The "KCbandit" Jason High, is one of the brightest and most exciting up-and-comers in MMA. He burst onto the national and international scene winning his first six fights, with only one fight going the distance. His first and only career loss was against Jay Heiron in Affliction: Day of Reckoning. He then rebounded at DREAM.8 by submitting Yuyi Shirai in less than a minute to move on to the semi-finals of the DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix.
On July 20, DREAM.10 will host the final round of the welterweight grand prix, which will crown the promotion's first welterweight champion. Jason High, the only American in the tournament, is matched-up against the highly decorated jiu-jitsu world champion, Andre Galvao. On the opposite side of the semi-final bracket is a match between, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and Marius Zaromskis. Staying true to tradition, the winner of both bouts will face off later on in the same night for the DREAM Welterweight Title.
I got to speak with "The KCbandit" and he answered a few questions on his road towards the DREAM Welterweight title:
Anton Tabuena: Who are you training with? Will your preparation be different since you could potentially have two fights in one night?
Jason High: I train at the Bodyshop in Lakewood, CA. We have a bunch of good fighters in there. Antonio Mckee, Brett Cooper, Jesse Juarez, Emanuel Newton just to name a few. We're training a little different since I'll have two fights but mostly just concentrating on getting in good shape and being ready for whatever happens.
Anton Tabuena: Most of your wins have also come via submission, but will facing a guy like Galvao change your normal approach? ..And I know you can't divulge too much into this, but what is your game plan coming in to that fight?
Jason High: We train to impose our will during the fight. He's got a great ground game and I'm not underestimating him anywhere else. I feel that I can roll on the ground and control position with just about anyone with my wrestling base so while I know he's got good jiu-jitsu it doesn't impact our game plan much.
Anton Tabuena: I know you are taking it one fight at a time, but given the choice, who would you rather face in the final, Sakurai or Zaromskis?
Jason High: Honestly I haven't much thought about that. Both of those guys are really tough and I'm sure it'll be a good fight between them. But since I'm not matched up with either of them in the first round neither of them exist in my mind at this time.
Anton Tabuena: I understand you are under contract with DREAM and Affliction. How many fights are left, and what do you intend to do after?
Jason High: The DREAM contract is for this current tournament so after this is over we'll sit with them and re-evaluate our relationship. I have 2 fights left with Affliction but unfortunately I won't be able to fight on the next show because its too close to the DREAM show.
Anton Tabuena: You mentioned in twitter that people should pay more attention to black MMA fighters in addition to Kimbo Slice. Would you care to expound more on that?
Jason High: Well, it all started because I noticed a guy on this website, www.allhiphop.com talked about plenty of boxers but when he talked any MMA it was all Kimbo. Like, what the f-ck? Good for Kimbo for getting paid and all that but he's most certainly not a top level MMArtist, not at this time. So all I'm saying is give some love to guys like Rampage, Anderson Silva, Anthony Johnson, Jason High, Antonio Mckee, Emanuel Newton, Cheick Kongo...the list goes on and on. It just pissed me off cause he's acting like the only guy that is news worthy to black people in MMA is Kimbo Slice and that's not fair to the rest of us.
Anton Tabuena: What's the story behind the monicker 'KCbandit'?
Jason High: Well first off I'm from Kansas City, MO and proud of it. I got the idea thinking of all the old train robbers and criminals that roamed around the midwest in the old days. Like you see the old movies where a guy wearing a hat and with a bandana over his face rides up on a train, scares the conductor, steals everything and leaves. So I'm the Bandit from KC, I come in with my hat and bandana on steal your sh-t and leave.