MMA heavyweight Jan “Janimal” Jorgensen knows what it’s like to compete at a high level and succeed.
Having previously played for the NCAA BYU Cougars football team, Jorgensen set conference records and was one of the most consistent players of his class, starting every game from his freshman to senior years.
Having turned his attention to MMA, Jorgensen finds himself on the cusp of a breakthrough that could very well exceed his previous accomplishments, partially in thanks to what he brings from his football experience.
“There are a lot of things that I’ve been able to bring over,” Jorgensen told MMAWeekly.com. “I know what it takes to do things detail-wise, how well you have to execute and be prepared in every area of your game to compete at a high level.
“I know what it’s like to go into somebody’s backyard and win and disappoint a bunch of their fans. I’ve felt hostility from over 60,000 people and have been on TV in front of even more people than that, so the crowd and stuff like that (in MMA) is not a shock to my system.”
Since making his pro MMA debut in 2011, Jorgensen feels he’s grown by leaps and bounds as a fighter.
“It’s come a long, long way,” he said. “I used just being a bigger, stronger, more athletic guy to take guys down, but I wasn’t comfortable on my feet. Now I’m trimmed down to 245 pounds and I’m in in much better shape and I feel like I can fight anywhere – on the ground or standing up, wherever the fight goes – I can do it.”
On Friday night, Jorgensen (7-0, 1 NC) will face his toughest test when he takes on fellow undefeated fighter Josh Copeland (8-0) in the main event of RFA 16 in his opponent’s adopted hometown of Broomfield, Colo.
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“I am going to Josh’s hometown and I’m sure he’ll be a crowd favorite, but that part is not something I’m worried about. I’m focused on going out and performing,” said Jorgensen.
“Josh and I are very similar fighters. He’s got a good grappling background; he’s fairly athletic and is a strong guy. He uses that to try to stand up and knock guys out. He uses his athleticism to keep things standing and punch guys in the face, and that’s what I’ve done lately.”
Having worked his way to the top of his collegiate athletic pursuits, Jorgensen now looks to do the same in MMA, with a big step ahead of him Friday night.
“I got in this sport to make it to the top,” said Jorgensen. “I didn’t get in to just be in a promotion and be average. I wouldn’t have gotten into this sport if my goal hadn’t been to get to the top of the sport and do well.
“That having been said, I’m not trying to focus on that, because once you start looking to far ahead, you lose focus of your mark. I’m focused on beating Josh, and whatever comes next, I’ll deal with it then.”
(Photo courtesy of CMO Photo)