by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Few fighters come into MMA with the list of credentials that Eliot Marshall does. A Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Renzo Gracie system by way of trainer Amal Easton, himself a standout BJJ practitioner, Eliot’s accolades are impressive.
Not only is Marshall a four-time Gold Medalist at the Pan-Americans, but he’s also earned medals from the BJJ World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has nine Grappler’s Quest Championships under his belt.
So when Eliot entered into MMA last year, there was a certain level of expectations he had to live up to thanks to his previous successes. So far Marshall has done nothing but live up to the high standards he continuously sets for himself.
Undefeated at 4-0, Eliot puts his unblemished record on the line as he faces off against Jungle Fight veteran Marcus Sursa this Saturday at the Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado. Marshall and Sursa are fighting for the Ring of Fire Light Heavyweight Championship.
“I’ve always kind of wanted to do it,” said Eliot of why he transitioned from BJJ competition to MMA fighting. “The reason I guess I waited was because I just wanted to make sure I was solid at something. Like I had a way I knew I was able to get in there and be good, [and] Jiu-Jitsu’s my thing.”
Marshall continued, “I had a for sure goal of what I wanted to do rather than just, ‘Oh I want to go fight.’”
To help him segue from straight BJJ to MMA, Eliot has enlisted an impressive pool of talent to ensure his transition is a successful one.
“I’m currently training up in Boulder with Amal right now, Duane Ludwig for my striking, Nate Marquardt’s [High Altitude Martial Arts] gym and I go down to Albuquerque once a month to train with Greg Jackson, Rashad [Evans], Keith [Jardine], Joey Villasenor and those guys,” commented Marshall.
Even though Eliot has top tier talent working with him, acclimating himself to the multiple facets of a sport like MMA hasn’t always gone smooth, but it’s gotten easier as he’s progressed.
“At first it kind of wasn’t that fun because I stunk,” admitted Marshall with a laugh. “I wasn’t very good at it, but now I’m starting to pick it up pretty well, so it’s fun. I like the wrestling, the striking and sometimes I like to work on them individually, just my striking and just my wrestling.”
“That’s been great and just listening to the guys, knowing that when I’m nervous and all the emotions I’m getting before a fight, those same guys at the top of the game are having those same emotions. I think that’s been the biggest help,” added Eliot.
Marshall’s next test comes this Saturday in a Ring of Fire 205-pound title bout against Marcus Sursa, a fighter that Eliot has familiarized himself with and is more than confident he can match up well with.
“He’s a really good wrestler from what I understand, and really good on the ground too,” commented Marshall. “I’ve been working my striking a lot and I’m sure he’s been working his striking a lot. I’ve seen a couple of his fights and he’s a big, strong, aggressive guy. And I’m just prepared for however it goes.”
Eliot continued, “If it’s going to stay on the feet, then we’re going to go on the feet, I guess. If it we go to the ground, I’m going to take it to him there too. It doesn’t matter to me; I don’t really care where we fight too much.”
With his unique skill set for an American light heavyweight, Marshall believes he can make an impact in the division, sooner than later.
“A lot of big guys are just used to being on top and grabbing and throwing, just using their strength and power to go through people,” explained Eliot. “That’s not my game. My game is good tactical Jiu-Jitsu and if you’re not ready for it, it’s going to be dangerous.”
Should all go well this weekend, Marshall looks to take a little time off before continuing his quest to get to the biggest stages of MMA.
“I’m going to take a little time off after this fight, win, lose, or draw. I need a little rest,” said Eliot. “I’ve fought three times in four months and I haven’t really stopped training hard since the middle of October, so I need a little rest.”
“I’d love to get that call from [UFC President] Dana White sometime, but everyone would. If nothing comes before then, I’m going to fight in the Ring of Fire in September, looking to defend the belt, and just be ready to go,” further stated Marshall.
Eliot concluded by wanting to give thanks to those whom have helped him get to where he is and also remind fans to check out Ring of Fire 29 this Saturday in Broomfield, Colorado, as it should be an explosive night of MMA action.
“I’d like to thank first and foremost my wife,” said Marshall. “She supports me. It’s very difficult to live with a fighter in the household and she supports me with what I’ve got to do. I’d like to thank Amal. Without him I wouldn’t be where I was with Jiu-Jitsu or in my MMA career. Thanks to all the guys I train with: Duane Ludwig, who has been just huge in my career; my conditioning coach Rob Brooks; Greg Jackson down in Albuquerque; Cody, Tyler, ‘Lil Hulk’ [Luke Caudillo], Christian, Ken and everyone that gets me ready.”
Eliot closed out, “I want everyone to come check out Ring of Fire Saturday, April 28th, Broomfield Events Center, Ring of Fire ‘Aftershock’, see you guys there!”