked for the pursuant of my MMA career. For the people who still believe and trust in me. For everyone and to Him, thanks thanks  😊

Watch Jujeath fight this weekend for WSOF-GC, where she will face Yuko Kiryu on Saturday.
We would like to thank Jujeath for taking the time to answer our questions.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

10 Questions with Jenny Huang

Name: Jenny Huang
Age: 25
Height: 5"1 (155cm)
Weight: 105 (48kg)
Gym: Wu-Jia
Record: 3-0

Earlier this summer, I was compiling lists of all the fights, featuring women, that promotions have put on in Asia, as part of an effort to analyze the women's divisions development in the region. As I was making the lists, several names stood out, one was 25 year old Jenny Huang. A promising prospect from Taiwan, actually their first female mixed martial artist, Jenny has built a 3-0 record with her most recent victory coming via submission earlier this year. Citing Ronda Rousey as an influence, Jenny is a good example of the young talent currently emerging in Asia. Having made her pro-debut in 2015, Jenny most recently fought for One FC and could become a star for the promotion as the promotion looks to break into the Taiwanese and other markets. Without further ado, below is our interview with Jenny.

CJ: Can you talk about how and why you got into martial arts? Can you then talk about why you decided to become a professional mma fighter?
JH: I have always loved fighting. In high school and Elementary School I practiced Judo for 7 years. But after I graduated from my University, I wanted to travel and see the world. I traveled to America for a few months and then I went to Singapore. I know Singapore is famous for fighting and having a lot of good Dojos. But Singapore is expensive and I had to work quite hard just to sustain a rather meager apartment. I was very fortunate to have gained a friendship of many nice people in my job. They encouraged me to train and practice fighting at many different Dojos. I learned about BJJ and MMA and I am very grateful for the time I spent at Evolve. I felt a great deal of pride, strength and encouragement whenever I could do all of these different and difficult moves. But I still wanted more. So I came back to Taiwan and I went to Wu-Jia to continue my training. It took time to convince people of my skills and determination, but my persistence paid off. I am really grateful for my persistence in this sport. Strength and athletic prowess doesn't come easily or quickly to anybody. It is only through constant daily routines that we can improve to incredible heights. It is my drive it is my passion it is my desire to be the greatest female fighter that Taiwan has ever seen. This thing keeps me going every day. Once I saw a little success and I wanted more. I still want more. And everyday I'm constantly working hard and getting closer to my goal.

CJ: You are a blue belt in jiu-jitsu and a black belt in judo. On your Instagram it looks like you compete actively in grappling, can you talk about that?
JH: The true champions of MMA are decided by those who master many fighting styles. I relish any chance I get to practice any and every kind of martial art because I am always looking for anything that can give me an edge over my opponent. When you become a professional fighter you need to constantly train. You're always competing against someone else who's trying to bring you down and if you aren't getting stronger, then you're getting weaker. I constantly worry about my skills. Did I get lucky in that fight or am I really improving? Fighting in the ring always reveals you to yourself. It shows me my strengths and it shows me my weaknesses. I don't win every fight I get into and sometimes it's the fights I lose that teach me the most that I need to learn. It can be hard to lose sometimes, but I still hold on to this one thing, this one belief of mine that keeps me going and keeps me fighting. That persistence I have is one of the best secrets I have for success in my life. Whenever I fall I know to get back up again. The strength of my spirit is one of the best secrets to my success.

CJ: Your grappling is your strong point, but I see you're also competing in kick boxing competition. In your fight with Amira you hurt her badly with your punches.  Can you talk about your striking and how it is improving?
JH: I am always learning new things from every competition I'm in. I also know that you always need to change things up when you're fighting or else your opponent will know what's coming and build a stronger defense as a result. Attending kickboxing matches revealed my striking weaknesses. I know that future fighters might mount a strong defense against my grappling skills in the future which is why I think it's prudent to constantly explore and improve upon new fighting styles.

Courtesy of

CJ: You're the first pro wmma fighter from Taiwan. Can you talk about that and what it means to you?
JH: A lot of people make a big deal about me being the first female fighter. Honestly, I don't see myself as doing anything THAT special. Everything I did is something that another woman could do too. If anything I want to tell more women that you can do this. You can do what I can do. I know Taiwanese women are strong. I know they can defend themselves. I am constantly surprised by the skills and strength I see amongst the people I train. The only difference between me and other women is that I had courage to go after my biggest desire. I love to fight but what I really want to tell other women is to find their dream and go for it. Don't let other people discourage you from your dreams. If there is something amazing that you really want to do, then do it. Take that burning desire that you have, cultivate a good plan that will let you pursue it and don't let anyone or anything stop you from getting what you really want.

CJ: I read that you like Ronda Rousey. Can you talk about how she has influenced you?
JH: I have always admired the skills and talents of Ronda Rousey. We have a similar background in judo and she has always displayed exceptional skill in the MMA ring. I also admire her for her strong confidence in herself. She always believes that she can do anything and she never doubts her abilities. That strong fighting mentality she has is extremely important for any fighter and part of the reason why I think she is such a famous fighter.

CJ: One FC has put on some exciting women's fights. What fighters stand out to you? When can we see you back in the cage?
JH: I gained a lot of respect for Yamaguchi after her fight with Angela Lee. Yamaguchi embraced Lee after Lee defeated her in the ring. The amount of care, concern and respect she has for her opponent shows the best example of true sportsmanship that I can think of.

CJ: You and your coach, Sun Ming-yen, have talked about how important respect and honor are in fighting. Can you talk about that?
JH: I have always considered it a great honor to fight in the One FC ring. I know that I am not the normal fighter. I respect others by fighting fair and by displaying a high level of professionalism both inside and outside of the ring. Even after winning a fight I do not gloat or denounce the skills of the other fighter. Fighting isn't about beating the other person, it's about your own personal goal and journey in life. I view fighting as a test of my skills and my current level. When a fight is over,  I will still view my opponent with the highest level of respect. I will still wish to be friends with the person I beat or lost to. Hate has no place in the ring.

CJ:  I see you're training with some women in Taiwan, is it becoming more popular? Should we expect more women to start fighting?
JH: MMA has become more popular in Taiwan. Many girls saw my fight and wanted to join our classes. Even many girls who had no prior experience in martial arts are now very interested in learning how to improve themselves and become fighters. It's already very different than before.

CJ: When you aren't training, what are you doing, what are your hobbies?
JH: When I have have free time, sports are always on my mind. I think best when I'm on the move and improving my skills and getting stronger. Work out in the street, practice parkour because I like challenges difficult exercise,  If it keeps me moving and makes me stronger then I'm interested in it. Outside of exercise, I'm also interested in music. I really like the piano and the ukulele, play music make me feel relax.

CJ: Is there anything you would like to say?  Anyone you would like to thank?
JH: I wish to thank my coach who taught me much of what I know. I spent many hard years and hours with him. It was very hard and it wasn't always easy to keep practicing. But I wouldn't be the person I am without his training. I also want to thank the fine people at One FC for giving me this chance to show my skills to the world.

I would like to thank Jenny Hung for taking the time to answer these questions.
Please follow Jenny on TwitterFacebookInstagram

Friday, July 1, 2016

Lee Ye-Ji Interview

Name: Lee Ye-Ji
Age: 16
Height: 5"1
Weight: 101
Record: 1-2

Lee Ye-Ji will be facing off against Hana Date this Saturday at Road FC 32. A young and active fighter, Lee picked up her first win recently, via submission. At 16 years old, Lee looks to be part of a new pool of young talent that is emerging. While her record is 1-2, it is worth noting that Lee's two losses are to Hisae Watanabe and Satoko Shinashi, a rough two fights for any fighter beginning their career. 

CJ: You're still quite young at 16, can you talk about how you got into martial arts? When and why did you start mma?

Lee: 2014, when I was in my third year of middle school, my elder cousin’s husband who is the head coach of Wonju Team J recommended me to begin learning MMA. So, I began to learn it.

I competed in an amateur tournament 1 month after beginning MMA. And I was fascinated and addicted to the charm of it. My parents objected at first because MMA is an intense sport. But now they’re supporting and cheering me affirmatively.

CJ: You're coming off of a submission victory, can you talk about that fight?
Lee: My initial strategy was to try to grasp and take in the situation until the after the half of the first round, just throwing punches. Then after the half, I planned to fight it out to the finish. That was my strategy.
But when the match just started, right out of the box, we were clinching and coming to a deadlock. So, I thought that trying out some skills or techniques at that time would not be helpful in managing the match, it would just make me exhausted. So I just throw some more punches and tried to find a chance. And then I found a chance to do armbar on her. I had practiced that armbar every day. So I was able to finish her with an armbar.

CJ: Your first two fights were Satoko Shinashi and Hisae Watanabe, what was it like facing two older legends right away?
Lee: I knew that I had less experiences and abilities than those opponents. I was a fighter of little experience. My goal was not concentrated on winning the match. I wanted to grow and get through the fights with those veteran fighters. I wanted to become much better fighter.
As a result, the matches taught me many points. I learned lot from them through the fights. Even if I could go back before those matches, I would still accept them again. Because I think they are what brought me up to the present. Those made me as a fighter. If I took matches with fighters who had similar careers and abilities as me, I don’t think that I could become the fighter who I’ve come to be now.

CJ: Your next fight is against Hana Date, who is closer to you in age and record. What do you think of her as an opponent? How do you think the fight will go?
Lee: I think that she's just an opponent I have to face and strike at during fighting. Just one Japanese fighter.
I will fight whomever I'm told to face and win no matter what happens. Of course I will win this match. Especially, I want a victory because the day after the match day is my birthday and I want to celebrate it that way.

CJ: At 16, I imagine you're still in school, how often are you at the gym? Can you talk about your training?
Lee: I go to the gym every day. Even when I have no upcoming match, I eat dinner and then go to the gym after regular school hours end. Nowadays, as you know, I have an upcoming match this time, so I leave the class before it is dismissed, earlier than usual. I train and practice. And take a rest for a while in the afternoon. And I practice and train again. Once I have completed the training and practice, it's usually 11:30 PM.

CJ: Can you describe how you like to fight? What areas of mma do you like or dislike?
Lee: Although it's a the women’s MMA match, I want to fight with no reservations and make the audience really enjoy the match.
I go through all the combat sports. Regardless, I really enjoy all the martial arts. However, I have relatively short striking range because I don't have that long of a reach, so I feel easier and more comfortable when I am doing grappling.

CJ: Are there any fighters you look up to or that inspire you?
Lee: Jeon Chan-Jun who is my coach and director of my team now, because I have learned so many things about MMA from him. I want to follow him and be like him. And sometimes when I feel tired and have a hard time mentally, he tightens control of me to make ma train and practice again. I am grateful to him. Thank you, coach, really.

CJ: You've been fighting a lot, how many times would you like to fight in a year?
Lee: This the 3rd match of this year for me. I think that it seems that it’s appropriate - 3 matches a year. My maximum could be 4 matches a year? I think I can fight up to 4 matches. OK! I've decided. 3 to 4 matches a year would be the best. If I fight more, I worry it might take its toll on my body. But I don’t want to avoid taking an opportunity when it comes to me. I appreciate all the times when opportunity comes.

CJ: What do you like to do when you aren't training? Any hobbies?
Lee: I train and practice all the time even though I have no upcoming match. Usually I am in the gym. I help the coach and teach a kids' MMA class. When I have time to rest, I meet my friends and I eat meals and have conversation together with them. And I really enjoy watching movies and shopping alone. When I am alone, it helps me to arrange my thoughts and ideas calmly. So, I enjoy being alone sometimes.

CJ: Is there anything you want to say? Anyone you would like to thank?
Lee: I am so happy and excited to take part in this large-scale event held in China, it's abroad for me. As I feel happy and excited, I want to fight well and perform nicely.
My coach always takes care of me, I want to tell him again that I thank him and I am sorry when I give him problems. I will certainly win this match, so I want to make my coach, parents, and fans happy.

I'd like to thank Lee Ye-Ji for taking the time to answer these questions. You can watch her fight Hana Date at Road FC 32 on July 2. Road FC 32 PPV. If my math is correct, it'll air at 8:00 A.M EST on Saturday.