“I know a lot of people see Capoeira on TV and think that it is all dancing and shit. That is just the show.”
Interview and Photos by: Barry Laminack
Jermain Anugwom has an extensive martial arts background, but a lot of things have kept him from making his pro debut. It will finally happen against Larry Crowe at Legacy FC 7. We had a chance to sit down and chat with him leading up to the fight to get his thoughts on his opponent and talk a little about how he got to where he is.
Anugwom: I started martial arts when I was 9 years old. I was doing karate at like an elementary school program. When I was 12 I started Capoeira. I have been doing that for like 14 years. In 2003 I started learning Krav Maga, American Kickboxing and Muay-Thai. 6 years later I had my first MMA fight. I have trained with guys like Bas Rutten. I was doing a lot of self defense stuff, basically stuff to prepare you for street fighting. In 2009 I really got that itch. Lone Star Beatdown was just starting in College Station, and it gave me that urge to fight. Shortly thereafter I had my first fight in Louisiana.
TCD: Had you always watched or followed MMA?
Anugwom: When I started martial arts back in 1996, my brother and I would always see the commercials for these pay per views with fighting in a cage. Bloody and shit everywhere. I didn’t really know what it was. That was my first exposure to it, but I didn’t really follow it for a while. When BJJ really hit Texas, no one was doing karate anymore. Everyone was kind of switching over to that, and if you were a traditional martial artist you pretty much had to get on board with it.
TCD: Has it always been a struggle for you to stay plugged into the Houston scene being all the way over in College Station?
Anugwom: Really the websites out there have always kept everyone in the loop. TXMMA used to be the only one, then when TheCageDoor opened up you guys really kind of connected everybody. It used to be Houston vs. College Station. Now we know what is going on out here and it keeps us connected the promoters and other fighters. It’s great.
Anugwom: I had like a :30 knockout in the first fight. Then I beat Christian Sutton in my next fight. After that they put me up against Chico Young. That fight basically was a title eliminator where the winner was going to fight Raul Jiminez. After that I got Fabian Guttierez. He was a wrestler and he beat me on the ground. I didn’t have any ground game at the time. I was supposed to have a couple more fights. I was supposed to fight Drew Ratichek, but he got hurt, because he always gets hurt. Then I was supposed to fight Christian Sutton again. He is like 80 years old so he had to pass a lot of medicals and that didn’t happen. At that point I really started focusing on training. I was training a lot of guys, a lot of kids. I was focused on opening up Windy. All the guys I fought with as amateurs are now pro, and I had to sit back and focus on my school. That was hard, but I kept training and learning and that has me ready now.
Anugwom: Windy Fitness in College Station. I own it. It is going great. 7,000 sf. Full cage, bags, you got to see it. Even the guys from 4 Oz. who come down are impressed. We had a smaller place but we got a lot of students and moved into this new place. We offer everything there. We have Yoga, Muay Thai, Fitness, Jiu Jitsu. We had boxing with Mike Jackson, and we will get a boxing program started back up again soon.
TCD: Most people know you for your Capoeira. How much of that do you incorporate into your MMA?
Anugwom: I know a lot of people see Capoeira on TV and think that it is all dancing and shit. That is just the show. There are 4 or 5 styles of Capoeira. The kind I do is called contemporary. It is a lot more fight oriented. Elbows, knees, kicks, no flips. We will do evasive movements. Maybe a small cartwheel or something, but none of the aerial stuff like you would see in the “show” Capoeira. I mostly use the footwork and the kicks in my MMA. There are no straight punches in Capoeira, but I use a lot of the other stuff.
Anugwom: My entire training camp has been at Hoger’s. I have been training for a while because I was hoping to get the JDF fight. I didn’t get that. Then I was supposed to fight in Oklahoma and I got hurt. I have been working a lot with Chico. Working a lot with Sam. I have been working over at Bam Bam too with Justin Reiswerg and Alex Black. This has basically been a 3 month camp, and I really wanted to work hard on my conditioning for this fight. I know Larry wants to bull rush and hold you against the cage. Keep the pressure on and beat you up against the cage. I can’t say anything else really. That’s about all I know. I think he will probably try and trade with me a little to set up a take down, but I don’t think he is going to want to stand up for too long. This is MMA, so I am working on everything.
TCD: So do you want to make a prediction?
Anugwom: No. I don’t want to make predictions. I will say anything he tries I am going to be ready for. I think Larry is a good guy and I have a lot of respect for Tony and those guys at Silverback. I just predict it will be a great fight. I haven’t fought in Houston since 2009 when I lost to Chico, so it’s been two years and I need to show these guys in Houston what I can do. I have been working a lot on the mental aspect of things too, and I think working with Sam and Chico on that really has me in a good place.
TCD: What are your expectations for your career?
Anugwom: After this fight I would like to get back to my guys in College Station. Randy McCullough, Ryan Rivera, Nathan Flack, Kristy Kester. I’m hoping to get back on the September 17th card. I’m a true 185 now and I would like to take a couple more fights. Hopefully I can put together a good record and Brett (Boyce) can work his magic and I can get to Shark Fights and hopefully take it to the top.
TCD: Anybody you want to thank on the way out?
Anugwom: First I want to thank Brett Boyce at Made To Win. He is always bugging me about “Why don’t you say my name,” so there it is. Everybody at Hoger. Coach Sam, Artenas, Kru Ali, my strength and conditioning coach Leroy, all my training partners- Alex Black, Justin Reiswerg, Hossan Walker, my friends and family have given me so much support, everybody at Windy Sport and Fitness and everybody in College Station. Of course thecagedoor.net. Haha.
TCD: We appreciate you taking the time to talk to us man. Good luck with your fight.