James Conway goes for gold at Valor 50
Before James Conway tries to improve to 3-0 against Jason King in their Valor Fights Welterweight Championship bout at Valor 50 in Knoxville on June 9, the unbeaten 170-pound up-and-comer checked in with FightBookMMA.
How did you find MMA in the first place?
It’s something my dad got me into when I was sixteen. He told me I needed to get into a sport and I didn’t want to play baseball or anything. So, I found a local gym. I watched a bunch of movies about MMA and kind of grew into it.
Are you surprised by your quick success in MMA?
A little bit. I’m more surprised by how fast it’s going. I figured it’d take a bit longer to get where I’m at, right now but I’ve been putting in the work. I thought I’d be here eventually, I just didn’t know when exactly.
Do you work outside of MMA?
Yeah, I do carpentry. I’m a part-time framer and carpenter but it’s full time altogether – so it’s about forty or fifty hours a week.
How do you balance your work with getting adequate training?
It’s hard. If I feel good enough in the morning, I’ll wake up an hour before work and work out at home. I do push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and sprints. I get off work at 4:30 and spend some time with the family. The gym opens at seven so I’m there sometimes til ten o’clock. You have to make sacrifices to get where you want to go.
What’s that belt going to mean to you?
It’s going to mean a lot. It’ll be my first professional belt. I’m more looking forward to the fight itself. I’m just looking to fight someone as good and experienced as Jason, even if it isn’t a title fight. Winning a belt off of it will be just as good. There’s not too many professional fighters with two professional fights who can go in there and fight for a title. It’s going to be a big confidence booster, that’s for sure.
With the title on the line, does it add any pressure or is it just business as usual?
It’s pretty much just business as usual. When I’m in there I don’t think about what I’m being paid or what’s on the line. I just go in there and try to fight the best I can. They’re not always going to be title fights, but it’ll always be a fight.
What’s the most likely outcome of this fight?
I’m very confident I’ll win the fight. I don’t have a doubt at all. I think it’s going to be a good fight. He’s going to push me as hard as he possibly can. I don’t think he’s going to beat me. If he does, it’s not going to be easy, definitely not. I know it’s not going to be easy for me to beat him. I can see one of us getting the performance of the night.