By Dean Parr
Five-time UFC veteran, Jess ‘The Joker’ Liaudin (19-11) will square off against 12-1 Spaniard Juan Manuel Suarez at Tenth Legion XI on May 13th, in an intriguing battle that has slipped under the radars of many. Having not lost since 2008, Frenchman Liaudin is entering this bout with confidence, and is fighting for no other reason than his own desires.
“For me, it's just another fight,” noted the Pancrase London scrapper. “I’ve been competing in combat sports since I was sixteen years old, so it's something I’ve always done. I train hard all year long, and since I’m in good shape and can afford to take a bit of time off work, I decided to compete for no other reason than fun and personal challenge.”
Jess isn’t hugely familiar with the fighting style of his next opponent, but acknowledges he has some high-class wins. ‘The Joker’ analysed,
“I don’t know very much about him to be honest. I know he's 12-1 and has a couple of good wins in M1. I watched a few of his fights, but it's hard to tell from the videos I saw. He seems to be a pretty good grappler with basic but efficient stand up and poor wrestling skill.”
Liaudin has been putting considerable hours into preparations, to ensure he’s in the best shape possible for the upcoming tilt.
“I’m doing a lot of conditioning with my coach Mark Javis, but I also train with a couple of top UK Crossfit competitors as well at the gym where I work, Gymbox,” revealed the 77kg fighter. “I've got to admit that it's been hard to find good sparring partners willing to come and get punch in the face by me, but besides that I’m feeling good and in great shape already.
“To be fair, I train hard all year round. Since I’m nearly forty, I can't get away with slacking when I’m not competing. We’ve just been pushing it a lot more on the cardio and doing more specific training. I’ve already dropped from 205lbs to 190lbs without dieting, and I feel very strong and explosive.”
While he remains uncertain about how the upcoming May 13th contest will go, Jess feels he can punish Suarez for any errors he makes.
“I don't know; it's hard to tell,” responded the professional of thirty-fights when asked for his prediction. “He's never fought anybody like me, so I don't think even he knows what he's going do and how things are going to play out in the cage.
“Dependent on the mistake he makes, I'll be there to make him pay. It may be a jumping knee or a heavy ground and pound finish. All I know is that I am going in there to finish the fight very aggressively.”
Having won his last five bouts, Liaudin has recently hit a run of excellent form. Should this continue, it isn’t inconceivable that the UFC would be interested in re-signing the 38-year old, and he feels that if they did, he’d be in a better position than ever to grab the opportunity with both hands. He noted,
“I personally think that if I dedicate myself one-hundred percent to the sport I can do even better than the last time around. I’ve really matured as a fighter over the past few years; not only mentally but also technically and physically. I feel better than ever.
“Keep in mind that I am mainly self trained, and perhaps it took me a bit longer than others to understand certain things as a competitor. Now, I really believe in myself and my ability. If given the opportunity, I would love to have another shot at the UFC, but it's not my drive at the moment. For the time being, I’m just concentrating on performing to the best of my ability in every fight.”
To conclude the interview, Jess had a few final words to add.
“I would like to thanks everybody that always supported me all over Europe for the past ten years. I had ups and downs, but people have always been there with kind words and efforts to help, so thank you, and if you want to have more information on what I do, check my website.”
More information on Tenth Legion XI, set for the Scala Arena in London, can be found on the promotion’s official website.