Rashon Lewis is ready to go in his fight against Justin Murray this weekend at IXFA. Lewis doesn’t have the traditional background of most guys who are fighting MMA in Houston these days. His early success has to be attributed to something. After talking to him, I have it narrowed down to two things.
One is sheer athleticism. Lewis played quarterback for McMurray University in Abileine after starring at Sharpstown High here in Houston. The second thing is sheer determination. Sit down with this young man long enough, and you realize how driven and hungry he really is.
Lewis’ was a standout at McMurray, and had considered trying to get himself into the NFL combine and showcase his skills in front of pro scouts. He was having troubles with his coaches though, and it led to a change in direction for him. “I had been playing team sports since I was 3 years old. I wanted to do something for Shon. I was sitting around watching Spike TV, and thought that it looked like something I could do. I called my buddy Brandon Murray, we watched some youtube videos and kind of figured out how to hold pads, and got down to business.”
That was his first dip into MMA. “I never looked at this as something I was going to dabble in. When I decided to do this, I told myself I am gonna go full on and do it. I knew that I had to graduate school before I could get myself into a real gym and work with some real fighters, but the day I bought my first pair of boxing gloves, I knew I was in it all the way.”
He didn’t walk into an actual MMA gym until July of last year, when he showed up at Paradigm. “Paradigm couldn’t be any better for me. I have so many great coaches and training partners there.” Considering that he has Legacy Welterweight Champion Mike Bronzoulis, Brian Melancon, Jeff Rexroad, Lester Batres, Evert Gutierrez and more at his gym there in his weight class alone, that may be an understatement.
The upside of having so many good 170 pounders at his gym is obviously he is learning from some of the best guys in Texas. The downside is, there are only so many title belts to go around. “Title belts are great, but the reality is that we are all looking at the bigger picture. No offense to these promotions we are fighting for here, but everyone knows it’s about the next level. It’s nice to be a champion on a local level, but everyone wants to be a champ at the next level.”
Speaking of title belts, his fight at IXFA was set to be for a title, but the TDLR wouldn’t allow Lewis to fight the 5×5 rounds because he didn’t have enough experience in the cage. “It was disappointing not to be fighting for a belt, but the reality is that I treat every fight like a title fight. I don’t care who my opponent is, I am going to prepare like it is a title fight.”
He still leans on his football experience in many ways. “Football gave me a lot of the tools I use for fighting, no question. Explosion, aggressiveness, and heart. I think I am one of the most, if not the most explosive fighters in Texas. I am a lot stronger than a lot of the guys at my weight, because I was forced to be strong. And if I was down by 50 points, I was still giving it my all. I don’t quit. You need that in this game.”
As far as his opponent, Justin Murray, Lewis is excited for the matchup. “I think it is good for me, because if I fight a guy like this, people won’t just think I am a banger. I am a mixed martial artist. I am learning all of it. If someone wants to fight on the ground, I will fight on the ground. Someone wants to bang, I will bang. I just want people to come up after the show and say that Sho-Nuff put on a hell of a show.”
Lewis feels that the sky is the limit as far as where his MMA career can go. “If you wanna ask how good I am now, I would say I’m pretty good, but if you wanna ask how good I can be, I don’t know if you have heard the Lil’ Wayne song “No Ceiling.” I honestly think I don’t have a ceiling on me right now. A lot of these guys have been training for a long time, and some of them may have plateaued. I am just learning. I just learned how to throw a good one-two. I am learning more every day. Not everyone can say that at this point.”
Rashon has a few more sponsors than most people with a 1-0 pro record, which he attributes to his degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing.
“I’d like to thank TRB and Associates, Life Fit Vending, Breakaway Speed, Hardcore Pilates, PAK (Pure Athleticism Kennels), Freshies, Dr. Wells, Dr. Larry Gordon, and Ron Carter in Alvin.”