Exclusive | Jeffrey Earnhardt Discusses Victorious MMA Debut | MMA NEWS
Just Scrap Radio Episode 7 started the show off with a member of NASCAR’s royal family, Jeffrey Earnhardt. Jeffrey recently made his MMA debut on May 12 winning by unanimous decision. He wrestled 2 years in high school then racing took over leaving him no time for wrestling.
Jens Pulver: The pedigree that you come from – you probably had a steering wheel in your hand from day one. What got you into the MMA side of things? Was that something you wanted to do for a long time? Something you wanted to do part time? What got you in to the MMA side of things?
“I became a fan of UFC – always watched it. Me and my buddies always get together and hang out every time they were on. It was just a cool sport – a lot of discipline, a lot a lot of hard work that these guys put in to it to be a fighter.
I went and started to do a little bit of jiu jitsu training and doing a little bit here and there to try and stay in shape – trying to find different avenues to stay fit for racing whenever I’m not racing finding something to keep me physically fit to get me back in the car next time. I started training a little bit and just kind of really liked it. Everybody just thought I was picking up real fast at it and I was doing well – asked me If I’d be interested in doing an amateur fight. I was cautious at first – it’s not my sport, I’m the new guy coming in.
I didn’t want anything to be taken the wrong way for doing it but then again I probably may wanted to prove where racecar drivers are at. A lot of people like to argue and say race car drivers don’t do nothing but sit in a racecar and turn left – it’s a lot tougher than that. I figured doing this would gain a lot more respect for racecar drivers and also I can have a little fun doing it.”
Jens Pulver: What was your family’s reaction like?
“They were supportive. They weren’t too sure about it but they were supportive.
My stepmom – she wouldn’t come to the fight. She said she couldn’t watch it. She won’t go watch it on the internet, on pay per view. She won’t have no part in it. She still hasn’t went back and watched the fight even after I had the fight and won.
My dad, he actually came out. It was really great to have him there. He was a little unsure on the start too. He really didn’t know. I never really was the tough guy through school or growing up – never got in a fight, never did any of that stuff.
They weren’t sure how the outcome was going to go. They were going to support me in anything I would try to do but they really weren’t sure. I think after winning the fight – that was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever seen my dad. He was real proud after the fight. It was really cool.”
Jens Pulver: Takes through your debut. What was it like? How did it feel one guy walking out in a cage with just one other guy?
“It was funny everybody kept telling me ‘you’re going to get butterflies, you’re going to be nervous’ The whole time in the locker room getting my hands wrapped – just chillin’, hanging out with the guys, trying to relax and have a good time – never really got nervous.
Then, I started thinking – man, if I’m not nervous now it’s probably going to happen once I step in the ring. I walked out, got in the ring then it was kind of like tunnel vision.
I just kind of liked drowned everything out and just walked in with the attitude ‘Alright, this is what I got to do – either you go in there and win or go in there and get beat up’. I didn’t really want to get beat up. I don’t think anyone does once they step in the ring.
It was just kind of funny how I never really got nervous and I was able to keep calm in the situation with it being my first fight, coming to a sport where I wasn’t extremely familiar with, I’ve had a few months to train but not several years of training like all these other people, plus you got a whole crowd there – a lot of people that are against ya in this whole thing. They didn’t want to see me be successful in this whole fight. I was set out to prove them I was going to win – prove a point and that’s what I went out and did.”
Jens Pulver: Could you hear clearly (the corner men) or was it something you had to work your way into?
“I felt like I was able to get into the comfort zone really quick. I went in there to fight a Muay Thai guy. I knew he was a lot better than me standing up. I haven’t really worked with my hands a lot and he had pretty good kicks.
My goal is to use my wrestling background take him to the ground and work from there. That’s where I was training the hardest – my jiu jitsu, just working my ground and pound and stuff like that. Once I took him down the first time and I realized that his takedowns weren’t going to be that hard to attack and be successful. I was able to get into that comfort zone and start working towards the corner where my corner was and being able to listen to my coaches. Before the fight they told me to ‘go out there, circle and bring him to us’ – that’s what I went out there and did….
It really did relate a lot to racing. We got people talking through the radio the whole entire race telling us– what everybody else is doing, what lanes are faster or anything like that. It was very similar – you’re able to listen and take their advice and use it to better yourself, better your position or your points in the fights. It was really neat it all worked out very good.”
Earnhardt’s scheduled is filled for the next couple months with the NASCAR Daytona coming up on July 6, appearances to promote his sponsors Tobacco Free Florida and another race in Fl. Earnhardt told the Pulver Bros he is definitely interested and looking to get back in the cage –he’s just not sure when.
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