FightBookMMA caught up with Bradley ‘Featherstone’ Desir ahead of his fight at ROC 62

Atlantic City (Wed, February 28, 2018)– This Friday, March 2nd, Ring of Combat will bring another night of action packed fights to the Tropicana Showroom in Atlantic City. Lou Neglia and Dead Serious MMA have put together 5 title fights on this card. None more exciting, in my opinion, than the welterweight tilt between Taj ‘Black Spartan’ Abdul-Hakim (6-1), and Bradley ‘Featherstone’ Desir (10-5).

We got a chance to speak with Bradley. Here’s our conversation.

Hi Bradley. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

Not at all. It’s my pleasure.

How’s training been going?

Training’s good. Hard.

Both you and Taj fought on the same card at Ring of Combat 54, which was a big night for future UFC fighters. Gregor Gillespie won a belt that night. He’s in the UFC. Brian Kelleher won a belt that night. He’s in the UFC. Julio Arce was on that card and is in the UFC.

You won a belt that night as well. You had an impressive KO on the big Bellator NYC show. I have to believe that with a win Friday night, the UFC should be knocking at your door, right?

I really hope so, man. It feels like I’ve been close before. I fought in front of Dana one time and had a great knock out, and he passed me over, so I never really know.

So tell me a bit about your martial arts pedigree, and what are the components that make up Featherstone.

That’s a good question. So I started my formal martial arts training while I was in the Marines. Then when I came back home to New York, I started training with Steve Koepfer at New York Combat Sambo. When I was there, I met Lyman Good. Lyman and I became friends and he brought me over to Tiger Schulmann’s. I’ve spent the majority of my career at Tiger Schulmann’s and I’ll be there until I retire.

Can you tell me a bit about the nick name, Featherstone. Is it a reference to Bruce Lee’s “Be like water” quote?

No, not at all. I was playing peewee football when I was a kid. I think its from a movie called little giants or something. I ran around, and looked really effortless on the feet, and one practice I couldn’t catch anything, so they called me Featherstone, and it just stuck. And it still fits. I’ve got good footwork and I hit like a rock.

What do you know about Taj and what skills and techniques he brings to bear?

I know Taj is athletic and he’s explosive. I think he’s a Judo brown belt, a jiu jitsu brown belt. But I know that he likes to keep it on the feet. He has a good overhand right. He likes to throw some spinning attacks. He seems to have a lot of confidence.

What aspect of your game, do you think, will give you the edge in this fight?

Experience. Taj has 7 fights. I have 15, so double his fights. I think I’ll be able to put him in places he hasn’t been in before. I don’t think he’s going to show me anything that I haven’t seen before. That’s what I feel will be the difference.

Kickboxing is my bread and butter. I’ve got a pretty decent ground game, but I like to think of it as just another dude at the bar. I try to treat every fight like it’s two dudes exchanging fists.

If you mind fuck yourself, you realize it’s much more than just a fight. You’ll have thoughts like I’ll only get half my money if I don’t win. If I lose, it puts me back a year. Maybe if I won, but my fight wasn’t exciting enough. You can’t think about it like that. You’ve got to think of it as a fist fight.

In a sense its making the moment more pure.

Yes. Absolutely.

I bring that up because I wanted to talk about a Facebook post of you from earlier this month. When I saw this, it got me itching even more to see this fight.

 

That’s some cold stuff, right there.

No it’s not. I have actually have a tattoo on my chest that speaks about killer instinct. Sometimes people forget it’s a fight. They think it’s a game because you’re training, and your playing with each other; you’re just touching, and you forget that when the bell rings, that person on the other side is trying to hurt you. And that’s how I fight. I fight like you owe me money. I don’t think all my pro, amateur and kickboxing wins that were finishes were because I’m some great talent. I think they were finishes because of my mentality. I’m trying to hurt you! If I can kill you between the bells, I will kill you between the bells. That’s my goal. That’s how I fight. This is not sparring. This is not point fighting. I am really trying to hurt you.

I feel like we saw the same thing last week with Donald Cerrone. Yancy Medeiros was all buddy buddy with him, and it didn’t put any psychological pressure on Cowboy. Now, when Cerrone faces a guy that’s in his face, he doesn’t perform as well, because it doesn’t have that jovial, sparring atmosphere.

I watched that fight with a friend of mine who is staying with me to help me train, and we had talked about the same thing. He fights so often that every fight is like a sparring session to him. All the high fives and the hugs, made Donald Cerrone feel comfortable. Where somebody like the Diaz brothers, they kind of have the same mindset that I have. This is a fight. We are not friends. I’m trying to hurt you. My real friends don’t punch me in the face.

That is the reason everyone loves watching you fight. Its because you’re getting something raw. You’re getting something that’s taking you to the edge.

Thank you. That means a lot.

Can you tell me a bit more about your military service? I think that’s something more people should know about. Before you do, however, allow me to thank you for your service to our country.

Thank you for your support.

I was with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Kilo company, and 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines Scout Sniper Platoon. I was there from 2005 to 2009. I was in Iraq twice. I was in the same unit as Brian Stann. When Brian Stann was getting his Silver Star, that was my first day in the fleet. I had got some of my early training with him, Gene White, George Lockhartt. It was a small gym, but we had a lot of talent in there.

But it was still in the tough-man days of MMA. I remember telling Sensei White that I wanted to try this whole fighting thing, and he said go train with Stann and those guys. And they would kind of just beat you up to see if you really wanted to do it. That’s how I got started.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to speak with us. I feel like I’ve got a better understanding of you as a fighter, and I am even more excited for the fight this Friday night. Good luck in your fight!

Thank you, man. I appreciate it.

Check out our interview with Taj ‘Black Spartan’ Abdul-Hakim by going here.

Interview By: Mozz Manzoor


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