Myles Jury believes he can stand out in the crowded UFC lightweight division.
All he has to do is keep being himself.
As seen in the above picture, the Alliance MMA fighter loves to have fun when he competes, particularly in those post-fight celebrations and interviews with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
"Fury" remains undefeated in his professional career, including two very impressive performances inside the Octagon. After a first round submission of Chris Saunders, he received a big step up in competition against Michal Johnson in his last bout and he passed with flying colors, repeatedly taking The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 12 finalist down and plastering himself to his back.
Jury will look to defeat his second straight TUF finalist when he battles TUF 13 runner-up Ramsey Nijem this Saturday night (April 20, 2013) on the UFC on Fox 7 preliminary card in San Jose, California.
The Michigan native spoke to MMAmania.com during a recent appearance on The Verbal Submission about preparing for Nijem's best shot, his comprehensive reading list and the benefits of being a small fish in a big pond in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you see yourself and upcoming opponent Ramsey Nijem being on parallel paths in UFC? You both seem to have raised your games since losing out on your chance to become The Ultimate Fighter on your respective seasons.
Myles Jury: Yeah, yeah definitely. We were both on The Ultimate Fighter and since coming to the UFC we've both improved with every fight and we're on some win streaks.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): In your last fight, I was very impressed that you were so easily able to take Michal Johnson to the ground and dominate him there, especially considering he was billed as a wrestler during season 12. Where did you get the confidence to go in there and take him down at will? Was that the plan going in or did you realize you could do it once the cage doors closed and you got a feel for his game?
Myles Jury: Always whenever your in a fight, you've got to adjust accordingly. You have a gameplan going into every fight but you never really know until you get out there. I knew going into the fight, I had a strong feeling that Michael was overlooking me with takedowns and I knew what kind of fighter he is. He's the same fighter every fight, coming forward, being fast and I was prepared for it. When I got in there, it wasn't a surprise and once I got in the cage, I hit the ground running. I implemented the gameplan just like we practiced.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What are you expecting against upcoming opponent Ramsey Nijem. How do you break him down?
Myles Jury: He's a tough opponent. We fight the same way. He comes forward, he's aggressive, has good wrestling, cagework and he's got a good chin. I'm expecting that. I don't expect him to come out and make this a technique match or to try and go skill for skill. I expect him to try and get me tired and stay in my face and whatnot. I'll be looking to implement my gameplan based on that.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I'm not the most technical analyst out there, but from my observations, Nijem is very scrappy on the feet and at times he can catch opponents off guard but I don't think he's got the best defensive tendencies. We've seen him get clipped several times, even if he doesn't always get knocked out. If the fight does stay standing for an extended period, is that something you're looking to exploit?
Myles Jury: Yeah of course. That's always something where you take a risk when you don't know how to fight moving backwards because you're always moving forward. You leave yourself open to a lot of counters and stuff. I'll be looking for stuff like that whether it's standing or on the ground. I'm not too worried about what he's gonna do. I'm more focused on what I'm gonna do.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now I'm not trying to delve too deep into your gameplan, but in general, when you're facing a fighter who is constantly moving forward and trying to put pressure on you to force mistakes, how do you counter that?
Myles Jury: I've got a rhythm. I keep my rhythm and I stay relaxed. I feel like I've been fighting Ramseys my entire career, guys who just keep moving forward and guys who just want to try and pressure me and whatnot. I'm a beast when I move forward too. My offense is pretty vicious too. I'm pretty well-rounded and I'm confident wherever the fight goes.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): So if and when this fight goes to the ground, particularly because Nijem tends to take fights there, do you think your submission skills are on par with his?
Myles Jury: Yeah definitely. I feel I've got more than what it takes to hang on the ground with him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've been very active with fight breakdowns and previews in your vlogs. Are you just trying to get some practice to one day be in the Fox booth or something?
Myles Jury: It was just something to try and stay in touch with my fans. In this sport, unless you're in the biggest fights and you've got the Countdown show following your around, you only get a pre-fight interview and if you win your fight you get to talk to Joe Rogan. The fans don't really get a chance to see who you are. There's so many fights going on right now and they pump everybody through the process at each event. It's just something to help reach out to my fans and let them know what I think about fights and offering my predictions and whatnot.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): The UFC lightweight division is one of the most crowded in the entire promotion. What do you think it is that you'll have to do to stand out?
Myles Jury: Everybody likes a winner but I think the biggest thing for me to stand out is to just be myself. Just be original, be myself and one day when I keep winning, as long as I keep being myself, people will respect that.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've been doing a lot of reading since your time on The Ultimate Fighter. What haven't you been able to put down lately?
Myles Jury: I've been reading a lot. Every since I was on The Ultimate Fighter, you can't really do anything on there and all I had was like a bible to read. I didn't have video games or anything like that. I do a lot of reading. It helps me relax and take my mind off of stuff. Lately, it varies. I'll read one book, like I've been really into this author Robert Kiyosaki and then someone will give me a recommendation and I'll read that. I just finished "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman and that was pretty good. I also just got "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink. It's always different things, just stuff that sparks my interest.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk a bit about the transition you made to start training at Alliance MMA? You've been working and training there ever since you appeared on TUF 15.
Myles Jury: Man, moving to Aliance was like making the transition from high school wrestling to college wrestling practice. My sparring partners and the intensity we train at, it's just a totally different level all around. It's been good for me in my career and it's been more challenging waking up every day and being the small fish in a big pong. I've been growing a lot and I wouldn't have it every other day. I'm scrapping with Michael Chandler, Ross Pearson, Paul Bradley. It's a shark tank. I didn't have to bring anyone in to similute Ramsey. I have wrestlers that are better than him and sparring partners that hit harder than him and are all around just better than him. If you want to reach your full potential, you can't hang back and be the big fish in the small pond. You've got to make changes and that's what I'm doing now.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): With all the work you've put in and how much you've had this fight in your mind, how do you see your bout against Ramsey Nijem playing out?
Myles Jury: I see this fight playing out in my head and what I really want is to finish him. I want that finish and when you think about it, with so many variables in mixed martial arts, I could finish him in so many ways. I don't see one way in particular, like a heel hook or something, but I just see myself knocking him out or submitting him and just finishing him.