When you have nicknames like "The Unicorn Slayer" or "The Rapper Scrapper", it has to be a foregone conclusion that you're a badass, otherwise you might just have to be giving up your lunch money on a regular basis. This scenario will never happen to 2011 NCAA champion, Bubba Jenkins. He could probably name himself "The Pink Haberdasher" and still command the utmost respect from his opponents, and probably strike a little fear into them, too. I was able to get a quick interview with the wrestling phenom, to find out his future plans, as well as his current endeavors.
Stephie Daniels: I know that you signed a six fight deal with RFA. Is your contract exclusive or do they allow you some freedom to fight in other organizations?
Bubba Jenkins: It's exclusive unless it's the UFC calling me. I'm not sure if my management team would even want me fighting in other organizations. I haven't really extended my thoughts on the matter, though. I've been happy with RFA. They're a good organization, and I'm having a good time being there with them. I just show up where I need to be and start punching when they say "Go".
Stephie Daniels: You have five fights left on your contract. Do you think you'll need all five fights to be "UFC ready" or do you think you'll be ready sooner?
Bubba Jenkins: I'm very adaptable. I really just try to focus on the next fight and not look too far ahead. In wrestling, you're able to do that a little more, because you have so many matches in a day, but with MMA, you get a date and an opponent and you just train for that one guy, so that's really where my focus is. If I get spectacular finishes against quality opponents, and my guys at the gym, Ricardo Liborio and those guys tell me, 'Hey, that was a pretty tough guy and you beat him up good. You did what you needed to do for us to say that you're ready', then maybe I'm ready, whether it's at two more fights or all five, or even if it's more than that, I'll go with what they say, because they bring up champions.
Stephie Daniels: Are you training in a gi?
Bubba Jenkins: Yes I am. It's not like they put me into specific classes. I go to the classes on my own. It slows me down a lo. A lot of those guys are grabbing me and wrapping me up, but when I get out of it, I feel like Superman. I feel electric. I feel powerful. I like learning the basics of jiu jitsu, and being more technical through training.
Stephie Daniels: You mentioned that you were going to the classes on your own, that they didn't have to tell you to go. Are you interested in the belt ranking or is this more about rounding out a comp0lete skillset?
Bubba Jenkins: Right now, it's part of my overall training, but eventually, with me being down there at ATT, and me going to the classes, I will eventually go for a belt. At the moment, I'm just focusing on being a well rounded fighter. I don't want to focus on one thing too much, until I've got more experience in MMA.I think once I let my wrestling flow, and get the feel for jiu jitsu, I can effectively mix the two together and do pretty well.
Stephie Daniels: What's the hardest and easiest things you've picked up during your MMA training?
Bubba Jenkins: The hardest thing is trying to get out of guard when you take somebody down. I can take a guy down and stall, but I'm trying to work on being more effective and doing more. The easiest part is taking guys down. I know my wrestling is better than most, but when I get a guy down, there are all these new jiu jitsu positions, butterfly guard and things like that. It's not like they're just jumping immediately to take my back. I have to adjust to the fact that the jiu jitsu guys want to be fighting off their back.
Stephie Daniels: Are super-ducks possible in MMA?
Bubba Jenkins: Yes, and I'm working on it. I feel like if I can punch enough, and get the guy confused, and start going at an angle to the right, I feel like I can feint a left jab or something, and super-duck to the left and actually get it. I think it is possible. The guy would actually have to sprawl, but super-duck and coming behind a guy, even if he's on his feet, he still super-ducked him, he still got under there clean. It is possible, and I plan on being the first person to do it in MMA.
Stephie Daniels: You have expressed interest in competing in the 2016 Olympics. Would that change if you were in the UFC and holding a belt or would the prospect still be an appealing one?
Bubba Jenkins: It would still be of interest to me because it would add to my accomplishments. If I were holding a belt, it would mean that I was one of the best fighters in the world, and I would want to see if I'm the best wrestler. I want to see if I could be one of the best combat athletes ever. I try to be the best in everything I do, whether it's me and my girlfriend are drinking Koolaid to see who can slam it the fastest, or making a run for the Olympics. I compete in everything I do in life. The only reason I didn't try out this year was because I was so focused on trying to get into MMA. I wanted to be ready and look flawless. Right now, I'm focused on being a good fighter.
Stephie Daniels: I know you've been working with inner city kids for a couple of years via the Beat The Streets program. Do you have other charitable ventures you participate in?
Bubba Jenkins: Absolutely. I try to use every opportunity to give back to the kids. These kids need role models and people to look up to. I have the Bubba J Underdog Clinic, which is a Beat The Streets type program. We're setting that up in Virginia. Once we get that going, in between fights, I'll be able to go around the country and provide free wrestling clinics to a wide range of kids. We want to get them off the streets and help them stay away from drugs and things like that.
You can follow Bubba via his Twitter, @2sinsurrJenkins