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StandThemUp Exclusive: Cheyne Jenkins
This guest interview is provided by the infamous Maddog gym.
Cheyne (pronounced Shane) Jenkins first popped up on the local MMA radar last year when he beat Pittsburgh Fight Club product Rich Cantolina (8-6) for the Yankee Lake Title. Ever since that win, I have been paying attention to this kid and as a 5-1 amateur featherweight, you will too. He took some time out of his schedule to talk to Dave Sucevich about training, the NAAFS coming to Pittsburgh and more.
Check it out after the jump:
MadDogGym: First things first, you successfully defended your title against Rich Cantolina. Going into the second fight, was it easier to come up with a strategy because of the first fight?
CJ: Well it definitely helped knowing that I had beaten him before, but at the same time everyone gets better with each fight so there's never an easy strategy to make. I just stuck to the game plan and was able to control the fight and come out with the win.
MadDogGym: You were considered a huge underdog in the first fight, was there any pressure when you got a title shot at Yankee Lake?
CJ: There was a little pressure on my shoulders. Honestly, I think the majority of it was on him. I was 2-1 at the time and nobody expected me to win with the exception of my team, family, and friends. I honestly felt like I had nothing to lose.
MadDogGym: What’s been your experience fighting for Chuck Haskell’s promotion?
CJ: Haha, well at times it may get a little sketchy as far as matchmaking and venues. But as of late they seem to be getting somewhat organized. I've fought for them 6 times and my name may have been spelled right twice.
CJ: I take it one day at a time, but I would like to gain the experience from other promotions as well. As we speak, there may be something in the works with NAAFS for a July show. Hopefully everything goes through.
MadDogGym: with the NAAFS doing a show here in Pittsburgh July 21st in Monroeville, do you think you’ll eventually get to fight locally when the rules are modified?
CJ: Yes I would love to fight in PA if the rules were modified. I think every fighter would like to fight in or around their home town if given the opportunity.
MadDogGym: Tell us a little bit about how you train for fights or any cross training that you do?
CJ: I train at TFS Pittsburgh with Jack Tolley. The staff as well as the fighters have done a great job in preparing me, sharpening my skill sets, and pushing me to the edge of my limits. When preparing for a fight I like to train towards my opponent’s strengths as well as their weaknesses. I originally started off as a wrestler, but I have worked a great amount on my stand up and my jujitsu has become almost like a second nature. I am always working on my conditioning and going round after round in training. I also cross train at Mad Dog gym with Dave Suchevich and the awesome team he has there. Getting my ass beat by Francis Healy really helps my game.
CJ: The thought has crossed my mind. I definitely think it would be a good challenge and opportunity for me. But like I said before, I take it day by day and we'll see where it takes me.
MadDogGym: What do you do when you’re not fighting?
CJ: Well, I work a 40-60 hour week job at a lumberyard. And I'm in my basement lifting weights as much as possible. I use what little time I have to hang out with my family and friends. I try to sleep whenever the opportunity provides me. I spend the majority of my time training MMA.
MadDogGym: You obviously have a wrestling base. Where did you wrestle and who were your coaches?
CJ: I didn't start wrestling until I was a freshman in high school. I went to South Allegheny High School and wrestled under coaches: Keith Gephart, Joe Folk, and Gavin Weston.
MadDogGym: When do you plan on fighting again?
CJ: Well I am currently working on getting the fight in July for NAAFS, although the date and opponent are still undetermined.
MadDogGym: if anyone is interested in sponsoring you how can they contact you?
CJ: They can call my trainer Jack Tolley at 412-877-1185. And if they want to call me directly at 412-414-7798. For mail 5830 Library Rd. Bethel Park, PA 15102. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
MadDogGym: Is there anyone you want to thank?
CJ: I'd like to thank Jack, TFS Pittsburgh and all of its awesome staff and fighters, Dave and Mad Dog Gym and their great help for my fights, Team Stallion*, all my friends for coming out to watch me fight, and most importantly my family for believing in me and supporting me.