MMA Interviews

Shawn Jordan Enjoying Exciting Time in UFC’s Heavyweight Division

Shawn Jordan (Josh Hedges/UFC)

Former LSU football player ready to make impact in UFC

The road to the UFC came with a few twists and turns for Shawn Jordan.

The former fullback at Louisiana State University only has been a professional mixed martial artist for three years, but over that span of time Jordan has competed for several of MMA’s biggest promotions. Now that he has fought his way onto the sport’s biggest stage, Jordan is prepared to make an impact.

Following a successful promotional debut against Oli Thompson at UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann earlier this month, he is ready to settle into the UFC’s heavyweight division and get to work.

“It has been a journey getting to the UFC,” Jordan told Heavy MMA. “Looking back on some of the other things I’ve done before, it is kind of surreal. The way I compete now compared to the way things used to be is like night and day. It has been kind of a bumpy road, but it’s been educational and I’ve had a lot of fun.

“A lot of the Strikeforce fighters who have come into the UFC are doing well. People said Strikeforce’s heavyweight division was kind of shallow, but there are a lot of good fighters and competitors there. With the UFC moving us over, it is nice to be recognized amongst this group of talented fighters.”

Wrestling has been the most common avenue college athletes travel as they make their way into MMA careers. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of former college football players turning to mixed martial arts. Jordan believes there are similarities between the two that have made it easier to step from one sport to the other.

“The transition from football to MMA wasn’t as hard as people think it would be,” Jordan said. “I’m used to training four to five hours a day playing football. But crossing over into mixed martial arts takes discipline and being humble. You have to be willing to allow yourself to learn. Being a heavyweight, there are a lot of guys who are smaller and you can push them around in the gym – but you can’t learn that way. You have to take a step back, realize you don’t know everything and learn from everyone around you.

“I think there is a misconception on the type of cardio MMA fighters have to do. We do a lot more cardio for weight management, but as far as fight preparation there is only one way to get in shape for what you are going to do and that’s to do it. We fight every day. That’s how you get in shape for your competition. You train yourself into shape. Athletes can run marathons to train and still get in the cage and gas because they are not used to using those muscles explosively. Fighting really is a fast-twitch sport in my opinion, or at least my style is. In that regard, it is very similar to football.”

Jordan was one of the first Strikeforce transitions to see action inside the Octagon when he faced Thomspon in Australia. The first round was a back-and-forth affair, but Jordan found his groove in the second and put Thompson away with a TKO victory.

“It was great being able to compete in the UFC in front of those fans in Australia against a guy who is another transition athlete,” Jordan said. “I had fun and enjoyed it. They were great fans. Australia was awesome and it was a great experience for me. They embrace the fighters and everything about the sport. You could see they are very passionate about MMA. They cheered for everyone on the card. There were local fighters who didn’t do well that night, but the fans still gave it up for them and respected the fact they were competing. I enjoyed it very much and hopefully I’ll get to fight again in Australia somewhere down the line.

“Oli is a tough guy, and it was a good debut for me in the UFC. I think I did a good job of sticking to the game plan coach and I came up with, but there are always areas I can improve on. You should learn something from every fight. I’m glad I won, but I have to improve from fight to fight – otherwise I’m not going to win.”

For a young heavyweight entering the UFC, Jordan couldn’t have asked for a better time. The organization is in the process of putting the division back into the spotlight and with the announcement of an all heavyweight main card at UFC 146. With the action in his division heating up, Jordan is pumped to get back to training in hopes of returning to the cage in quick fashion.

“It’s really an exciting time to be a heavyweight in the UFC,” Jordan said. “They are pushing us and they are trying to show that they have the best big guys in the world. UFC 146 being an all heavyweight main card is a pretty awesome thing to see. Normally cards are stacked up with the lighter weight classes and it’s an exciting thing, especially for me being a heavyweight. It’s definitely something I’ll be watching.

“I think the heavyweight division is stacked now. The thing about being a heavyweight is the best fighters in the weight class can fall at any time because every competitor is big and powerful. Guys hit really hard in this division. You can be the best fighter in the world and get caught by a big boy and lose the fight. Big boys hit hard, and sometimes it only takes one punch. It doesn’t matter how big or small of a heavyweight you are, guys in this division are powerful. That’s the nature of being a heavyweight.

“I haven’t got any word on my next fight but hopefully it will be soon. I’m getting ready to get back to training and I’ll be ready for whenever the UFC calls me. I didn’t get too beat up in my fight with Thompson and I’m looking to get back in there as soon as possible.”

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