Myles "The Fury" Jury had the stage set to become a superstar when he was selected to be a participant on season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter earlier this year.
Instead, the undefeated prospect who has never left the first round found himself sidelined before the competition even began with a devastating knee injury which forced him out of the show. UFC President Dana White still held out high hopes for Victory MMA fighter and told him before he left that he'll have a future in the promotion.
Jury is hoping that day comes very soon.
Now, after several months of rehabilitation, his knee is finally fully recovered and he's ready to get back in the cage. The 23 year old is shooting for a January 2012 return and has his sites firmly sent on making it to the big show in the UFC.
The talented young fighter spoke with MMAmania.com about the mental side of recovering from an injury, dropping down to 155 pounds and his UFC dreams in this exclusive interview.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you mentioned a while back that you were originally shooting for a November return. Did you suffer a setback in recovery, have you just been improving slower than expected or was it just that you couldn't find a suitable fight in time? I hear you've shifted your projections to a January return now.
Myles Jury: Yeah, it wasn't like I got reinjured or anything, it was just my physical therapist told me to give it another month or two. He was like, "You're doing really good in recovery, but I want you to hold out another month or two before fighting," so I'm just listening to what the doctors and the physical therapists said and that's why I'm waiting until January instead of November. I'd rather wait an extra two months rather than come back too soon and have a chance of reinjuring it, you know?
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I know you mentioned that you felt like you had overtrained in the past. What steps have you taken this time around to make sure that doesn't happen again?
Myles Jury: Yeah, having an injury was kind of like a blessing in disguise because I got a chance to sit back and evaluate my training, see what was actually working for me and what wasn't. I've hooked up with a new guy that's helping me with rehabilitation after training, getting my body working at full capacity and using my body all together instead of just burning out my legs or just using my legs and arms. Now, everything has a flow when I spar, when I train, everything. It's been good.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I watched all your recovery videos and in the last couple, you talked about dropping down to 155. I know you've been dominating at 170 pounds on the King of the Cage circuit. What prompted that decision to drop down?
Myles Jury: I just felt like I could use another edge. Now as I progress I'll be facing bigger guys. When I was at 170, I was a smaller welterweight but at 155, I'm gonna be a bit bigger and it'll add an extra edge to my fight. Bigger, stronger and more weight to push around.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I remember watching, you were reading a UG thread where people were talking about how huge Anthony Johnson is as a welterweight. Was that something else that motivated the drop, the higher you get up in the division, the bigger these guys are gonna get?
Myles Jury: Yeah, I mean, I remember when I was in Vegas to go watch some UFC fights and I invited a guy named Dustin Poirier who was a 145 pounder. He was huge and I asked him, "What do you walk around at?" and he responded, "175," and at the time I remember hopping on the scale and saying, "Man, I'm 175 right now and this guy's making 145 at the same walk-around weight as me." I need to make a change here before you run into somebody like an Anthony Johnson who's dropping from something ridiculous like 210 pounds. That can be a huge difference between winning or losing a fight, if the guy's got an extra 15-20 pounds of muscle on you. You only get 15 minutes to fight so you have to find all the edges that you can.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I saw that you've been working on changing up your diet and everything as well. Was it difficult giving up your addiction to chocolate?
Myles Jury: (laughs) Yeah, it was. Growing up, my mom loved chocolate so I got that addiction from her. It is, but it's cool because I replaced chocolate with something better for me like fruit so I still get my sweets and they're all natural instead of processed chocolate, I'll have fruit or honey or something like that. It was difficult at first for sure. I was having chocolate withdrawals. I don't know if that's possible but I felt it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know it was a bit of a disappointment that you didn't get a chance to showcase your skills on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 13 and there were a couple guys that came out of that show looking good like Tony Ferguson. What are your thoughts on not having a chance to utilize that opportunity because of your injury?
Myles Jury: When I look at it, I feel like I've gained something. I'm a better fighter, I'm a better person than I was before that whole incident took place. I have no regrets about the show or anything like that. I know my time's coming and when it comes, I'll be ready. It just gave me extra time to prepare, that's how I look at it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Dana White, he talked to you for a little bit on the show and he mentioned that he was really excited about you and was hoping to bring you into the fold so is that something you're hoping to accomplish in 2012?
Myles Jury: Yeah, that's where my heart's at. That's where it's always been since I started fighting, to go to the UFC. I have a feeling that while I missed out on making a name for myself, I want to be in the UFC and that's where I want my home to be. It's definitely going to happen sometime soon.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know that you mentioned one of your goals was to get your black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu by the end of the year. Are you getting close to that? I know you're starting to get crunched for time here.
Myles Jury: It's close. It's funny that you said that because I've got my list of goals right here by my bed and I was checking them off the other day and I've got a couple left and I'm getting close to my black belt here but a black belt is one of those things where I don't want to push it too much because my instructors will feel like it's ready, Dean [Lister] and all those guys. I know they'll give it to me and it's kind of a sense of pride thing to me, I want that, but I don't want to know when I'm gonna get it. It would be nice if I could get it by the end of the year for sure.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It must be a nice sense of pride knowing that Dean Lister, one of your Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructors went out and won the ADCC in his weight class last month.
Myles Jury: Yeah and not only is this guy a world champion but he's one of the best teachers I've ever seen. The guy will sit down and break it down for you, get on the mat with you and any type of questions, he'll hold nothing back. The guy is a great teacher and a great athlete, a world champ for sure.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned that list of goals that you've got sitting next to you, is that based, I know you're a follower of Tony Robbins. Is that just one major part of your psyche, your mindset right now, setting goals and working to achieve them?
Myles Jury: Yeah for sure. I've actually got Tony Robbins in my car right now, one of my CDs and sometimes I'll just cruise around and feel the positive vibes as I'm driving. I feel like I've got a positive mindset and with a positive mind, it's a dangerous weapon so I love me some Tony Robbins.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Going back to the knee injury. I know you've been rehabbing and working on it a real long time now, do you feel like it's 100 percent now? Do you feel like you've got that full range of motion and everything?
Myles Jury: Yeah. I'm pretty much doing everything. I'm training at 100 percent right now so I'm just giving myself another, I'm kinda like on the mental factor right now because I've been babying my knee for so long so now I'm having to put it in a lot of danger, sparring, takedowns and everything. I just need to get my mind, get used to being back to where I was before I hurt it, you know?
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, that's something I've read about, when somebody has an injury or something like that, they kind of panic a bit when that repaired area is in danger again and it takes a while to overcome that, right?
Myles Jury: When you think about it, it makes sense because 2-3 months ago, I was doing nothing but babying my knee, making sure nobody runs into it, nobody does anything that's gonna put it in danger. Now all of a sudden I'm like, "Hey, you've got to put it in danger and it needs to be 100 percent just like in a fight," but it's a totally different 180 degree turn right there. It definitely adds some mental stuff that you've got to get over.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): For the people that don't really know about your fighting style, who you are, can you describe the way that you fight? I know from watching some of your highlights and your earlier fights that you just kind of overwhelm your opponents. You get them to the ground and pound on them or you take them down and submit them. Just from watching, you take over in a fight.
Myles Jury: My style, when people ask me, "Hey, what's your style?" I'm like, "I've been doing this since I was a kid and I have no style." I'm not a wrestler, I'm not a jiu-jitsu guy, I'm not a striker, I'm an MMA fighter. I can finish people standing up, I can finish people on the ground but one thing for sure that I like to do is I try and finish. I finish fights and that's my job. I feel like that's what I love to do, finish people and I like to try and finish as fast as I can.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've definitely done that. You've had nine fights and only one them has even gone past the midway point of the first round, that's definitely something to be proud of.
Myles Jury: Definitely man. Thank god. I'm just doing my job, you know?
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned that you want to get back in January. Do you have any places that you'd like to fight? I've heard Titan FC, I saw some twitter stuff with MFC. Do you know yet where you're going to be fighting in January?
Myles Jury: It's still up in the air. It's looking like Titan in Kansas City this January but right now, me and my manager are looking to get a 'W' back and see where it goes from there. Everybody knows where I want to be and I know where I want to be and I'm gonna do it soon. I'm just looking for the 'W,' that's it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you love killing zombies in video games, you love scary movies, do you have any crazy Halloween plans?
Myles Jury: Man, I was just telling one of my friends, every day I've been watching at least one scary movie and now I can't wait until Halloween's over because I'm having like nightmares and stuff like that from all my scary movies I've been watching. Halloween time is one of my favorite times so I think for Halloween, it's also gonna be my birthday, me and my roommate are gonna be Top Gun, Maverick and Goose. That's what it's looking like.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Which one are you gonna be?
Myles Jury: I'm gonna be Maverick for sure. Come on, man. Goose dies, man, come on. I ain't gonna die. (laughs)
Myles would like you to check out his website, TheTeamFury.com and of course his team Victory MMA as well as his friends and family back home in Michigan.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Were you as disappointed as I was when Jury was unable to compete on season 13 of TUF? Do you think he'll he realize his dream of competing in the UFC sometime in 2012?