NCAA Champ Jenkins: I Will Not Lay-and-Pray

By Staff Oct 10, 2011
Bubba Jenkins hasn’t fought in MMA yet, but he already knows what kind of fighter he doesn’t want to be.

“I will not be the lay-and-pray type of wrestler,” Jenkins (Pictured) told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “That is just a promise to everyone who is out there.”

Jenkins probably could be a successful lay-and-prayer if he wanted. Wrestling at 157 pounds for Arizona State, he won the 2011 NCAA Division I championship. He’ll make his MMA debut Dec. 2 when he takes on Chris Huerta at Tachi Palace Fights 11.

“Nobody knows what I’m going to do because I don’t even know what I’m going to do,” Jenkins said. “I can plan all day for my wrestling matches, and in the wrestling matches I don’t even do what I plan. To get out there in front of everybody in MMA and actually have some leeway to use my athleticism and not have as many rules as there are in wrestling, I’m just going to be opening up. You’re not going to see too many straight-on shots and takedowns. You’re going to see a lot of fists, elbows, knees, shins, ankles -- whatever I can throw out there to damage a guy, I’m throwing it.”

Jenkins has been preparing for his debut with American Top Team.

“I’m learning how to take some punches, learning how to take some kicks and definitely learning how to give them,” he said. “It’s going very well, as smooth as it could go for a wrestler who’s got a low height when I spar and stuff like that. They’re teaching me how to come up out of my stance and get more into the MMA side of things. The transition is smooth. A lot of the stuff is similar, real, real similar.”

Against Huerta and for his first few matches, Jenkins plans on competing at 155 pounds. Eventually, though, he wants to drop to 145.

“When I get some serious fights and go up against big names, I think I’m going to go down to 145,” Jenkins said. “I think I’m a natural 145-pound fighter. With the weigh-ins the way they are and my weight not being that much right now, 145 sounds real good to me. But for the beginning part of my career, just to get some experience under my belt, I don’t think I’m going to cut too much and just fight at the weight I’m at, which is around 155.”

Jenkins is well aware of the hype that will follow him into his first fight, and he welcomes it. At this point, his ambition is every bit as great as his talent.

“My goal is to be a household name like Phil Davis, Rashad Evans, ‘Bones’ Jones,” he said. “I want to be doing Crest commercials and commercials that have nothing to do with the sport. I want to live up to the hype.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:05:10).


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