March 18, 2011 – After recently having taken first place at the 2011 Abu Dhabi World Trials in San Diego, our next interviewee J.J. Holmes is literally going places – namely Nottingham, England for the September 2011 ADCC Championships, universally recognized as world’s most prestigious invite-only No-Gi grappling tournament.
For the lifelong grappler, this ADCC invitation was the culmination of many years of hard work as he has worked all his life to achieve this goal and beyond. Wrestling since the age of four, it is no exaggeration to say that Holmes has literally spent all his life on the mats, winning at every level of wrestling from the junior scholastic level to the NCAA’’s.
With those accomplishments and three years of training with Allen Mohler and the Alliance Jiu-Jitsu behind him, Holmes recently turned his attention to MMA as well, winning his pro debut at XKO 9 this past January.
With that first emphatic MMA win (by knockout) behind him, Holmes now looks to continue on an upward trajectory in fighting just as he has done in grappling, eventually seeking to hold gold at the highest level, the UFC.
He will continue that climb on April 9th against Hayward “The Hybrid” Charles at XKO 10.
Who knows, if he continues winning, maybe J.J. Holmes will be going to even more places than Nottingham in the near future.
J.J. thanks for taking the interview regarding your XKO return, April 9th against Hayward Charles. You won at by KO at their last event to open your pro career. How did it feel to get that first victory?
To get that first victory was an awesome feeling because it let me know I was ready to turn to professional MMA. Some people turn pro and realize they should have stayed amateur. But it was an awesome feeling to get that victory!
You also went 2-0 as an amateur, right? How did those fights prepare you for the professional ranks?
My first two amateur fights allowed me to know what I need to work on, and I still watch those to study my own weaknesses. It was also great learning experience from just doing traditional grappling tournaments. The preparation countdown for just one fight can drive a person mad.
What are you goals as a pro fighter?
My goals now as a professional fighter is to take one fight at a time and eventually become the best 185lb fighter I can possibly be. My ultimate goal is to hold that championship belt in the UFC.
Before we talk about your next fight, let’s dial it back a bit. Can you tell us a little about your history BEFORE martial arts? Any other hobbies growing up?
Before martial arts I was just your typical college grad, trying to have as much fun as possible and find a decent job. I was working for myself doing handyman services as a small contractor. I’ve been wrestling since I was four years old and it all ended in 2006. The only hobbies I had growing up was art, which I have my degree in, but I don’t use it as much. My friend dragged me in to a BJJ class at Mohler Jiu-Jitsu in 2008 and I believe that’s when I finally found my purpose.
Looking at your matches, both grappling and MMA, it’s obvious to see you’re a dominating wrestler. What’s your wrestling background?
My wrestling background: started wrestling in Maryland Pennsylvania area at 4 years old, two-time Texas state champion, high school All-American, a junior college national championship,and 2x NCAA qualifier.
By the way, HUGE congrats on recently winning at the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials. Where does that rank on your accomplishment scale?
Thanks, winning the Abu Dhabi trials was pretty exciting, but I’ve been competing for so long that winning tournaments doesn’t excite me probably as much as it should. I’ve always been brought up to think your suppose to win. I think losing impacts me more because it lets me know where I need to improve.
What do you have more of a passion for, grappling or MMA?
My passion for grappling is the comparison to a plant needing sunlight, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t do it. And as for MMA, I’m still not sure. I haven’t done enough of it to really give an opinion about it. But I do like it.
Back to your fight at XKO 10 against Hayward Charles. What do you know about him?
The things I know about Mr. Charles Is that he is a decent purple belt in BJJ. And I’ve seen his amateur videos. I wasn’t overly impressed but I believe that he will be a strong tough opponent and that he has a good coach. However I’m confident that I will be victorious!
He’s also known as a strong grappler right? Are you doing anything special to prepare for him?
His grappling is known to be strong but I grappled with some of the best wrestlers and BJJ practitioners in the game and I don’t think that will be an issue. The things I am preparing for is my striking, I don’t know how good his striking is but that’s going to be his best bet in beating me.
What’s next for you after this?
Whets next after this is try to find another fight, and continue to compete at these high level BJJ tournaments. I will continue to train all my aspects of MMA.
Any last words for your sponsors and fans?
I would like to thank my sponsors for putting your faith in me, losing is not an option. And for my fans. Prepare for an awesome victory!