My good friend Jeff Lawson has scored the fight of his dreams in Japan.
He’s fighting Hatsu Hioki at Sengoku Raiden Championships 14.
That’s big! Hioki is a seasoned vet in Japan, and the featherweight champion of Shooto.
But Jeff will be ready! He has moved down to featherweight not so long ago and brings with him a lot of power, technique, explosiveness, and unpredictability.
I first met Jeff when I came back from living in Japan. I visited the only MMA gym I knew of in the area, the Bulldog, to see if they were interested in flogging any of the gear I had brought back with me. Who did I see when I walked in the door – none other than Jeff Lawson, from The Ultimate Fighter 9, that I had been downloading and watching in Japan just weeks before!
We’ve been friends since then; Jeff is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met which is quite impressive considering a) I’ve met lots of nice guys and b) Jeff posesses the latent ability to rip your elbows off and snap your shins in half pretty much just by looking at them.
He has been kind enough to do some training with me here and there, too.
I got some words from Jeff about his upcoming bout in Japan.
The Grappling Dummy (GD): Congrats on the fight. What does it mean to you to fight in Japan?
Jeff Lawson (JL): Ever since I started judo as a kid I always looked up to the Japanese style. Since then it has always been a dream of mine to train at the kodokan. As I’ve grown up the dream of Japan has still remained but some of the things I want to do out there have changed obviously!
GD: How do you feel about fighting Hioki, one of Japan’s top fighters?
JL: It is a complete honour to be fighting Hioki. I really want to make an impression on the Japanese fans so you can guarantee that I will be bringing my (quirky) A game.
GD: What are your goals beyond this fight in Sengoku?
JL: I want them to have me back time and time again so my goal is to win this next fight in any way possible and climb up the world rankings.
GD: Do you have plans to fight somewhere else this year?
JL: Well, hopefully Sengoku will have me back after this fight.
GD: For those who don’t follow British MMA or don’t have you on their radar, who is Jeff Lawson and what do you bring to this fight?
JL: Jeff Lawson isn’t even on the radar at all! I don’t hold much stature even in the UK. I’m regularly overlooked but I am happy with that as I am usually the underdog which I like. I bring a lot of experience to this fight I have been doing MMA since 99 and competitive martial arts since I was 8 years old. I may bring an armbar with me too if I can get it through customs.
GD: Do you have any specific plan for Hioki?
JL: Well I am the heavy underdog so it’s gonna have to be all guns blazing. I really don’t have a specific plan for him I’m just going to fight on autopilot as I always do.
GD: Tell us about the recent drop to featherweight – you seem to have settled in nicely?
JL: Since I left The Ultimate Fighter I have realised that I am too small to be a lightweight, even though I had good success at 155. I hope to get even more at 145 which seems to be happening for me.
I wish Jeff the best of luck – especially in smuggling that armbar through customs!
Jeff would like to thank his sponsors:
§ Full Tilt Poker (www.fulltiltpoker.com)
§ Nogi Fightwear (www.nogi.com)
§ Scramble (www.scramblestuff.com)
§ Hooligans United (www.hooligansunited.com)
§ Tatami Fightwear (www.tatamifightwear.com)
§ JST Nutrition (www.jst-nutrition.com)
§ Cherry Active (www.cherryactive.co.uk)
§ Viridian Nutrition (www.viridian-nutrition.com)
§ FBT Pro (www.fbtsports.com/en/index.php)
§ Nutrichef (www.nutrichef.co.uk)
An old Jeff Lawson highlight video: