Jason Witt is a mixed martial artist who competes in the Welterweight division of the UFC. The 22-fight veteran has 17 wins under his belt and has competed in Bellator, LFA and Titan FC on his way to a UFC contract.
Jason Witt: Off with uh man how’s the uh how’s the pandemic, been on you and everybody uh in your family. I mean the whole the whole world’s going crazy right now, yeah uh man, i’m i’m i’ve been super fortunate to pandemic uh. I i think uh. So i have. I try to have like a positive mindset, side mindset to uh through everything um. So for me, when the the whole pandemic started, um, i’m a personal trainer, so i lost my job technically uh unnecessary. What i did was i bought the gym that i was working at uh redesigned it refinished it i’m sitting there right now did all that. So i bought the gym redid it now, i’m a gym owner, so the pandemics actually worked out better for me. So now i have you know i have my job gyms open running the gym. I got a ufc fight on two days notice, so i mean that works all well too. My wife and i just bought a new house, so actually pandemics actually worked out pretty well. For me really can’t be upset about it. I want to talk about. I want to talk about that fight specifically, i mean i know it didn’t go your way, but you came in on. Like you said two days notice, i mean what was the the mentality like throughout the pandemic? Was it like stay ready in case there’s a call, or how do you even come about knowing that there’s an opportunity there for you uh yeah? So you know i always stay ready, i’m always training. I don’t ever quit. Training, i’m in the gym every single day, the the intent behind training isn’t always fight camp, but you know uh we’re training. Every day i was still ready. I knew i was. I knew i was on the cusp of getting a call in you know: 24 hours 48 hours, whatever whatever the time was, the mindset was just be ready whenever that phone call comes. That was that was my mentality. Um i was gon na do whatever i could to get in the ufc whether it was a short notice fight, whether it was contender series, weather or anything like that. I was prepared for that. The phone call came about just that thursday. My manager called me said: hey: can you drop everything, get on a plane and be here be in vegas? You know the plane leaves at 3 3 pm. Can you do that mind you it’s 12 45 and i’m at work. Canceled all my clients ran home grabbed. A suitcase and booked into the airport, just you know, on excitement and panic. At the same time, there’s a uh. I mean you see both sides justin james, had it. He came in a few days. Notice ended up winning ray rodriguez a couple weeks ago. Same thing, he like he like accepted the fight the day of like it, was crazy um. So you you see it both ways. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win. Was there any hesitation to be like you know what at this point in my career, i got to make sure i do this right. You know, i know on the ufc’s opportunity is right there. I may never get it again, but it is two days notice. Was there any hesitation, i mean there’s also the pandemic and all this other stuff going on? Was there ever a doubt in your mind where you were like? Maybe it’s not uh? Maybe it’s not the time, absolutely, not! No that never and uh with all the [ __ ] started to give me i was still like this is this is what i’ve been working for, regardless of the situation, regardless of what’s stacked in front of me, i’m gon na i’m gon na take this opportunity And just run with it um that being said, man now you’ve got an actual fight camp. You know you got some time to train your opponent’s been announced cole williams. How do you feel about that fight? I think it’s a great fight for me. Um yeah. I think we’re both oh and one in the ufc, but i i think if you look at, if you look at it on paper, i’m way more athletic than he is. I think i have a lot more tools than he does um. You know he’s he’s a good wrestler good rear hand, but you know we’re preparing for that. I um, i think my athleticism will will outshine him. I think my power will beat him too. So i’m excited about the fight uh. I also also fought one of his teammates, so i know it has to be playing it playing a factor in the whole thing uh. I fought mark lemington a couple years ago, so so i feel really good going about the fight. Do you focus mainly on your opponent, or do you do you focus mainly on you, like i’ve heard both sides, some guys like dissect, and they they study their opponent day in day in and day out day out, like did you do that or do you focus On on your own game plan and and whatever he does, he does um yeah. So this is actually the first time i’ve ever had a camp like actually had a fight. That’S that’s uh! That’S 10 weeks out like i’ve. Never never! It’S always like hey! You got three weeks, can you can you fight sure, not a problem? Can you fight in 48 hours sure not a problem um, so i’ve never actually had the time to like sit down and dissect a person like. I think i fought on three four weeks um. My the last fight before the ufc was about four weeks, so i had time to like know who the person is look at it um, i’m the type of person that i focus on me. I ca. I can’t control what he’s doing. I know i can train harder. I know i can work hard. I know i can put in more effort than he can and that’s all i can control um, so he can do whatever he wants to. I have my coaches to kind of game plan for me and set up specific stuff that will work for me in the fight. But for me i focus on me so your last fight uh takashi sato. I don’t want to go into it a whole lot. We didn’t see a whole lot of you um. It was short notice, there’s a lot of reasons that that it didn’t play out the way it should have um. That being said, what’s the biggest lesson you took from that fight that you’re going to apply to the uh, the cole williams fight uh, i mean there’s not a lot of lessons you can’t take from a 40 second fight um, but it just it the the lesson I learned is: is the intent that i’m putting in the gym is is different right when you know i was training for that fight? I was in the gym. I was working, but it wasn’t with intent to go out and fight. It wasn’t for the tent to go out and win. I wasn’t competing. I was just in the gym getting better learning all that stuff for this fight. It’S literally i’m competing every day, i’m i’m finding the best training part as i can that mock him. I’M doing everything i can to uh better myself for this fight, instead of just you know being in the gym, you hear it with guys like donald cerrone, where, before they even go in the fight, they know that they’re not ready um, like you know, it’s like Mentally they weren’t there, even though physically that he feels great. Do you feel like that had something to do with it as well, like i only had two days really to even mentally focus that i was going to get into a fight. Where he’s going to try to kill me, do you think, do you think the game’s just as much mental as it is physical, oh 100? I agree with that um that wasn’t that wasn’t the case for me. I don’t believe i’ve had that i’ve had uh in past years. I’Ve had mental problems of knowing that hey, like i wasn’t mentally ready for this fight and i’ve i’ve lost fights that i should have won. That was a problem before the ufc, but i didn’t feel that way for this fight. I knew i knew i belonged to ufc. I knew this is where i wanted to be, and i knew i prepared for it. It just wasn’t my night and he just came out to victor and that’s just how it played out it’s funny. You said i knew i belonged in the ufc. I listened to an interview. I think it was with cage sided or something like that of yours. A little over a year ago – and you said uh i’m going to be in the ufc by the end of 2020. and uh, you know the pandemic hit and you know you probably at one point felt like man. This isn’t going to happen. I said 2020. There’S no way it’s going to happen, and i mean you were 33 years old coming into 2020. Did you feel like at any point that maybe it wasn’t going to happen uh not a little bit but not really like? I said i i believe in thoughts become things positive mindset towards everything but uh as soon as the pandemic, kraus uh james cross. My coach and joe wooster, both texas, said hey, whatever you’re doing get your [ __ ] ready, because because everything’s everything’s going crazy, we don’t know what’s going to happen, we’re just going to drop out. We know what’s going to happen there, so they literally text me that day and said: hey just be prepared for anything and that’s that’s kind of what i did you’re working with you mentioned james krause he’s one of the uh. In my opinion, the best coaches in mma right now describe how much it’s meant uh to you and and your yeah. I guess your game plan and the way you fight to have someone like him in your corner. Man, you you, don’t have coaches like him right. You have the old school coaches who put you. I’Ve been other schools, i’ve been at different places, um and you don’t have the same detail. You don’t have the same organization that james krauss posts in the game. Uh he’s he really sits down. He’S a student of the game: he really he really tries to understand the game and and better himself and better his his students. He doesn’t care about fighting, he doesn’t care, i mean he loves fighting, but he doesn’t he’d rather be a better coach than a than the ufc champion. That makes any sense at all um, it’s been fantastic, the dudes, the dude’s, so smart, it’s fun to watch him. I’Ve been with him for about six years now, it’s fun to watch his progression, not only as a fighter but as a coach and then as a leader to lead other fighters and other coaches too uh. It’S fun to watch it’s it’s. I posted on instagram the other day. It says james krause’s post-fight speeches are underrated because after every practice we sit down he’s like hey, i’m not gon na rant and it’s 20 minutes later, but you’re. Focusing because he’s he’s he’s dropping knowledge the whole time, and it’s it’s really impactful. It’S really. They say you are who you surround yourself with and that whole room. We have what 13 14 ufc fighters in one small glory room in lisa like that’s, who you’re surrounding yourself with so i mean to to have him he’s, helped build that so much so he’s he’s he’s. You said it best he’s the best coach out there. You, don’t you don’t see people um like when you listen to corners in ufc fights they’re like hey, you’re, doing a great job. You can beat this guy. Do this or james krause is literally coaching you you can hear him in the background. He’S literally coaching. Hey do this do this? Do this he’s looking for this we’re doing like he’s just the best coach uh in the game 100. He had, in my opinion, one of the most badass moments. I’Ve seen stepping up on short notice up, arguably two divisions, i mean the guys fought at lightweight at 185 on one day’s notice. What was your thought when he said when he took that fight? That was a gangster booster. His cross fighting he’s like yep, i’m like jesus christ, he’s a gangster. He is he’s all about that he’s all about that life. He is um, it’s not it’s. He a lot of people can preach about that stuff. Say: hey be ready for whatever it is be ready for do this and he’s gon na lead by example, he’s gon na do that? So it’s hard to it’s hard to expect a man like that going into this fight who’s been your your main training partners. I see uh pictures of you training with guys like julian marquez, but who’s been your uh, your main training part partner for this training camp uh. We had a lot of guys. We got a lot of good up-and-coming pros, good wrestlers, a lot of college. A lot of college wrestlers we got mikey, england, who’s, savage uh, drew or devin weber. He’S he’s a good college. Wrestler too uh grand dawson. I share with julian marquez all the time too, he’s a training partner for my upcoming fight. So i’ve been with him a lot. We got a couple other guys, zach long, just people wouldn’t know about, but just good wrestlers good, good boxers, just kind of a mix of what i’m looking for yeah grant dawson is an absolute stud. I think the guy is going to be uh he’s going to be a future champion someday. Oh, i 100. I 100 agree with that. There’S a you know: throughout the pandemic, there was one main thing that everyone was talking about, that was fight island and i know you’ve fought at the apex did part of you wish like. Maybe i could go and experience this, or are you happy back home in in the united states, yep uh give me vegas every time give me vegas every time i to be home sunday. Do i fight island? Of course i do. It sounds cool. I really go to fight island out of a pandemic right. I don’t want to fall out of vegas. Take a corona test, fly 17 hours. Take a corona test, kick quarantine a hotel room for 48 hours, lose my freaking mind and then fight for a point like that. That doesn’t and then fly 17 hours home that doesn’t sound good to me. I’Ll i’ll fly out tuesday i’ll make my way i’ll beat cole, cole williams and i’ll fly home be home sunday. That sounds way better than fire island yeah abu dhabi sounds cool, uh, the ferrari racetrack. All that stuff it’d be a cool experience, but not during a pandemic. During where i came, you fought um. You have like over 20 fights. The one thing that everyone’s been talking about too, is the empty arena. I mean it’s got ta, feel weird walking out, not hearing anybody, not seeing anybody to your side uh. What was that experience like, and do you think that plays a factor into to your fighting style? Like did you? Are you someone that feeds off the crowd, or do you manage to drown all that out, uh there’s it’s different every time you know. Sometimes i notice it. Sometimes i don’t. Sometimes i feed off. Sometimes i don’t uh the fight before the ufc was a pretty big crowd, probably about 3500 people, and i had friends and families on the catwalk. I could high-five them. It was cool, it was a really good. It was a really good, uh good atmosphere, um with fight island. I didn’t really notice it. I was more like, like i had to focus on the fight i had to be in tune with that. I do remember walking out and looking at the big screen and seeing my face on and i smiled and i remember just being like i mean if win lose or draw, i don’t give a [ __ ] i’m here, and this is pretty cool for me. You know i mean it’s a dream come true, so i kind of relaxed there. I didn’t really realize it wasn’t a crowd, but having no crowd also plays into you know having james cross in your corner. You can hear that dude way better, no matter what so he gives great instruction. So it’s easier to hear um but yeah. I i don’t care either way. I mean you’re gon na get fans regardless because it’s on television, but i don’t think it really plays up, plays too much into it. I want to talk about the last fight there on fight island through the second go around khabib nurmagomedov justin gaichi everybody’s been talking about it. What’S your opinion on the fight and uh? What’S your prediction, if you have one man glad you asked that question, i really am uh. I’Ve been watching a lot of prose pics on on youtube and a lot of people i’m like who would i say, um man, it’s could be you can’t. You can’t bet against can be 28. No, like 20, was it 28? No yeah uh, you can’t bet against a dude. Justin gates is an absolute savage. I think his his footwork’s completely underrated. I think his powers, it’s he has decent power. I mean i still think it goes five rounds. I don’t think anybody’s, i don’t think could be finished then, but i think could be comes out with the victory um. I think gage is going to get up a couple times, but i still think it could be 18 to do what khabib does and hold him down beat him up, but i could be wrong. That’S that’s the beauty of it. I could be wrong gage. You could smoke him in the first round. You never know gaijin has that ability, so geichi has the power, but it also could be you can’t. You can’t bet against could be yeah. I’Ve been back and forth on this fight so many times, because i’m a diehard khabib fan and no one’s ever been able to to find a loot like a hole in his game. I mean we know his stand-up’s, not amazing, but he dropped conor. Like i mean he’s, he’s done all that and his wrestling is is amazing, but we haven’t really seen gaiji’s wrestling, but we know it’s. We know it’s good, it’s d1, so i’ve been back and forth man, but it’s kind of hard to pick against a guy who’s. Undefeated yeah uh, khabib job connor connor was worried about the takedown. I mean you, you shoot a takedown, you have such good grappling. That’S one thing that makes grant dawson so dangerous, like granddaughter striking, is getting way way better than it’s ever been, but you have to worry about his takedown so much that he hits you with strikes and then takes you down you’re just like what what do you Do so standing with khabib, i think he beat conor, because conor was still worried about the takedown that that uh could be constructed with him. Yeah yeah i’ve been back and forth man. It’S it’s such a hard fight to pick and as a die-hard khabib fan man. I do not want to see him lose, but if anyone’s going to do it, i think it’s kg. That’S the first thing i don’t think tony had i don’t think ferguson had had a chance. I think gaitry’s, probably the the best chance at beating khabib yeah. I agree: 100 percent. I built this uh platform by making predict or making matchups after every fight. So after, like the izzy fight, i’d make a match up with someone else and kind of got some followers. Because of that – and i started this, that being said, is there a dream matchup for you, someone that you know before it’s all said and done you’d be able you’d want to say. You know what i tested my skills against this guy, whether it’s someone you like or dislike, or just someone you’ve admired throughout your entire career. Oh man, uh, not somebody admired not saying i. I even give a [ __ ] about uh, i’m like mike ferry. I don’t know why i just want to fight my perry uh. I think he’s a crazy dude, but i think it’d be a it’s. Definitely fine potential right there like there’s, there’s no doubt somebody’s going to sleep, but i think it’d be, i think, it’d be a fun, exciting fight, that’s just kind of where i’ve been in the past. You know past year of trying to get the ufc. Who would i want to fight and mike perry is one of those guys yeah everybody calls up like perry, everybody loves mike perry or hates them, and that’s the thing. Sometimes i guess when fighting mike perry, um one last question and then i’ll, let you go. I’Ve been asking um different ufc fighters who i’ve had on um this question. A lot of them come from different backgrounds. You know wonder boy has karate some guys have wrestler wrestling backgrounds. That being said who’s. Who do you think’s? The greatest of all time unbiased opinion based on whether it’s wrestling or karate. What who do you think is the greatest mixed, martial artist of all time, george stephen barna, george sandbeer uh. I you know, like john jones, probably one of the best fighters because he’s you know he’s jon jones, but i think mixing it up. I think mixed martial arts you break down, who makes martial artists is george, st pierre barnum, my favorite fighter so like it is a biased opinion, but at the same time it’s not as a canadian. I love that answer. I don’t think there’s a better answer, so i love it nailed it uh that one last uh in before we go people who haven’t seen your your your fights. What can they expect from you um on october 31st, yeah man thanks for asking that uh, i’m i’m an explosive fighter i covered essentially well. I have an overhand right from hell that if it touches people they go to sleep uh. I do a really good job. So, like i said, george saint pierre is is my pick but he’s also the guy i kind of idolized my career around. So i tried to do a good job of blending wrestling and striking and all that stuff together. So that’s that’s kind of what i do. I’M a good wrestler, i didn’t wrestle in college, but i’m a good wrestler mixed in with really good, striking and a lot of power all right man. Thank you very much. For the time i’ve been a fan of yours for a while i’m glad you’re in the ufc, and i can’t wait to see you fight on october 31st. I appreciate it so much thanks for having me on man all the best stay safe, don’t catch anything i’ll. Do my best