September 28, 2008

by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
It may be enough for a fighter to have their dream come true to participate in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but to do so in front of your hometown crowd and succeed in spectacular fashion is a whole other thing all together.

Such is the case for longtime Midwest fan favorite Jason Brilz.

Long considered something of a star in the making, Brilz entered UFC Fight Night 15 earlier this month expected to do well, but he did much more than that, dominating Brad Morris en route to a second round TKO.

“It went pretty much how we thought it was going to go,” he said of his win. “I figured he’d probably land a few more shots standing up – we trained for that – but it worked out well for me.

“It was really made special that it was in Omaha, so I had a lot of friends and family (in attendance). The UFC was great, they took care of me and it was a very fun experience.”

When asked where he goes from here, having made such a tremendous debut under the circumstances, Brilz replied with a chuckle, “It’s kind of the pinnacle of my career right now.

“I made the joke that I could kind of leave my gloves in the cage, because it’s not going to get any better than fighting in the UFC, in my hometown – it doesn’t get any better.”

Most fighters having put an impressive stamp on their big time debut may kick things into high gear to get in as much attention in and out of the cage as possible, but not Brilz, who has taken some flack for his decision to make fighting secondary to his family and other career.

“It’s still going to be like a hobby,” he commented of fighting. “When I say it’s a hobby, I mean one fight is not going to make or break me – it’s a hobby financially.

“I go into every single fight as prepared as I could be; I work my tail off. I guess for me, mentally, it’s easier to call it a hobby, because then it’s not a big deal if I lose; if I do, I go back to the drawing board, game plan and try again.”

As far as fighting itself goes, where other fighters may be more conservative to prolong their career, Brilz would rather make the most with the limited time his fighting career has compared to the other factors in his life.

“I’ve always told the promoter to get a guy that’s going to beat me,” he said. “I love being the underdog, and I really just want to see where I’m at.

“If I get whooped on, so be it, but at least I know where I’m at and what I need to work on.”

At one time Brilz did decide to put everything into the fight game, with mixed results in his opinion.

“I tried to go full-time fighting once, and it lost its appeal,” he admitted. “You can only train so much a day, and I think I’m already at that point.

“There’s a huge opportunity for me to learn more; and I’ve got great workout partners and coaches, so I’m not prepared to uproot my family and move. It’s still the fight game, and one overhand right in any fight and you’ll get a whole new career, anything can happen.”

Due to his firefighting work being particularly intense during the summer months due to fire season, Brilz would like to get in some more action during the winter months prior to heading into the New Year.

“I’d love to get another fight in, in November, December or January,” he stated.

“I’d like to have about three fights (a year). I’d like to have two early, between January and April, and then take the summers off, and then take one in the fall up until November or December.”

While many other fighters would be more concerned with pushing their careers to the limit above most other things, Brilz has already achieved a great deal in his personal career at the pace he’s going.

With a 16-1-1 record, it would be hard to dispute it’s been working for him, as he works his way slowly, but surely up the 205-pound rankings.

“I’d like to say thanks to CrossFit Omaha and Premier Fighter; MidAmerica Martial Arts, Ryan Jensen, Joe Baulder and the Ellenberger brothers (Jake and Joe),” he concluded.

“Thanks to all the fans out there, they’ve been unbelievable for their support for the last nine years. Watch out for me; hopefully I should have another fight before the year’s out.”