Our interview with UFC lightweight contender Myles “Fury” Jury as he prepares for his highly anticipated bout against #4 ranked Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on January 3, 2015 at UFC 182.
In the past twenty years the evolution of a fighter has changed drastically in mixed martial arts, and in order to stay ahead of the curve, fighters must continuously improve their game through smarter training, meticulous diets and increased mental focus. During the infancy of mixed martial arts a fighter could get by with mastering one discipline, as we saw with Dan Severn’s relentless wrestling, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s vicious striking and Royce Gracie’s methodical and deadly jiu-jitsu. However, as the maturation of the sport continued, the days of mastering one skill passed and the need to be effective across each discipline became paramount to a fighters success inside the cage.
Myles “Fury” Jury (15-0-0), the #8 lightweight contender who was born and raised in Michigan before relocating to San Diego, embodies the makeup of the “new age” fighter possessing physical talent, strong mental focus and an all-encompassing understanding of what it takes to succeed against elite competition . Jury, who now calls San Diego home and trains at two of San Diego’s premier gyms, is widely-recognized as a complete mixed martial artist who possesses elite ground skills, solid striking and is on a trajectory to the top of the lightweight division.
Standing in his way is dangerous striker and fan favorite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (25-6-0, 1NC), who is currently seen as one of the UFC’s rising stars and is ranked #4 in the lightweight division.
On January 3, 2015 at UFC 182 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Myles Jury looks to give Donald Cerrone his toughest test to date in a fight that has the potential to steal the show and clear the way for the true #1 contender in the stacked lightweight division.
As a fighter who avoids firing verbal shots at his opposition and refuses to use self-promotion as the vehicle for increasing his popularity, Jury’s journey through the sport and to the UFC is relatively unknown. While growing up in Michigan, Jury was a product of divorced parents, which caused him to relocate often as a child. In order to get away from the pains of home, Jury found wrestling, eventually jiu-jitsu and then MMA to get him through the difficult times. In the end, it was the adversity outside of the cage that helped mold Jury into the fighter he is today.
“Fighting through bad situations is truly what makes me better. Some of the lessons weren’t fun and I wished things were different . . . but I wouldn’t take it back for anything because I wouldn’t be where I’m today if they didn’t happen,” Jury explains.
While the history of Jury’s childhood is a good story, the truly impressive part of his background lies with his deep understanding of what it takes to become a superior fighter in a sport that can quickly turn into a lifestyle. “I constantly studied every martial art . . . how to blend each discipline to have the best MMA game,” Jury explains. With MMA’s continued growth and the pool of fighters increasing each year, Jury knows that continually evolving is the key to success at the highest level. “Most people find few things they’re good at and they stick to it . . . I don’t believe in that . . . I focus on evolving everyday so fight to fight, I’m never the same,” he adds.
At the young age of 14, Jury began to digest martial arts, beginning with wrestling and eventually transitioning into karate and jiu-jitsu. Unlike many fighters who start with American wrestling, Jury quickly transitioned his wrestling into striking and then ultimately into MMA, rather than pursue a collegiate wrestling career. This decision certainly put Jury ahead of the curve and helped him recognize at an early age that the UFC was the ultimate goal.
“I traveled all over since I was 12 years old. I never really had much and had to get it however I could,” Jury explains. He adds, “I wanted to be the best UFC fighter, so I found myself sleeping on couches and cleaning gyms so I could bypass the gym fee’s that I couldn’t afford.” It was at the gym where Jury met the man who would help him pave the path to MMA stardom.
“Don Richard is the person that gave me my start. I was training in Karate and I met him around the gym. He took me under his wing and started me into wrestling, jiu-jitsu, took me around to tournament and got me fighting . . . things just grew from there and he became a very big part of my career and life,” Jury explains.
As their relationship grew, Richard became family in addition to coach. This is not unusual in the sport and Jury welcomed the relationship. “He’s not just a coach . . . he’s family and that is normal in martial arts because you need that bond to trust, understand and grow together,” he explains.
Unfortunately, Jury also recognized that if he was going to achieve his goal of becoming a UFC fighter he needed to relocate to a city that embraced MMA and had a deeper pool of training partners. “I needed to move to San Diego to get the best training partners in the world under one roof,” Jury explains. He adds, “unfortunately Don [Richard] wasn’t able to go with me due to having a family and business in Michigan . . . Don and I are in touch for life and will always look up to him.”
With a wealth of knowledge and undeniable potential, Jury made the trek west to San Diego, a town with a healthy reputation among the MMA community, elite coaches and a large contingent of fighters who were all seeking the same endgame: to be the best in their sport. As expected, Jury sought out two of the top gyms in the area and began his transition to a promising future.
“I’m mainly based out of Alliance MMA under Eric Del Fierro and I have my striking coach Tony Palafox at Victory MMA. I truly have the best training partners, coaches and overall training system in the world,” Jury explains. As expected, Jury quickly learned that the better competition would be difficult at first, but the endgame never changed. In order to be the best, Jury would have to compete and beat the best. “Not every day is fun, and it can be taxing, but that’s because we have high expectations,” he explains. Jury continues, “I’ll have my good and bad days, but fighting through the adversity is what truly molds me. I’m in a very good place and excited to keep things pushing forward.”
After moving to San Diego and establishing a presence among the younger prospects in the sport Jury finally earned the break he was looking for. Primarily fighting for California-based King of the Cage, Jury amassed a record of 9-0 before taking the next step to the UFC. As the UFC was continuing to grow, the promotion wisely used their homegrown reality television series “The Ultimate Fighter” to develop young prospects, ultimately using a tournament-style format to award one fighter a six-figure contract with the UFC.
Myles Jury received an invitation to participate on The Ultimate Fighter 13, but unfortunately disaster struck on the first episode of the show when Jury tore his ACL. Facing another instance of adversity, Jury dug deep after the unfortunate incident and knew that his dream of being a UFC fighter was not over. “I just focused on the big picture and saw the light at the end of the tunnel . . . I took small steps to be on the path I felt was best to get me where I wanted to go,” Jury explains.
After being sidelined for one year, Jury was fortunate to get another chance at the UFC when it was announced that he would be invited to The Ultimate Fighter 15, which was the first live season of the show. Jury won his first fight, which earned him a spot in the house and then faced current UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta. Jury again faced an unfortunate result as he lost a split decision to Iaquinta in what was voted the fight of the season.
Despite the loss to Iaquinta, Dana White featured Jury on the live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 15 on June 1, 2012. Jury submitted Chris Saunders in the first round and didn’t look back from there. After earning a dominant victory over Michael Johnson at UFC 155, Jury rattled off four impressive victories inside the Octagon beating Ramsey Nijem, Mike Ricci, Diego Sanchez and Takanori Gomi. The UFC brass took notice and Jury was given the bout against rising star Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 182 in January, 2015.
The matchup between Jury and Cerrone is a true clash of opposites. From fighting styles to personalities, the idea of “opposites attract” could not be truer. Cerrone, who has also looked impressive over the past two years, possesses a unique style of striking with unconventional kicks and close-range punches and elbows. Outside of the cage you may find Cerrone drinking Budweiser and wakeboarding days leading up to his fights.
“I feel Cerrone is the best fighter in the division right now that is active and not injured . . . he is on a roll and I can’t think of anyone better than him right now,” Jury explains. He adds, “Beating him will put me at the top.”
Conversely, Jury is considered one of the best grapplers in the UFC and someone who uses jiu-jitsu to overcome opponents known for their striking, which matches nicely with Cerrone’s strengths. And while it would be an anomaly to see Jury drinking beers on a boat on his off day, you wouldn’t be surprised to find Jury in the gym during his free time developing, testing and improving his Jury Jiu-Jitsu system (www.JuryJJ.com), which strives to create an outlet for creating a better lifestyle and mindset through MMA.
A consummate professional with goals that exceed submissions and knockouts, Jury has developed a system that uses MMA as the backdrop for living a better life both inside and outside of the cage. Jury explains how his system was founded and what drives him to continually improve as a fighter and a person.
“I’ve always wanted to use my experiences and knowledge to give back to everyone who is interested so they have an outlet to achieve greatness . . . or an outlet to create a better lifestyle and mindset,” he explains. “Once I personally put everything on paper I just fell right into it and that was the birth of Jury Jiu-Jitsu. It’s not just about MMA, it’s about creating a mindset like mine that came not only from my training and mentors, but others that have changed my life for the better.”
Life has often times been compared to fighting. This is something Jury experienced at a young age, overcame and continues to deal with as he makes his way to the top of the sport. For Jury, it is how you deal with adversity that molds who you are as a fighter and a person, and the Jury Jiu-Jitsu system was founded on those principles.
On January 3, 2015, at UFC 182, Myles Jury will have his chance to show the MMA world who he is as a fighter. Facing a tough opponent in Donald Cerrone will be nothing new, instead Jury will rely on years of learning, growing and improving to carry him to victory.
As the old saying goes, “I am not only the President, I am also a Client” and Jury plans to use his own Jury Jiu-Jitsu system to carry him through the task ahead. While his fists may do the talking inside the cage, his mind will surely be the key to his success on January 3 and beyond.
“I use my heart, positive mindset, will power, education, self-motivation and surrounding myself with the best people at all times . . . so it’s just a matter of time to end up on top.”
Thanks to Myles Jury for participating in this interview and representing San Diego’s fight scene. You can learn more about Myle’s at http://www.TheTeamFury.com, his Jury Jiu Jitsu system at http://www.JuryJJ.com and follow him on social media at http://www.facebook.com/TheTeamFury, @FuryJury on Twitter and on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/FuryJury. Also, thanks to EVO Agents and Ryan Haas for providing access to Myles.