ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Johnathan “Leg Lock Monster” Ivey is President at Johnathan Ivey’s Cage Fighting Championships and is a Pro MMA Fighter out of Gallatin, Tennessee. Ivey started his MMA Pro career back in 1998 and made his debut at HOOKnSHOOT. Johnathan Ivey is a hard-hitting MMA veteran with 98 professional fights.
“Leg Lock Monster” is scheduled to fight under the Jorge Masvidal’s Bare Knuckle MMA Promotion GameBred Fighting Championships. Ivey took time out of hectic schedule to sit down and talk to CEO of FightBook MMA Roberto Villa. Check out the conversation below.
FBMMA: Johnathan, everybody here at FightBook MMA appreciates you taking time out of your schedule to talk with us. You’ve recently signed with Jorge Masvidal’s Bare Knuckle MMA Promotion GameBred Fighting Championships. You’re fighting in just three short weeks at GameBred Fighting Championships 2 in Biloxi Mississippi. Congratulations! How is training going?
Ivey: Thank you Roberto! Training has been going great man! Fred Dulay is overseeing my fight camp and anything he tells me to do, I do it. His son Austin Dulay is also helping me during camp which is a real blessing. As well as R-Dub, Claudiu Maniu, Jason Longoria and my grappling coach Ricky Ward. I’ve got a circle of guys around me that want nothing but the best for me. I feel blessed.
FBMMA: Looking over your lengthy Professional Fighting career, your most recent fight on your record, was you returning back to the Colosseum Combat organization up in Indiana where you were the Colosseum Combat Heavyweight Champion back in 2018. Why the three year lay off from the sport and why did you pick now to return?
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Ivey: Yeah my last fight I went up and defended my title at Colosseum Combat. Kind of a crazy fight. But after that fight I just felt like I wanted to concentrate on other things for awhile. I started my own MMA promotion in middle tennessee and got that off the ground and doing really well. My daughter was just entering highschool so I wanted to focus on her and the different challenges she was experiencing for the first time. Before I knew it I had been out of the cage for three years! One day I was talking to a close friend of mine Jacob Kilburn who had just fought in the UFC a couple times, and out of the blue Jorge Masvidal’s Bare Knuckle promotion GameBred Fighting Championships came up and we both agreed it would make total sense for that to be my next thing I do in my career so here we are. I fight for them September 11th down in Biloxi Mississippi!
FBMMA: Watching some of the highlight videos of you that are on YouTube, very rarely have we seen a Heavyweight attack legs the way you do in a MMA fight. What led you to attack with leg locks during so many of your fights when other Heavyweights don’t seem to favor them?
Ivey: I’m going to be honest Roberto, I would have to pass up four or five leg lock transitions to wait on a upper body submission to present itself and I’m not very patient. I don’t get paid by the hour, so I just go get the leg! Once they put their leg within my arms’ reach…I like my chances! I think a lot of heavyweights avoid going for them because they feel venerable or at risk in those situations. Your first day walking into any type of grappling gym, they are going to teach you position over submission. Well I’ve never necessarily felt that way. I’m not so much worried about giving up position if a leg lock transition is available. I like my chances of being able to end the fight as soon as I get to their leg. But I’ve also lost a lot of judges decisions during mma fights so maybe I’m not the guy to listen to about fight strategies! (laughs)
FBMMA: September 11th in Biloxi Mississippi you’ll be fighting in your first Bare Knuckle fight. Do you think it being Bare knuckle will help you or hurt you during the fight?
Ivey: It’s definitely not going to be my first bare knuckle fight (laughs). I’ve had a lot more fights bare knuckle then I ever had wearing gloves. But yeah this will be my first bare knuckle fight as far as a sport is concerned (laughs). I think it can only help me, I can’t think of any negatives to it, as far as my fight philosophy has been over the years. I think this is tailor made for me!
FBMMA: You’re fan support online and with the grass-roots MMA community has always been amazing. Why do you think so many people genuinely root for you during your career?
Ivey: I think because a lot of people that know my story can see a little bit of themselves in me. They understand the road I’ve been forced to take in this sport. They see the 26 professional fights I took in a 12 month time period, they see that I’ve been a single father all my daughter’s life, they see me taking fights on short notice in opponents home towns to make ends meet. People are not stupid, they see why my professional record is the way it is. And I think they see themselves in me. I think my story connects with them. But your right the support I get is unmatched. They support me win, lose or draw. And I lean on them so often. Those people mean a lot to me!
FBMMA: We know that you’re a single father with a daughter, is she leaning towards the sport of MMA to follow in her father’s foot steps?
Ivey: She has grew up in fight gyms all of her life. When she was small she would be on the edge of the mat playing with toys while I trained for fights or taught fight classes. She took jiu-jitsu and boxing for years, but about the time she entered highschool her focus changed. She has a real passion for the theater. She loves acting and performing in front of crowds. She does all the productions at her school, as well as some dinner theaters, and theater production summer camps. I always thought she would be a fighter but when I see the way she lights up when she talks about acting…I’m her biggest fan. She is ten times better at acting than I have ever been at fighting. She is going to accomplish great things in the world of theater.
FBMMA: Do you currently have anything scheduled for after your fight September 11th as far as your career is concerned?
Ivey: There has been some things talked about for what’s next but I’m not supposed to discuss it yet. We’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Right now we are focused on only September 11th!
FBMMA: You’re known for so many different things in the sport…your crazy ring entrances, your devastating leg locks, your silly fight antics during fights, can we expect to see the same in your Bare Knuckle debut?
Ivey: I’m never going to change! I don’t care where I’m fighting…in a professional fight against a UFC Hall of Famer or in the wal mart parking lot against someone wanting my parking spot. I fight the way I fight because it’s who I am. This is my personality. I like to have fun..and I like to leave people limping afterwards (Laughs).
FBMMA: Johnathan thank you again for taking the time to talk with us. Is there anybody you would like to thank or give a shout out to before we go?
Ivey: Yeah man absolutely! Jacob Kilburn for being someone that I look at like a brother! He is fighting on ESPN next week, you guys please check him out! To my coach Fred Dulay who from the very day I met him has genuinely only wanted to see me do well in life. My daughter who I owe everything to. She saved me from myself, that I know for sure. To my training partners, and all my die hard supporters. Thank you so much for sticking with this dude from the wrong side of the tracks!
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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