Iowa native Jordan Young got his start in MMA in the Midwest, but his progression from Bellator prospect to contender has taken him to South Florida.
The 22-year-old Young, who will face Alec Hooben on the Bellator 185 preliminary draw on Friday, calls himself the “King of Des Moines” and is a protege of UFC veteran Josh Neer. Young says that title is no disrespect to Neer, who hasn’t competed since January 2016.
“Josh Neer, that’s my big brother. That’s my first MMA coach,” Young said on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I came up with Josh. Josh definitely is the ‘King of Des Moines’ during his time, but you have to be active to be the ‘King of Des Moines.’ He is a coach now. There can be many ‘Kings of Des Moines.’”
While Young spent his formative years training in his home state, he has since relocated to American Top Team in Florida. The gym is one of the most renowned in the sport today and arguably is home to more top-level talent than any other camp. The move was necessary to help accelerate Young’s path.
“I came out to ATT when I was an 18-year-old kid and I didn’t have any pro fights. I came out here and trained for a little bit. I saw that high level for myself,” Young said. “At that time I was intrigued, but I still was coming up in Des Moines. When I did finally move down here full time, I had already trained on the West Coast and all over, so it’s not like the level was a shock to me. To be here every day just shows me how fast you can really progress and how much you can learn when you’re surrounded by mixed martial arts greatness every day.”
While ATT has a number of highly-regarded coaches, Young has found himself working primarily with former World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Mike Thomas Brown.
“He is one of the most dedicated coaches in there. He is the kind of guy to go corner somebody on a Friday night and fly back to South Florida at 10 a.m. on Saturday,” Young said. “He’ll go straight to the gym. Super good guy and dedicated coach.”
According to Young, Brown has been generous in sharing his career experiences.
“He has no problem opening up his arsenal and sharing what works for him and what he likes to do at certain times. Or things that he did he throughout that made him better during his career,” Young said. “He’s a super humble guy. I’ve never heard him speak on his career in an arrogant or cocky way. Not only does he coach every day but he’s in there training too. I know he had some injuries and whatnot, but he probably had some years left in him when he did retire.”
Young will face Hooben at a 195-pound catch-weight on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The preliminary card is scheduled to begin on Bellator.com at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. While he entered Bellator as a middleweight, he has not yet competed at 185 pounds within the California-based promotion. Young claims he can make that weight when given the proper amount of time, but an eventual move to 205 pounds as he gets older is pretty much inevitable.
“195 is the Jordan Young division, it’s the Jordan Young weight. I produce finishes at this weight, so they want to run it again at this weight to see another finish,” Young said. “That said, 205 is definitely my future. I have a big frame and I’m a young kid. I would imagine within the next couple years I’ll be forced to move up. At this current time in my career, 185 is a cut but it’s not impossible or draining on my body by any means. With the proper notice and a full camp I can make 185 with a good performance.”