On the UFC’s Radar, Jordan Mein Focused on Marius Zaromskis

Marius Zaromskis

Promising welterweight poised to break into the big leagues

The number of Canadians populating the UFC welterweight division might be increasing in the very near future.

Already home to champion Georges St. Pierre, emerging youngster Rory MacDonald, and Ontario-based veterans Sean Pierson and Claude Patrick, the quartet could add Lethbridge, Alberta’s Jordan “Young Guns” Mein to the mix shortly.

Just 21-years-old, Mein will step into the cage Friday night in Mississauga, Ontario as one half of the main event on the inaugural card for The Score Fighting Series. The Canadian cable sports provider has showcased other organizations in the past, but this marks their first foray into promoting an event themselves.

Across the cage will be DREAM welterweight champion and former Strikeforce title contender Marius Zaromskis, the next in a growing list of talented opponents with established names to stand opposite the young Canuck. Coming into the fight on a four fight winning streak that includes victories over Josh Burkman and Joe “Diesel” Riggs, Mein is ready for the toughest test of his career and the exciting fight he and Zaromskis could pair to deliver.

“I’m very, very excited because I know how entertaining he is. I know how much he cares about, just by watching I’m a fan of his because I know he likes entertaining the crowd, and I pride myself on that as well, so I know we’re going to put on a good show for the crowd. It’s going to be a really, really fun night.

“I think it becomes the biggest win of my career, but that’s of now. Who knows where my career is going to go, but as of now, that would be by far the biggest win and I really hope the fight turns out to be what it could be.”

Mein has kept a torrid pace over his five year career.

Saturday night’s encounter will be his 29th fight, the fifth already in 2011 and his tenth in the last two years. His frequent trips to the cage are equal parts desire and necessity, something the young fighter understands and articulates with a wisdom beyond his years.

“After fights, I can definitely feel it, having back-to-back fights, but as long as I’m healthy, I’m going to keep fighting as much as I can. The more fights I can get, the more money I’m making, the more my career builds, and the better I get, so I’m going to keep taking as many fights as I can.

“I’ve got to fight every other month just to pay my bills and whatnot right now, so I’m just trying to do the best I can with that. I’m trying to get sponsors and all that kind of stuff, so the more fights I can get, the better. You also have to be smart about it too, though; you can’t be fighting if you’re not ready or you’re injured or you’re not getting a full training camp in.”

Some of that wisdom is passed along through his father Lee, who, in addition to serving as his son’s manager and head trainer, is a professional fighter himself. The elder Mein has faced UFC veterans Krzysztof Soszynski, Dan Severn and Jeff Monson in the past, and registered a win just two weeks ago. Having his father to help guide him through the sometimes sketchy regional circuit is something the younger Mein appreciates, but he also says that getting input from other sources is essential for his development as a fighter as well.

“You can see the good and the bad of different shows that you want to be fighting on because he’s been there. He knows where to go and where not to go, but when he was starting and when he was fighting mixed martial arts, he wasn’t at the top of the game or he wasn’t making it a career money-wise; he was running a gym and managing and doing lots of different things.

“I’m just focusing strictly on my mixed martial arts fights and making money that way, but he’s had how many fights and how much experience with everything? He’s telling me the good and the bad of everything, so I’m going to try and follow as much as I can, but also try and branch off. I know that there are other influences and coaches around. Just because he’s my father doesn’t mean I can’t go train somewhere else or listen to someone else. As long as I have a coach and I’m being told what to do every day when I come into training, that’s what I want.”

That being said, the 21-year-old expects to keep Lethbridge as his base of operations for the foreseeable future, even if there are trips to various locations mixed in there.

“I go and train other places, and we bring people in and train and have different coaches everywhere. Different influences and different coaches, that’s what I need; it opens my mind and has me thinking differently for jiu jitsu, for stand-up, for everywhere. We try to train all over the place, but as for leaving, I’m going to be staying in Lethbridge my entire career; I’m just going to travel and train other places. Lethbridge is where I’m at.

“I like being home. I love traveling too; going to other places and training, being outside of my comfort zone and growing as a mixed martial artist that way, but as for living and having most of my training camps, it will be in Lethbridge.”

Mein’s current travel itinerary includes a second trip to Ontario in just over two months. He defeated Burkman in the main event of the first event held in the province back in April, and returns to face Zaromskis in the final fight of a card filled with Canadian talents and former UFC competitors.

For the 21-7 welterweight who has been fighting professionally since he was 16-years-old, this bout is the next step in a progression that many people believe leads to the UFC. While he admits that he’s heard the talk and knows that his recent wins over UFC vets has increased his profile, Mein is keeping a very even keel about his future and doesn’t allow himself to look beyond the task at hand.

“I totally believe that I could fight Marius, get a win, and then fight another guy in Lethbridge or Tabor or somewhere small, fight a no name guy, right? So I don’t know where my career is going to go, but I hope it keeps going up. I hope I keep fighting name guys because that’s what I want to do; I want to keep building my record and my experience. Whatever comes up next, I’m ready for. I just want to have fun while I’m doing this.

“Every day I wake up, I’m thinking about getting through training, about a hard training session. I’m not really thinking about my next few fights, I’m just thinking about Marius and every day putting in hard work and staying focused in that area. I’m not thinking of a million different things, which I could be because there are always so many different things going on at once, different routes that my career could go. I’m just thinking about training, keeping it basic and working on my skills every day.”

Thus far, those skills Mein works on daily have delivered a collection of fights that have routinely captivated the audience. Just four of Mein’s 28 fights have gone to the scorecards, two of those being decision losses to Strikeforce fighter Jason High and former Bellator tournament contestant Mike Ricci. Putting on a show and entertaining the crowd is something Mein strives to do with each outing, but as much as he wants to put on a show, he knows there is only one way to guarantee his career keeps moving forward.

“Right now, I have to have wins to get to the next level and to think that I can’t get wins and put it all on the line at the same time, I don’t put those separate. I just think I’m going to win and be entertaining. As long as I know I’m giving everything I have in each fight, than I know that I’ve done my job. As long as I’ve put out all the energy that I can and did my best, than I’m happy with the result.

“I believe in winning; winning is the number one goal, always, but you can determine the way you win, and how much you’re putting out on the line. I totally agree that entertaining fights are the way to go.

“I’d rather lose and entertaining fight than lose one where we’re just laying there. I’ve had grappling matches where I’ve won but I was disappointed because we were just laying there. I’d rather it be submission after submission and all over the place. Sometimes it doesn’t go that way, and you’re trying to get wins, but I want entertaining fights no matter what. But to make your career go forward and get more money, and build you career in every aspect, winning is what has to happen, and that’s my focus.”

If he’s able to make that happen again on Saturday night against the former DREAM Grand Prix winner, Mein might not have to worry about flying across Canada in search of the biggest names and best fights available to him any more. His days of fighting every six weeks to keep his bills paid might be a thing of the past.

Joe Silva and the UFC might come calling with a multi-fight contract and his toughest challenge to date in hand.

If that happens or it doesn’t, one thing is for sure: Mein will be ready to put on a show against whoever stands across the cage from him next, no matter if it’s on the biggest stage in the sport or a small town show in Alberta.

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