Combat Vision MMA were lucky enough to do a quick fire Q&A interview with BJJ Cork fighter John Mitchell as he prepares for his lightweight title fight with defending champion Jay Ar “chicano” Campos at Akuma Fighting Championship on Sunday 23rd of April 2017. John will also be defending his Cage Legacy welterweight title against Mark Gallivan at Cage Legacy 3 – July 15th in Cork. John is currently ranked 18th in the welterweight division and 22nd at lightweight.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to Combat Vision MMA, John. Could you tell our readers about the type of fighter you are?
“I’m a pressure fighter and I like to hold the centre of the cage. I’m very confident in my boxing and I look to counter and gradually break people down. By preference, I would rather keep it standing in fights. But, from being in BJJ Cork, I have put a lot of work into my wrestling and I’m looking forward to showing this off a bit more in the future”
You fight out of Cork BJJ. Could you tell our readers about the coaches and any fighters you train with?
“I have a really good set up down here. One of the unique things about fighting out of cork is that there isn’t a huge volume of people, as opposed to bigger gyms, so you really get the best of the resources around you. There are 4 black belts on the mat in BJJ Cork so the standard is very high. I train out of Martin Horgans Siam Warriors too so you’re always sparring with Irish Champions, World Champions etc. I also have a boxing coach and a really dedicated bunch of lads around me who are fighting amateur MMA too at a high level such as Jack Maguire and Jack Monaghan. Arann Maguire is my head coach and he helps me bring everything together and he dedicates all of his time into our compact MMA team”
You have fought at many events at different weight classes (lightweight/welterweight), has it been a struggle to find a suitable weight class or has it purely been that you will fight anyone at any weight class?
“I actually find it quite easy to make lightweight. If I start the cut early, this will be my professional weight . I walk around at welterweight. But, I just take the fights as they come. At this stage in my career, it’s all about experience, so it doesn’t matter as much what weight category I am fighting in. I have fought at 81kg in boxing on many occasions and it only makes fighting at Lightweight easier for me”
You will be defending your Cage Legacy welterweight title at Cage Legacy 3 in Cork against a tough opponent in Mark Gallivan. How will you mentally deal with the pressure of your first defence and fighting in your hometown?
“Mentally it’s a huge boost. I do this because I love it and the fact that the venue will be packed full of my friends screaming the building down only makes it even better. That fight can’t come quick enough for me”
You are fighting Jay ar Campos for the Akuma Fighting Championship lightweight belt on Sunday April 23rd. Jay ar is coming into this fight on the back of two important victories against Matthew Mullen/Chris Gaile. What limitations do you see in Jay’s highlight reel style of fighting that you will be looking to exploit?
“I think Jay’s a really good opponent. Probably, one of the best at this weight in the country. But, I also think this fight really suits me. I am a lot more experienced than my MMA record shows and this allows me to be quite calm in my fights. This will be a big advantage to me here. Hopefully, we get to meet in the middle of the cage and let the shots go. But, if he tries to grapple, I am well prepared for that too”
How confident are you that you will be (5-0) and a two weight champion on April 23rd and how much of a push will this give you to turn professional?
“Very confident! I have put in the work and my performance will speak for itself on the night. I am in no rush to turn professional. Although, I have been fighting a while, I have actually only been competing in MMA since last September. I am going to continue to stay really active and make sure I am one of the most experienced amateurs around, for when it’s time to take that next step.
Jay and Mark are not only important fights to your career. But, they will also shape your amateur career in the process as they are both title fights. Explain to our readers what the training camp for both fights will entail and if there are any individual goals you have set for yourself coming out of camp?
“My training camp is whatever Liam Beechinor and Arann Maguire decide. I have full faith in them so whatever plan they have, I follow that. If you look at my last four fights, I am developing all the time. I don’t have set individual goals, I just try and get better at all facets of MMA.
Lastly, what does 2017 have in store for John Mitchell?
“I will be staying as active as I can. Be it in MMA, Muay thai or Jiu jitsu. I’m going to try and make sure I’m always competing in these championship fights, so that I’m constantly getting better and more experienced. There are big things coming from us down in BJJ Cork”