Jamie Cruz came out from the East Coast with the intention of fighting some very big names at the Grapplers Quest in Las Vegas. Well he got his wish.Jamie Cruz came out from the East Coast with the intention of fighting some very big names at the Grapplers Quest in Las Vegas. Well he got his wish. He got to go to the mat with Mark Hughes. Not to many people knew who Jamie was except his fellow Tribe sponsored fighters that came out with him. Everyone has heard of Mark so they had him as a favorite. Jamie was able to dominate and in the end choke out Mark with a rear naked choke. I talked with Jamie before his match so her goes.
SP: You have a pretty stacked division what are you looking for and who do you think is going to be the toughest match for you?
JC: Well I think my first fight is against Mark Hughes. I don`t know what is going to happen but I hear that he is real good at takedowns so I will probably end up on the bottom pulling guard but I am looking for guard anyways. Maybe some sweeps and some heel hooks. Omoplata maybe I`m not sure!
SP: Lets go back a bit and tell me a little bit about yourself, your background.
JC: I have been training in Jiu Jitsu under Renzo Gracie about 6 years and I train at the New York Academy. I compete a lot in Grapplers Quest and NAGA tournaments and I have been training like a maniac.
SP: What was it that actually got you into Jiu Jitsu? You said its been about 5 years so what made you do it?
JC: Yeah, well I got into it in college and I had seen two guys rolling on the mat and I used to wrestle a bit in high school and I really liked it. I was taking tae kwon do at the time and I really didn`t like that and I am like that is the stuff that really works that submission stuff. I started talking to the guys there and they started to help me out and once I started getting good they asked why don`t I just go to the Renzo Gracie Academy? I started going there.
SP: So how old are you anyways?
JC: I`m 28.
SP: Who do you think is a big influence for you or a motivator?
JC: The big motivators for me are the guys at my academy. Sean Williams, Joe De Arce they are very good guys that keep me on my toes and keep me sharp. The guys that I came here with are great, I had never met them before, Nakapan and Todd (Margolis), we all came here together for Tribe and they have been helping me on my stand up. Mostly Rodrigo Gracie and Matt Serra have helped me out a lot with my game. Matt has been helping me with my guard and my heel hooks and Nick (Serra) cant leave out Nick they have all been great. I am sure I`m forgetting somebody but if I did sorry.
SP: Ok here goes the question of the day, what`s up with you and Phil Baroni?
JC: I fought him in NAGA last summer, last August and he is a very strong guy got good base and has decent stand up, on the ground just wasn`t impressed at all! He kinda ran from my guard a little bit. I want to fight him again I want a rematch but he wants too much money. The guys that run these types of tournaments don`t want to pay it. I understand where he is you know fighting in the UFC now so you in the last fight in the UFC against Matt Linland and he fought a good fight I give him a lot of credit for that he is a tough guy. I would love to fight him again and I think it would be different. Now that I have my guard a little better, after that fight I knew what I had to work on and I knew where my holes were in my game.
SP: Talking about wrestlers do you thing they have made as big an impact on tournaments like this as well as MMA or BJJ in general?
JC: When you watch Abu Dhabi they fight a lot different then they did a few years back. You got these good wrestlers that come in here and they get the take down and they pin the guy or hold him on the ground because the submissions may not be there, what is going to be scary is when you get a wrestler with good takedowns and great submissions! I am not looking forward to that! (Laughing)
SP Me either man I gotta spend 5 years in BJJ and then another 5 in wrestling man this shit is going to kill me! On another note how did you get hooked up with a guy like Chris the owner or Tribe?
JC: I have known Sav for a long time and he went to Renzo`s and he asked me if I would wear one of his shirts at a tournament and he paid my entrance fee and I was like cool! I`ve known him for a long time and I liked his stuff and now we are fighting in Vegas Renzo Gracie style!
SP: Very cool thanks Jamie enjoy the tourney and I will talk to you later.
JC: Thanks Scott