Unbeaten lightweight contender Myles Jury will get his shot in the spotlight this Saturday night as he faces Diego Sanchez on the main card of UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler.
Training locally at Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, this bout marks the first time Jury is featured on the Pay-Per-View main card. With a perfect record of 13-0, Jury will battle one of the most ferocious and excitable fighters in the sport in Sanchez. Though he’s lost two out of his last three fights, Sanchez, 26-6, proved his mettle once again in his epic three-round brawl against former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez at UFC 166. Despite the loss, the #15-ranked Sanchez and will definitely be Jury’s toughest opponent to date. Jury recently answered a few questions with MP reporter Art Garcia Jr. about his upcoming bout.
AG: You’ve been training for this moment throughout your MMA career, how you feeling a week before the biggest fight of your life?
MJ: I’m excited for the opportunity, but you know what – everything seems just the same, it’s just that far more many people are going to get a chance to see it. But I’m just really excited for the opportunity.
AG: Knowing you will be featured on the main UFC card do you have any butterflies heading into the fight?
MJ: You always have butterflies when you head into a fight so I’m sure they will be there as I enter the fight. I’ve been training since I was 13, so I think it’s pretty cool that this many years later down the road I get to see it come around full circle as I’ll be on my first PPV.
AG: Having trained since you were 13 and finally getting a chance in the UFC spotlight, is this experience everything you envisioned it to be?
MJ: Not really because when you envision it, you expect it to be like this crazy big thing and what not. But honestly, it just feels like it’s something happening from each fight-to-fight-to-fight, (since) I’ve been winning fights and it just kind of naturally happened. There was no big like ‘break through’ point for me or anything like that, it was just continued dedication and putting in the work and stuff like that and here we are with a big opportunity.
AG: When you first started training did you think it would take this long to get into the ‘spot light’ or is the timeframe what you thought it would be?
MJ: When I first started training when I was younger I definitely thought it would be a little bit quicker. But I think it is one of those things in life where if you want it bad enough, even if things don’t necessarily go your way, I knew I would eventually get here. So I would definitely say that it took a little longer than I wanted, but I’m here and everything has worked out.
AG: Are you familiar with Diego and can you take anything away from his last bout with Gilbert Melendez?
MJ: I think Diego is a tough fighter; I feel like he’s more of a street fighter – he’s real aggressive and he’s a tough fighter. I can just take away that he can get dropped a couple of times and still make it an exciting fight.
AG: Did you train any differently for this fight not only because of Diego, but also the fact that you’ll be fighting prime-time in front of a televised PPV event?
MJ: No, I just pretty much stuck to my schedule by training for all my fights at Alliance. I guess I could say is that I did a little more conditioning, a little bit extra rounds… I just pushed myself a little bit extra for this fight.
AG: With this being your first big chance on the main stage, how do you keep your emotions in check without getting over-hyped for the bout?
MJ: I stay focused on just getting the job done. It’s not personal; it’s a job for me and something I like to do. So, like I said I stay focused on fighting with a passion – just trying to enjoy the process and not to get too personal with it. It is what it is and there’s just only so much control I have out there in the fight – emotions can kind of get the best of you sometimes so I try to stay mentally focused.
AG: What do you feel are your strengths as a fighter?
MJ: My strengths as a fighter is that I’m well-rounded; I feel like I can stand up; I can strike; I can wrestle and I got a good ground game where I can mix it altogether too.
AG: You know how Diego fights – he’s going to come right at you, make it into a brawl and try to intimidate you. Are you going to try and dictate the fight and try to make him fight your fight or are you comfortable standing and trading punches with him?
MJ: It just depends – I really don’t want to say exactly what I’m going to do before we go out there. But I definitely feel like there’s some holes in his game and I can take advantage of those situations.
AG: How did you get the nickname ‘The Fury?’
MJ: It pretty much just rhymed with my last name and in a lot of my other fights I came out and I finished guys quick. I have kind of like a tenacious style – I don’t want to get anyone hurt – but I definitely try to finish them by setting a furious type of pace and a furious style. So it kind of went like ‘Fury’ and ‘Jury,’ and it became Myles ‘Fury’ Jury and it just stuck.
Ringside: Both Jury, 25, and Sanchez, 31, competed in TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) early in their career. Jury fought in both TUF 13 and TUF 15, and Sanchez was the winner of the middleweight division during the first season of TUF. The main event for UFC 171 features Johny Hendricks vs. Roby Lawler battling it out for the world welterweight title from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas this Saturday, March 15. The No. 1-ranked Hendricks, 15-2, is looking to take home the belt against the No. 3-ranked Lawler, 22-9. Also featured on the card is former interim welterweight champion (No.2) Carlos Condit, 29-7, vs. (No. 11) Tyron Woodley, 12-2; and TUF 17 winner Kevin Gastelum, 8-0, vs. (No. 15) Rick Story, 16-7. In what might possibly be the last fight of his legendary MMA career, No. 8-ranked Dan Henderson (29-11), will face No. 7-ranked Mauricio Rua (22-8) in a light heavyweight battle at UFC Fight Night on Sunday, March 23, in Natal, Brazil. In their first meeting in 2011 at UFC 139, Henderson earned a unanimous decision over Rua in a bout that was nominated for Fight of the Year honors.