“…the taste of a submission is sweet, but I still have yet to taste what it is like to knock someone out.”
Interview by: Eric Hostetter
One of the more intriguing matches on the January 29th Legacy FC card has Justin Murray (2-0-0) of Bushi Ban squaring off against Jordan Rivas (1-0-0) of Elite MMA. It’s been said before that if you like a little MMA with your BJJ, then this is the fight for you.
Justin doesn’t come from a history of martial arts, he started off doing it to get into shape. But soon after he learned that he had a gift and was talented at the sport. One thing lead to another and besides dropping from 250lbs he has turned into a hot prospect on the Houston MMA scene. I caught up with Justin to gain a little insight into this submission specialist who is looking to get his first ever KO victory.
Justin Murray: I started to work in aviation, and a friend of mine by the name of Jesse Vasquez told me that he was just about to open his Bushi Ban school up in Friendswood. I was 250 lbs and out of shape and they were doing a weight loss competition and he asked me if wanted to be a part of this competition. So I started going and really enjoyed it. From then on out, I started to participate in grappling tournaments and they said I did very well, and eventually it all progressed into cage fighting.
TCD.net: Did you have any other motivating factors that brought you into cage fighting?
Justin: I always watched UFC and enjoyed it. I do have a bunch older brothers and we were always wrestling around, so the competition of this sport has always interested me. To me, this is the ultimate sport. In football or hockey, they always talk about who can throw the ball the farthest, or make the best catch and people start to squab a little bit when talking about it. Where as in cage fighting this really cannot be taken any further.
TCD.net: Well until you start bringing in swords and spears and other weapons into the cage.
Justin: I think that is just a little bit over the line.
TCD.net: Just a little. I don’t think people really do want to see blood, guts, fingers and toes splattered all over the cage.
When you told your family and friends that were getting into this sport, how did they react?
Justin: Friends, they all thought it was cool. Really though, when I first got into the sport, I really didn’t expect to take it this far, especially since I was way out of shape. Not an athlete by any means. But everyone thought it was really cool to be involved with. Everyone supports me in my decision to do this. Granted, they do always have a little bit of fear, or uneasiness, since this is a combat sport.
TCD.net: Tell us a little bit about training at Bushi Ban.
Justin: We are like just one big family. Rey, Alex, Gerzan, I could name them all, but we are just one big family helping and we are there for each other. Especially when someone is going through a slump where they do not feel like training. At the end of the day we prop each other up and help each other out. Our teachers and mentors, such as Master Zulfi, are always there for us. I know I can go to him for anything. He is not just some guy that teaches me karate. We are a family. We are all comfortable in coming to these guys for help with anything, including our personal lives.
TCD.net: So do you spend a lot of your free time with your teammates?
Justin: Oh yeah. We are all close friends outside of the gym. We don’t get to hang out all of the time, but anytime there is a seminar a lot of us go to it. We have been to Vegas, Florida, and any other place you can think of out of state where we can be trained. We spend every night at the gym. Most of us are not into the whole party scene anymore, so we spend all of our time training. I see them more than I see my own family.
TCD.net: What would you rather have, Fight of the Night or Submission of the Night honors?
Justin: That’s a good question. Submission of the Night means, to me, that the fight finished and there was a clear winner and a conclusion. To me Fight of the Night means that it came down to the end and the match is being decided by someone else, so I will go with Submission of the Night
TCD.net: Submission of the Night or Knockout of the Night?
Justin: At this point Knockout of the Night, only because I haven’t had the privilege to knockout someone inside of the cage yet. I have submitted several people, and at this point in my career the taste of a submission is sweet, but I still have yet to taste what it is like to knock someone out.
TCD.net: Who are your favorite fighters? It can be local fighters or fighters up on the big stage. Someone that you just have to see fight the night when it happens, rather than have somebody tell you about it later.
Justin: Fedor Emelianenko, by far.
TCD.net: Tell us about your thoughts on your fight against Jordan Rivas at Legacy FC on January 29th.
Justin: It’s gonna be a good one. Both of us are adept on the ground and the both of us have decent striking. I think it is going to be one of those fights that doesn’t go where anyone expects for it to go.
TCD.net: Without tipping your hand too much, how have you prepared for this fight?
Justin: I’ve had a really great camp. All of my guys have been there to push me. We have worked on everything were we have thought to be problematic. We have been hitting the cardio really hard for this one. If this fight finishes, it will be one of those that finishes spectacularly, but it could go all of the way.
TCD.net: Is there anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
Justin: Always God first. After that, I give thanks to my family and friends for their support, my teammates and coaches at Bushi Ban, Zulfi Ahmed, Jesse Vasquez, Eric Loveless, all of the guys. Thanks to all of the people that push me and make me better.
TCD.net: Thank you for your time. Good luck to you in your match.
Justin: Thank you.