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Thursday, February 07, 2013

No Holds Barred: J.P. Reese 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with American Top Team MMA fighter for former University of Missouri wrestler J.P. Reese.

On January 31, J.P. Reese fought Dave Shepherd on the Bellator MMA card in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and won a three-round unanimous decision. This fight, fought at lightweight, was on the undercard of this event. It upped his record to 9-4, and 3-0 in Bellator, but he still has not gotten a slot in a Bellator championship tournament.

Now 32 years old, and having fought professionally only since June 2010, J.P. Reese believes it is time for him to make a change.

"To be honest with you, I actually have intentions of probably going to 145 pounds," he said in this interview, which was recorded by phone Monday. "I wrestled 141 in college. I'm getting it everyday at the gym from my training partners and from my coaches, 'Hey, when are you going to drop down to 145?'" While he may not drop to that weight whenever his next fight is, he added, "Down the road I'm really anticipating going to 145 pounds."

Even if he drops to 145, however, he will still have to wait for a slot in a Bellator tournament. The Bellator season eight featherweight tournament is set to start February 7, with the season eight lightweight tournament having started a week earlier. It may not be easy to be patient at age 32 while waiting for a tournament spot, but, especially if he keeps winning his fights, this could be the year it happens for J.P. Reese.

Meanwhile, he trains at American Top Team's facility in Coconut Creek, Florida, and prepares for his next fight, which has not been set yet. He also maintains his ties with wrestling, and is an assistant wrestling coach at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, one of the top schools for wrestling in that state.

In our interview, we also discussed when he trained with other former Missouri wrestlers who are now MMA fighters, including Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, and former Strikeforce and now UFC fighter Tyron Woodley. In addition, we discussed how he made the transition from wrestling to MMA, his most recent fights, the state of wrestling in Florida, and much more.

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