I had an opportunity to catch up with James Conrad Clark (10-2) after a training session leading up to his professional debut at this weekend’s Pure FC 9. I got a chance to do a quick Q&A about the person, the fighter, and the preparation.
John Wright: So James why don’t you tell the folks that don’t know, how did you get into the sport?
James Conrad Clark: Well getting into the sport is kind of a long story, it started out with wrestling as a kid and the group of guys I hung out with liked to push the boundaries a bit and beat each other up. After a fight in 5th grade, I got signed up for wrestling and took that all the way through college.
I actually started boxing my senior year in high school, and when it became clear that I wasn’t going to follow the wrestling only path anymore, my boxing coach introduced me to kickboxing. That led me to Jiu-Jitsu, and I met Henry Matamoros and worked with a couple of guys who started Pura Vida, so it’s cool that I’m making my pro debut on their show. From there one thing led to another and it turns out beating people up was my thing.
JW: So you have a pretty extensive wrestling background, how do you feel that prepared you for MMA?
JCC: I think it’s a great way to train the combat mentality for the intensity of the sport. Fortunately, I’ve been on some pretty big stages, wrestled on world team trials, USOEC, been all over the country for that sport. It definitely makes it a bit easier for a sport like MMA that is this intense.
JW: Who are you training with getting ready for your pro debut?
JCC: I am training with Roufus-Sport Academy. These guys are the best human weapons on the planet. They are the most inspiring dedicated athletes I’ve trained with beside the Olympic athletes I’ve trained with. These guys are the baddest on the planet, and sparring in here makes fights seem easy. They are ranked #1 in the world out of any camp the UFC 17-4 UFC record dating back a few months. This is just where it’s at if you want to be dangerous.
JW: James you have a very multi-faceted background wrestling, boxing jiu-jitsu. Without giving away any strategy, do you have a favorite submission or strike that you go to?
JCC: I like being in awkward spots and like to try some weird stuff. That being said I never stray too far from the basics, they work best and they at least set up the fancy move. I’m just gonna leave those as a surprise, and you’ll see the result on July 28th.
JW: So tell me what it means to you personally to be a fighter?
JCC: I never really thought of myself as a fight, I wasn’t really a violent person. I guess the people I grew up around were and that’s how I got into wrestling and all that. What it means to me to be a fighter is life can get really hard, and that’s a fight unto itself. So fighting makes me feel alive, so that’s what keeps bringing me back to the cage, that adrenaline, that rush in that spotlight, putting yourself in there and locking that cage behind you. It’s like a rollercoaster except your hand is at the wheel so to speak and you have control of the situation, at least to the best of the ability that you’ve trained for. Your ability to control the situation is your ability to prepare for the situation, and a lot of this carries over to every aspect of life, and it’s truly taught me what’s important.
JW: So you’ve had a really solid amateur career. Consistently you’ve been ranked in the top 1-5 in the state of Wisconsin as well as the Midwest, knowing the fighters that are in the Midwest and beyond, what do you think separates you from the other fighters in your division?
JCC: I just don’t know if they want it as bad as I do if they’ve been training as long as I have, I don’t know if they have the same fight mentality as I do. I have a fast-growing fight IQ; ya know I can’t even comprehend the person that I am when I’m inside the cage. A switch just flips, and I’m in a different world. It would almost be easier to interview that person because that’s not the person you’re talking to now. That guy is a machine, a monster and I don’t know if everyone else has that.
JW: Let’s go with a fun question. Whats your dream fight? Anyone in the world, even if they are not a fight?
JCC: I’d love to have a sparring session with Anderson Silva because he’s my idol, but he’s kind of out of my weight class. I wouldn’t mind getting in some rounds with Urijah Faber or TJ or Garbrandt. Fortunately for me, I got a taste of what that would be like sparring with Sergio Pettis he’s an absolutely incredible athlete. You’ve got to be willing to go with anyone, but those would be some fun rounds.
JW: I’ll wrap this up with this last question because I know you’re busy. So why don’t you tell everyone out there one thing people don’t know about you.
JCC: Man, I’m pretty out there, I’m pretty open about myself, but I love to dance! There are two things I like to do, and that’s beat people up and celebrate. My new sponsor is Lucid Light Lounge great nightclub, best in the city, great VIP area. So whoever is coming I don’t want you standing around, I want you to dance, I don’t know how to dance, but the beat just grabs me, and I go from there.
Well, that’s a wrap wit James Conrad Clark making his pro debut on Saturday, July 28th at Pure FC 9 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Article co-produced By @bizjitsu.