If you had any doubts that MMA has spread around every corner of the planet, the time has come for you to leave those doubts behind and ride with us to Canary Islands, Spain, to meet undefeated welterweight Juan Manuel ‘Juanma’ Suarez.
Juanma will be exposing his perfect record when he faces one of the most dangerous opponents he has faced so far in his career—Arsen Temirkhanov (8-1), who is also a very impressive ground technician from Ekaterinburg, Russia.
The 32 year old Canary Islands natural, is relatively unknown to the North American fan base but with M-1 Global’s incursion on the American market and transmissions of the US-based events on Showtime, it’s only a matter of time for Suarez to become a fan favorite for all the Spanish speaking fans and the world.
The MMA Truth had the chance to chat with Juanma and this is what he had to tell us:
The MMA Truth’s Angel R. Cordero: Hey Juanma, welcome to The MMA Truth in Puerto Rico.
Juanma Suarez: Thank you for having me. I trained with Ricco Rodriguez for sometime, he is born there.
Of course, a very good friend and one of my favorite fighters of all times.
Yeah, he’s a phenom.
How are you?
Training hard and without problems, feeling very good.
Where are you right now?
I’m at home, Canary Islands.
Are you training there full time?
Yes, I own a gym and I teach and train there.
Have you trained on this side of the globe?
I spent twenty days in Mexico filming a reality show, that’s where I met Ricco..
Wow, really. That must’ve been a crazy experience.
How would you describe the MMA scene in Spain right now?
Well, Spain is in a very ammateur or neo-professional level right now, not very good for professional fighters because there’s not a lot of money for the events.
How big or not do you feel is the support from the Spaniard MMA fan?
In my Island, which is very small, there’s a lot more movement with gyms and events than in the rest of Spain. It’s not like in other countries. Here they don’t let go of soccer, bull fighting, and boxing.
Do you think MMA is giving Boxing a run for it’s money there?
No, there’s little comparrison.
M-1 Global has invaded the US with live events, do you think a victory in this next fight will bring you accross the pond to fight here en American soil soon?
Well, this fight was supposed to be in Virginia, USA, but there were last minute changes. I think the next one will be there.
You are undefeated, only two fights have gone the distance, and your wins are basically even between knockouts and submissions. Do you consider yourself more a striker or a submission specialist?
I’m doing good in all the areas. I got some kick-boxing combats and I compete in wrestling, but I am a Jiu Jitsu black belt. That’s my playground.
So you see yourself as being more dangerous on the ground.
Who awarded you with your black belt? Who did you train and learn with?
My teacher is a student under Ricardo de la Riva, a very popular Brazilian and BJJ black belt.
You are 32 now, at what age did you started to get interested in MMA and at what age was your debut as a professional fighter?
I started a little late. At 24 I did a couple amateur fights and at 26 I debuted as pro.
What took you to get invested in the sport and start training and fighting?
Well I did some Boxing but I was a soccer player and I didn’t have time. A friend of mine started training Jiu Jitsu and we used to wrestled on the beach so I started to get more and more interested.
How did the opportunity to fight come about?
My trainer, he is very popular here and his BJJ academy is the best in all of Spain.
Who is your trainer?
Juaki Sosa. Jiu Jitsu black belt under de la Riva and the first Spaniard to become a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. Now I train a bit on my own and have trainers for each discipline.
How did it happen? He spotted you or did you make the approach?
I opened a gym in my neighborhood and he used to come in and teach. In time when I learned I started teaching with my business partner.
At what point in time you understood MMA was something you wanted to do full time?
I’ve always been a natural-born competitor. I’ve always done good in sports and I can’t go on without the adrenaline of competition. When I saw there were good opportunities rising for good fights, I kicked it in gear and went at it stronger.
Just a couple more questions before we talk about your next fight. As a MMA fan, who are your favorite fighters of all times?
There are many, a lot. But I will always stick with Fedor [Emelianenko] and Antonio ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira.
Those are favorites for a lot of people, legends of this sport.
Yeah, the are not the best right now but they definitely marked an era.
What do you think of the present state of Fedor’s career?
Well, in the US there’s a higher level of MMA than in Europe and Japan. He is not that big for a heavyweight. If he drops a weight class he will go back to being the best.
So you think if he drops to light heavyweight he would seed himself again as the best fighter in his division?
Yes, that’s exactly right..
Now, let’s talk about your upcoming fight. How has training and preparation been for this fight and how do you feel?
I feel very comfortable, shedding a few pounds here and there but in very good shape.
How long has training camp for this fight been?
I’d say around two months, including some pauses for injuries.
¿Qué me puedes decir acerca de tu oponente para esta pelea?
What can you tell me about your opponent Arsen Temirkhanov?
He is a very tough opponent with a lot of experience, very good wrestling like most Russians. I hope I can catch him with good shots while standing then take him down and submitting him.
How do you think you pose a bigger threat to him?
Definitely on the ground, especially if he lands in my guard.
And where do you thin he poses a bigger threat to you?
If he defends well on the ground and avoids my submission attempts, I think I will have my work cut out for me.
Your prediction for this fight?
I win, by submission!
Talk to me a bit about the main event, Zavurov vs Magomedov. How do you see that fight and what’s your prediction?
Actually, I only know the champ, don’t really know the other fighter all that much so I can’t comment.
Awesome. Well Juanma, I deeply appreciate you taking the time to talk to The MMA Truth for a bit. Spain and Puerto Rico coming together again, this time through the amazing sport of MMA.
Thank you too.
Anything you want to say to the fans from The MMA Truth, El Octagono, and all the M-1 Global fans who will be watching on the 28th?
Well, to all the fans, I hope to give you guys a very good fight so you can have a very good time and to finish... JIU JITSU 100%!
We at The MMA Truth and all of our sponsors and media partners would like to wish Juanma the best of the best in life and of course in his next fight.
Thank you for reading.
Para ver esta entrevista en Español visita la versión de El Octágono.com
Originally posted at The MMA Truth.
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