Matthew Jackson talks to Corey Cain about stepping into the cage for his 1st MMA fight on March 2nd 2013.
MJ So you are a former World Champion in semi-contact and light contact disciplines. As a kickboxer what set you apart from the competition?
CC The simplest answer to that is I was willing to do what my competitors would not. I fought many people who were better than me and beat them by being disciplined in my approach putting in hard work and realising that it is not all just about punching and kicking. If I lost a match I would go back to the drawing board, tweak it and keep going back at it until I did what I set out to do.
MJ Why the switch to MMA?
CC To be honest with you I do not really see it as a switch as I will only be doing one fight. I personally try not to get wrapped up in all of the MMA hype and titles that people like to call things. If MMA stands for mixed martial arts that means to me any martial art can take part as long as you can abide by the rules. I have watched a few matches and always walk away thinking that a lot of the competitors do not actually show much martial art skill in many aspects of the ‘game’ and look more like street fighters. I also live by the code of ‘Don’t talk about it, be about it’. I have not been active for many years but still believe that I should not expect others to do what I would not attempt to do. Lead by example and not live on what you have achieved in the past. What is life without challenges? I have a few students who train in kickboxing but actually fear going to competitions and testing what they have learned. Sometimes they need to see others step into the unknown in order for them to try it for themselves. For me this is the first time in the cage so it may inspire some others to take a step into something they are not sure of. Also for some strange reason that may come to me in the future I have this urge to do it.
MJ How did you get involved in MMA with a back ground in Kung Fu and Kickboxing?
CC I just like fighting, I am a fan and I have been looking for something over the past couple of years to motivate me to up my training intensity. Also my mind could do with the opportunity to focus as sometimes I have bad thoughts running through it and it needs channelling in the right direction. For the moment this will fill the gap.
MJ What do you see the main challenges be in MMA compared to Kickboxing?
CC MMA has many different areas that you need to be aware of but to me this is not the problem. As in all fighting it is what your opponent has to offer and how you deal with it. As an individual it is up to you to control your destiny and not let others control it. I see fighting as just another task or action in life. You do it, put as much effort into it as you can and hopefully at some stage you will get some enjoyment or satisfaction out of it.
MJ Have you experienced the joys of leg kicks during your training? What was your initial reaction to them?
CC Yes I have. We are not best friends but if I see them down the street and we need to have a passing conversation then I will say hello and go about my business. I would rather be kicked in the leg than punched in the face. They both hurt but I value my face more!
MJ Are there any significant changes you have made to your training regime compared to your previous kickboxing training?
CC I just roll about more regularly on the floor I suppose. The time of the rounds are longer so that has been something to take into consideration. There are so many things to consider and improve upon but you can only do so much in a certain amount of time.
MJ In MMA there seems to be a culture of weight cutting so that you are bigger than your opponent. What do you think of this pursuit and will you be adopting its use for your fight?
CC I fight my natural weight and always have done. The amount of times I would see people at comps skipping off etc. It’s crazy. It has its pros and cons but I have always fought my natural weight and probably would find it hard training for weight loss rather than training for performance.
MJ You had an operation some time ago. Tell us a little bit about that and how your recovery went. Has the operation effected you preparation at all?
CC I had a tumor located in my chest wall about the size of a golf ball resting on the back side of my left lung. I had to have it removed but they had to take a large bit of lung with it. A bit of a scary experience that taught me a lot about myself and others around me. It hasn’t really affected my preparation as I have got over the worst of it and my lung function is back up there.
MJ Your last fight was a title bout against Ed Lofts right? How long ago was that? And do you think ring rust will be an issue for this fight?
CC It may well of been as I probably haven’t fought for about 4 or so years. That fact together with never fought MMA before or fought in a cage could be an issue if I make it one, but I’m not. I knew all that when I signed up for it.
MJ What are your current goals go you intend to continue fighting MMA after this bout or is it a one and done situation?
CC Nope, I’ll only fight it once in the cage
MJ Do you intend to make a return to kickboxing or Taekwondo at all?
CC Not competing. I actually want to study catch wrestling or Sambo but can’t find any clubs locally so may have to travel to make this happen. The competing side has taken too many years of my life and I have other things apart from martial arts that need my time.
MJ The Fight show has already sold out with 5 weeks to go, which if unheard of. Why do you think this is?
CC I’m not sure, there could be many reasons. It could be the fight card or that people enjoyed the first one so much. I haven’t got a clue and I’m probably the wrong person to be asking.
MJ How do you see the future of TKMMA?
CC I think it will go on to be a big success with more great fights happening on the shows. If there was a time to be doing an MMA show it is now as it is fashion, very popular and everyman and his dog seems to want to be able to say they are a ‘cage fighter’ It will tail off though eventually when people realise that there is actually hard work involved. Hopefully TKMMA will still be around after the buzz dies down a bit still promoting a quality show for the die hard fans.
MJ Your opponent is John Gilbert who was a kickboxing instructor at Combat Academy and currently trains jujitsu under Roger Gracie trained Kevin Capel and MMA at Neil McCloud so he is well rounded. How do you see the fight playing out?
CC He’ll probably try and take me to the ground and try to choke or armlock me. That’s what I would try if I was him. I don’t really care because the way I look at it is, I can either win or win. What I mean is, for me to get in the cage and fight something that is not really ‘my thing’ is a win for me from the word go as I know I will grow from the experience and be taken out of my comfort zone. That is more important for me at this stage of my life than being announced the winner at the end of the fight. But with that being said I still want to beat him at his own game.
MJ What rules will you be fighting under?
CC I do believe we will be fighting TKMMA pro rules with the exclusion of heel hooks and elbows. Apart from that
MJ You are actually fighting under MMA rules which is commonly known as Cage Fighting, Human Cock Fighting or UFC. What would you say to the uneducated?
CC Firstly, Go to school and get an education then when you get home go on youtube watch a few fights so you get the picture of what is going on. Lol!
MJ You are making your MMA debut at the age 43 years old. What would you like to say to anybody who thinks you are too old to be competing in MMA?
CC You think I care what other people think? That’s a problem with some people who do not know who they are and feel they have to do things to be liked or accepted by others. I’d tell them to mind their own business and find something to focus on in their lives that will make them a better person tomorrow than they are today. So many people go around talking muck and trying to knock people away from their dreams. They walk around after a while saying I coulda or I woulda instead of just getting on and doing the things they enjoy. If I saw a ninety year old man running a marathon I would not say to him ‘Oi mate you’re a little old to be running a marathon’. I would say go for it granddad run until you drop! There is a guy called Sid who comes to my circuit class every week, he’s gotta be at least 65 and runs rings around a lot of them half his age. He’s one of my role models that inspire me on my journey. At the weekends he does his hobby of riding trials bikes and tells me stories of an 80 year old guy who races. He says the guy hobbles up to his bike like he is 80 but when he gets on it and starts to ride he comes alive and looks like he’s 40!
MJ Finally you spar and help to train TKMMA Champion Matt Holland. Would you ever take that fight?
CC No, I wouldn’t fight Matt simply because it wouldn’t be a good fight for either of us. I’ve sparred with him too many times and near enough know him inside out. Maybe 15 years ago if winning that title was my goal then make no mistake he would have to get it big time but that doesn’t matter to me anymore. I would be more happy to see him go on and achieve what he wants to achieve and help out if I can.