Sherdog Prospect Watch: Max Bohanan

(+ Enlarge) | Photo by Brendan Ormsby

Max Bohanan is 4-0.
(Photo by Brendan Ormsby) -- Lightweight prospect Max Bohanan is nicknamed “The Cobra,” and one glance at his resume reveals the moniker is well-deserved.

The 24-year-old Bohanon has struck quickly, finishing all four of his professional fights in the first round. None of them went longer than 3:47. Sandwiched in between two knockouts is a pair of submissions, one by arm-triangle choke, the other by calf crusher.

“I feel like my career has always been progressing,” said Bohanan, who trains out of the Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu camp. “I won four fights as an amateur, and the pro fights I’ve had, all of them are first-round wins. My technique and years of training are showing. My striking and jiu-jitsu are getting better and better.”

Bohanan made his pro debut in May 2014, knocking out Dan Corchado in 3:47 at Ring of Combat 48. The Bordentown, N.J., native quickly became a Ring of Combat fixture, appearing on four straight events for the regional organization.

Following the Corchado win, Bohanan returned to action in September and tapped James Rumley with an arm-triangle choke in 1:47. In January, Bohanon needed just 62 seconds to submit Leonard Simpson with a calf crusher; and in his most recent outing on June 5, Bohanon knocked out Lashawn Alcocks in 2:42 to remain unbeaten at 4-0.

Bohnan’s path to becoming an MMA fighter brought him from more traditional avenues into the combat sports world before Ricardo Almeida -- an Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran and former King of Pancrase -- advised him to turn to MMA.

“I was pretty athletic growing up,” Bohanon said. “I played a lot of basketball growing up. One year, I broke my finger and thought maybe I should try another sport. I watched ‘The Contender’ and I really liked it. I thought I might want to try boxing, so I got into it some. When I was growing up, MMA was coming up with fighters like Matt Hughes and stuff. So, I started with boxing, but then I got into wrestling and taekwondo. When I was a senior in high school, I knew I’d have to do [Brazilian jiu-jitsu] if I wanted to be serious about possibly getting into MMA. I googled and found Ricardo Almeida’s gym, and that was when Frankie Edgar had just came there. I started training under [Almeida] and won some world titles in BJJ, and he thought it was best for me to get into MMA.”

Bohanan, who started training under Almeida in 2008 and received his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from him in June, is a two-time jiu-jitsu world champion, as well as the 2012 New Jersey Golden Gloves champion. Currently a lightweight, Bohanon indicated he has no plans to move up or down in weight anytime soon.

“Making weight hasn’t been an issue for me at 155 [pounds],” he said. “It’s not been totally easy, but I haven’t had trouble cutting the weight. Between fights, I don’t get extra heavy, but I’m not extra light, either. Really, I don’t put on much size after a fight. I only get up to about 175 after a fight.”

Even though he just fought in June, Bohanan wants to compete again soon and would like a shot at Ring of Combat gold, whether it is UFC veteran Phillipe Nover’s regional lightweight title or Jeff Lentz’s national 155-pound belt.

“We’re probably going to try and jump onto a Ring of Combat card in August,” said Bohanan, who submitted undefeated UFC vet Paul Felder as an amateur. “I’m just trying to focus on getting the title [in Ring of Combat] and then take it on to the next step. I think I’m going to go for the Ring of Combat title and then sort of see what happens, whether it’s Bellator or the UFC.”

Ring of Combat is one of the top regional promotions in MMA and has produced several fighters that have gone on to achieve success in bigger organizations like the World Series of Fighting, Bellator MMA and the UFC. In fact, more than 90 Ring of Combat alumni have fought in the UFC alone and three -- Edgar, Matt Serra and Chris Weidman -- have gone on to win championships.

Carrying a varied skill set and operating out of a top camp that includes Edgar and fellow lightweight prospect Frankie Perez, Bohanan would like to make the leap to one of those major promotions, but he does not feel pressured to do so.

“There’s been talk about [signing with a major promotion], but I’m OK with waiting,” he said. “I could use the experience. I have the confidence it’ll happen, but I’m in no rush. If it happens, it happens. If not, then I’ll be more experienced when it does happen, and that can’t be a bad thing.”
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