2013 couldn’t have started any better for welterweight prospect Alan Jouban.
Back-to-back wins over Rigo Oropeza and Chris Spang not only added to a six-fight winning streak, but also gave him the opportunity to fight for a title and a possible move up to the next level of MMA.
“The Rigo fight couldn’t have gone any better because I hit him with a liver shot and finished him off on the ground,” said Jouban. “I came out of the fight injury free and it cemented my contract with the RFA.
“The win over Spang was probably one of the turning points of my career just because I went into that fight somewhat injured and unsure of myself and ended up taking him out in the third (round); so it was a huge fight, a very gratifying fight for me.”
Understandably, Jouban was riding high going into his RFA title shot against Mike “Biggie” Rhodes in October, and that’s when things went sideways.
A slow start and holes in his wrestling game cost Jouban a unanimous decision loss to Rhodes, forcing him to make changes.
“Immediately after the fight I knew I needed to change things up and make wrestling my priority,” said Jouban. “Working on stuffing shots, when my back’s against the cage and working on defense, things I never really worked on before.
“I left Legends gym and became a member of Black House. Since then things have been going great. I’ve been improving in every areas of the game I needed improving in and I’m hungry again to fight.”
Compounding the loss was the fact that Rhodes got a shot at the UFC, forcing Jouban to watch from the sidelines as someone else lived out his dream.
“I was pissed that Mike beat me, I didn’t get the RFA title, and he got the call to the UFC,” said Jouban. “I watched him fight in the UFC (in January) and was thinking how he took my fight, took my dream, and how it should have been me in the UFC.
On Friday, Jouban (7-2) will get his chance to redeem himself as he takes on Armando “Chino” Montoya (8-3) at RFA 14 in Cheyenne, Wyo.
“I think stylistically it’s a good fight for the fans and a good fight for me,” said Jouban. “Chino seems to be a guy who will stand there and trade with me, which I like. I don’t mind going to the mat with him, but our records speak for themselves; so I’ll probably take my chances on the feet.”
Jouban told MMAWeekly.com that nothing short of absolute victory will be acceptable on April 11 as he looks to gain back all he had lost to Rhodes last year.
“I want to show the RFA why I was a number one contender, why they saw that spark in me and believed in me,” he said. “I want to come out in this fight and take Chino out. No disrespect to him, but I want to put him away early and just make a statement in this fight and get the momentum going again.”