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Monday, April 01, 2013
Now based in Singapore, American fighter Jake Butler made his MMA debut on February 2, 2013, at ONE FC: Return of Warriors, at the Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, getting a first-round TKO victory over Indonesian wrestler Antoni Romulo.
He next fights this Friday, April 5, on the ONE FC: Kings and Champions card when he takes on the more experienced Swain Cangco of Saipan in a light heavyweight bout.
ONE FC: Kings and Champions will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. The show will be televised live in Asia on Star Sports, which is available in 28 countries to an estimated 500 million viewers. It will also be webcast live around the world as a pay-per-view on http://www.onefc.livesport.tv.
We spoke with Jake Butler by Skype on Wednesday (Tuesday New York time) about this fight and his unusual decision to leave a job in finance and become a fighter. You see, Jake Butler has a degree in economics from the prestigious Ivy League college Princeton and had been working in New York before making some life-changing decisions. But he also was prepared to make such a change, having wrestled at 197 pounds for Princeton, a Division I NCAA school, where he was a captain and considered the best wrestler on the team.
"I wasn't really happy in my career in New York and working in the finance industry there," he said in this interview. "I'd always had an interest in competing in MMA all through college. When I graduated, I guess there is a certain amount of pressure to sort of use that Princeton degree to go right to work and focus on a career."
But perhaps understating his dilemma by describing his plight as being stuck working in an office doing what was "not the most rewarding job", he then decided it was time to move on.
"I soon realized that it probably wasn't the best choice for me, and I still wanted to compete."
But where to go?
He continued, "It's a lot more difficult in the U.S. to get started in MMA and also work. I just didn't have the right opportunity there."
He also was well aware that he would need much more than college wrestling to succeed in MMA.
"When I came across Evolve MMA, I had heard that they were looking for people with wrestling experience, with a strong wrestling background, and what they offered was world-class striking, probably some of the best striking coaches in the world. So it just seemed like a perfect fit for me and a perfect opportunity to pursue my interest in MMA."
Although his is still a preliminary fight, Jake Butler is now where he wants to be and doing what he wants to do.
We also discussed what to expect in his fight with Swain Cangco, his transition from wrestling to MMA, his training in striking and submissions, how takedowns must be set up differently in MMA than in wrestling, his experience at Evolve MMA, and much more.
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