“>joined BJPENN.COM’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio Program on Sunday, June 2, 2013 taking time away from his new gig in California working within the realm of mixed martial arts.
A friend of Dominick Cruz, Harbison has begun helping out members of the Alliance camp after first moving out west when Cruz began his coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter. Following his introduction into the world of professional MMA, Harbison was asked to help Ross Pearson on the Australian version of TUF before also preparing both Pearson and Joey Beltran for their UFC fights.
Should all go according to plan, Harbison may make his MMA debut sooner than later, but for now “Jimmy Jah” says he remains firmly focused on helping coach within the Alliance gym as names such as Phil Davis, Yushin Okami and Chris Leben make their presence known.
It is in California, more specifically at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on June 9th, that the Metamoris Pro Jiu-Jitsu Invitational returns for its second event. The headlining bout between Kron Gracie, son of legendary BJJ and MMA practitioner Rickson Gracie, and Shinya Aoki, dubbed the “Master of Flying Submissions”, proved to be the most intriguing to Harbison, who in his own right has made quite a splash in the world of competitive jiu-jitsu.
“The one that mixes it up the most to me, the best vibe I get out of any of the fights is Aoki vs. Kron. Because it’s a Gracie fighting and Aoki is coming in as an MMA fighter, it kind of reminds me of the Sakuraba fights in Pride, Sakuraba vs. the Gracies,” Harbison said, reminiscing of the feud between Kazushi Sakuraba and the first family of BJJ and MMA.
Making note of Kron’s mastery of the basics and Aoki’s always dangerous, unorthodox approach to grappling, Harbison believes that movement (or lack thereof) could potentially be the key to a victory in the main event of Metamoris II.
“What I think needs to happen is, Kron needs to use his fundamental Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu positions to control Aoki. You cannot let him move freely in the transition, because if you let him move freely that’s where Aoki’s strength is; in the scramble, he’s going to open up those attacks. So if Kron can control Aoki and prevent him from moving freely, a submission will probably come up,” said Harbison.
Another intriguing match-up for the BJJ world champion Harbison is that of Andre Galvao vs. Rafael Lovato, Jr., both of whom Harbison has fought in his competitive jiu-jitsu career. Recognizing Galvao’s intent on controlling grips and Lovato’s propensity to perform best when coming form behind, seen recently in his Absolute division win at the Brazilian Nationals, the match-up not only peaked Harbison’s interest, but also picked up his competitive spirit.
“What makes it good for me is, I fought both of these guys. For me, that competitiveness in me makes me want to fight them, so it’s a weird dynamic. It’s hard to explain because you look up to the guys, but then you want to beat them too,” he said, making note of the fact that despite his current focus on MMA, Harbison is always ready to step back onto the mat so long as he’s in shape.
To hear the full-length interview with James Harbison, which includes more on his potential move to MMA and his thoughts on living in Australia and moving to the west coast following his coach Lloyd Irvin’s scandal, visit the Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio channel on demand or listen to the player.mma, MMA NEWS