On December 16th at the 3Arena in Dublin, Jai Herbert [4-0] will be looking to become the new BAMMA Lonsdale lightweight champion and will also be looking to maintain his unbeaten professional record when he competes against Rhys McKee [4-0], for a night of MMA when BAMMA and Bellator join forces for a special fight night.
The 28-year-old full time scaffolder who lives in Wolverhampton, has only been competing competitively in Mixed Martial Arts for the past 4 years and has already won the amateur Combat Challenge British welterweight belt and the amateur BCMMA lightweight belt before he turned professional in March 2015.
Having fallen in love with MMA after watching UFC on cable channel BRAVO, Jai noticed a new gym that had opened down the road from where he lived (IKON Martial Arts) who were advertising MMA classes and decided to give it ago.
“I have always been a fan of UFC having watched it regularly on television” Jai recalls “when a new gym opened down the road from where I lived and advertised MMA classes I decided to give it ago. That was 7 years ago, and I have not looked back since.”
Training out of Wolfpack MMA under the guidance of John Ashley since he has started out in his MMA journey, Jai fits his training schedule around his full-time job.
“I’m up at 6am and back home for 5pm working a physically demanding job. I manage a quick coffee before heading out to the gym for 2/3 hours every day. My main gym I train out of is Wolfpack MMA where I do majority of my training with John Ashley including my strength and conditioning. I also train at Firewalker Martial Arts on a Thursday and on a Friday I go to Kaobon in Cannock and get some sparring in. My days are long and tiring and the plan is to train full time soon and knock work on the head so I can reach my full potential.”
Competing most of his amateur career in the welterweight division for which Jai racked up an impressive record of 9-1. He then decided that once he turned pro he would drop down to the lightweight division.
“At amateur I fought all bar one of my fights at welterweight and never had to cut weight, I didn’t see the point at amateur of putting my body through the strain. Going into pro I cut down to lightweight and have a pro record of 4-0 at the minute.”
Currently on a 12-fight winning streak with his only loss coming in his first amateur bout, Jai has yet to see the third round of competition in his professional career thus far. Having won all 4 bouts in the 2nd round. Maintaining a winning fight streak would usually put pressure on anyone but not Jai, he is concentrating on self-improvement.
“I have the will to win and finish every fight. I’m aggressive but calm and calculated, I take my time. I like it when I hit someone and can feel and see that I have broken their spirit to the point where they don’t want it anymore, then I just take my time and break them down from there. I don’t feel any pressure to keep my win streak going. I don’t think about the win streak. I think about getting in the best shape I can, keep improving and putting on a better performance than I did the last time. I’ve improved in every fight, I’m more focused on self-improvement then anything or anybody else.”
Having fought his last two bouts under the BAMMA banner and getting the opportunity to compete for the Lonsdale lightweight title at the 3Arena in Dublin, Jai is looking forward to the future with the promotion.
“I knew I would get a shot at the title, maybe in one more fights time, but I got it now which I’m glad about because it’s just speeding up the process of me getting to the top, which, without a doubt I will. I’ve felt sometimes in the past that I have been overlooked as I don’t bring attention to myself or bad mouth anyone so I’m glad to be getting the recognition from BAMMA which I deserve.”
As with his previous bouts, Jai knows that preparation is key in getting to know what kind of opponent Rhys McKee is before he has stepped foot into the cage before fight night.
“When I got sent the name Rhys McKee I watched his two fights on BAMMA to see who he was and what his style is like. He is tall, rangy and likes to box which is nothing I haven’t dealt with before. He hasn’t fought no one with my striking so we will see how he deals with that. I’m looking forward to the fight and being the new Lonsdale champ.”
Jai would like to thank the following people:
“I’d like to thank my coach John, my training partners, sponsors and my girlfriend Jaye, this victory will be for all of them. Also, a shout out to A.C Electricals in Wolverhampton and my old man (Dave the rave) for helping me out with the financial costs for my medicals/scans in preparation for this fight.”
You can keep up to date with Jai’s journey on the following social media platforms:
@jaiherbertmma on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jaiherbertmma/?pnref=story.unseen-section
@jaibwoy on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jaibwoy/
BAMMA 27: DuQuesnoy Vs. Philpott takes place on Friday 16th December at the 3Arena in Dublin. Tickets on sale now from bit.ly/2eds53z