“…standup or on the ground, either way I have just as much confidence.”
Jeff “The Executioner” Rexroad
Interview by: Lance Edwards
Jeff “The Executioner” Rexroad is a well respected fighter on the Houston MMA scene. As a family man, police officer and former Marine, Jeff has a history of serving his country and community. I took the opportunity to get to know him a little better when I sat down and talked with him about how he got started, what he expects in his upcoming fight with Ricardo Talavera at Legacy FC on January 29th at the Houston Arena Theater, and what the future might hold for him in the sport.
Jeff: I feel great, I’m strong, my weight’s good and I have no injuries. You rarely get to go into a fight with nothing wrong.
TCD.net: Do you do a big weight cut?
Jeff: I normally walk 30lbs heavier, over 200lbs. I drop most of it through diet, but I still have a bit of water to drop at the end. The first time I was going down to 170 the weight cut was hard and ugly, since I didn’t really know what worked. Since then I have learned the best way to do it, what food works and what timetable I have to keep to.
TCD.net: How long out do you start preparing?
Jeff: Well that depends more on the promoter to be honest and when you get the call, it has been five weeks before, or as long as three months. I like at least six to eight weeks. The further out you start preparing means you can get a lot more training done. In the last couple of weeks the calories are down so your energies down.
Usually in the first week I feel out where I’m at, I spar, improve my techniques I already have, learn new ones and figure out how I could have performed better at my last fight. Even if you win there are areas you can improve on, or mistakes you made that you can learn from. That’s the time you really learn, two to three months out. About five or six weeks out you get set with what you have learned, improving your technique, you add in more cardio, improve your diet to get your weight right. Basically, you’re getting better, sharpening your tools, and refining new techniques. Then at the end it’s lots of cardio, even if you’re the best technical kickboxer in the world, if your cardio is bad it means you will get knocked out.
TCD.net: How did you get involved in MMA?
Jeff: Well I got out of the Marine Corps in 2004. I first became interested before I went in, in 99, and I did a little in the corps. When I got out I no longer had anything keeping me competitive. In the Corps we had PT, we’d be competing against each other, so I started shopping around Houston and I walked into Saul Soliz’s gym in March/ April 2004. I was with him six years and I got the bug, I’ve been training ever since.
TCD.net: You hold a brown belt in BJJ I believe?
Jeff: That’s right, under Ricco Rodriguez. When I started I wasn’t that into kickboxing, but I loved the technical side of BJJ, so I focused on that. Lee King always used to push me to do kickboxing so I did it a little, and one day it just clicked and I loved it. Nowadays I’m comfortable either way, standup or on the ground, either way I have just as much confidence.
TCD.net: So how do you feel it will go with Talavera?
Jeff: We both fought Danny Taylor before. Ricardo comes from Elite MMA, they have good guys there and a good program, so I know he’s getting good training. He’s a big guy, in great shape with good standup and good ground, I’m just going to focus on what I’m doing.
Ricardo’s fight with Taylor went to decision, whereas mine was a tko. I don’t put a lot in that though, styles make fights, and if I didn’t land that first uppercut, who knows what would have happened, one punch can change a fight.
TCD.net: How’s training at Paradigm?
Jeff: It’s great, there as so many active fighters there, something like fifteen to twenty, in fact half the card at legacy has paradigm fighters, we have five fighting. We’re all in there every day, all progressing together, and that’s not counting the other guys who all bring something and have their own skills. They don’t give us a break, there’s not one easy round. The whole crew and instructors there are great, including Igor, Renan and Alberto.
Everyone’s in awesome shape, Mike B is the best I’ve ever seen him. He and Brian are amazing at the moment. The fact we’ve been together for so long means we trust each other and can spar harder because of it.
TCD.net: So how’s Alberto? He was an Olympic competitor for Cuba wasn’t he?
Jeff: He’s insanely good at wrestling, he has all these old school tricks, which most people don’t know or teach. He was in the ’96 Olympics and is so effortless at what he does, and just tosses you around, he’s not afraid to get in there. We’re lucky to have somebody like that.
Jeff: Well we are spread over the evening, and you’re right, we normally corner each other. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I imagine they’ll have the same people as me cornering, Lee King and Carlo Prater. They are excellent, they aren’t the sort of guys that just shout get up, they give specific instructions, which is really important.
TCD.net: How’s your daughter doing?
Jeff: She’s doing great, she’s four months now and growing, and pretty advanced. She was slightly premature, but has caught up on weight and sleeps like a champ.
TCD.net: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Jeff: I have two sponsors, Proformance Mouthguards, and Carvan Truck Masters on 120 East Rose Lane. I’d also like to thank everyone at Paradigm, the instructors; the guys who have helped me get ready. My wife sacrifices a lot to let me go to the gym each day; we both work and have a four month old. She’s actually a martial artist and has a second degree black belt in taekwondo.
TCD.net: So what’s next after this?
Jeff: I’m not sure, I’ll do this fight before I think and see what happens on the night. It’s a constant conversation with my wife. If competing ever interferes with my family life I’ll have to take another look. I would still be involved at some level and you’d still see me. Time will tell.
TCD.net: Thanks Jeff, we wish you well.
Jeff: Thank you.