We spoke to Bubba Jenkins who touched on a little bit of everything ahead of his title defense at Brave CF 24, including his departure from Bellator.
Tomorrow, the Brave Combat Federation heads to London England for the first time in the promotion’s short three-year history for Brave CF 24. Reigning featherweight king Bubba Jenkins looks to defend his throne for the first time, as he squares off with former interim lightweight titlist, Lucas Martins in the main event. Jenkins spoke briefly with Cageside Press ahead of the bout.
He began by speaking about the opportunity to compete for the Brave CF featherweight title in his first fight for the Bahrain-based company.
“It says that they respect the work that I have put in for my career. It also says that they are good with me being able to hold a main event spot.”
The opportunity marked the first time that the NCAA Division 1 wrestler was scheduled in a championship bout for a major MMA promotion. He talked about competing in such an environment.
“There was no pressure really. I was built for this role, and I have been chosen to do what I’m doing by the creator of all things,” Jenkins continued. “It meant a lot. they say vindication is in the womb of timing and it was only a matter of time until my hard work and skill were put on display for the world to see.”
Bubba Jenkins used his high-level wrestling to out-grapple then-champion Elias Boudegzdame over five rounds to capture the 145 belt. He talked about how he celebrated after the big win.
“The belt is awesome and it hangs in view to show what God has done. I gave honor and glory to whom it was due. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brought me to that position and I was able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Most saw me dancing on a yacht and living life with my wife which was a beautiful thing.”
Now atop the throne of a major organization, Jenkins hoped that he would stay active, but he hasn’t seen action for almost a year. Eventually, he began showing interest in bouts outside of his weight-class, including one with the man he had just defeated for the belt, Elias Boudegzdame. The stipulation, Boudegzdame would have to capture the bantamweight crown at Brave CF 22.
“I can only fight when they have someone for me to fight. I’ve been prepared since November but I’m a man of understanding and timing is everything,” Jenkins stated. “I was just pointing out the fact that if he won, all I would have to do is beat the scale and the title would be mine because I was not truly challenged by the former champion. I look at all possibilities to make history, I’m led by my calling and what the Lord has for me. So, that includes my weight, bantamweight, as well as lightweight.”
He spoke about facing Martins, a former UFC fighter and interim Brave lightweight champion who is coming off of an injury to his leg that resulted in him failing to capture the promotion’s undisputed 155 belt.
“He’s a tough former champion that gains respect with his powerful punches, but I believe he will struggle making weight as he has before. I also believe he will be much slower because he is in his later days of competing.”
At Brave CF 18 Martins challenged for the vacant lightweight title, facing Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady to crown a new champ. The fight ended quickly, with Martins getting outstruck on the feet before suffering an injury during a Selwady takedown. Jenkins spoke about what he saw in the fight.
“I saw that his quiet button was and is very high to the surface. I’m not saying he doesn’t have heart, because I’ve seen him have heart against the current lightweight champion, I’m just saying that I will likely make him quite with my style of fighting.”
I asked if he would test the leg of Martins in the fight and Jenkins said he’ll test everything.
The fight surprised many because of Martins being awarded a title fight in another division while coming off of a loss. Bubba Jenkins doesn’t like it, but plans to give him what he asked for tomorrow night.
“His team asked for this fight and I’m not sure why. I feel it is very disrespectful against the work I have put in, but hey, he wants smoke, and I’m bringing all the heat to his front doorstep.”
Before joining Brave, Bubba Jenkins made his name in MMA in Bellator. Being one of the top featherweights in Bellator, it came as a bit of a shock when he departed the promotion for international opportunities.
“My calling and destiny have a destination and it wasn’t there. I know my value, they did not,” he continued. “I truly don’t care what Bellator is doing. I have no care or want of the whereabouts of any of my ex’s. I live my life moving forward. It is hard to drive a car as fast as I drive looking in the rearview mirror. Brave is doing much more for the sport of MMA and MMA fighters than Bellator could fathom. I have always been one for the sport and its fighters and organizations who care nothing for that are not in my interest.”
Due to his inactivity over the last year, I asked the Black House representative if he would be open to competing outside of Brave while under contract in order to stay active.
“I’m the champion for the organization and will continue being so. I don’t believe that is in my calling cards,” Jenkins went on. “I see Brave making trips around the world and making the sport grow, and if they would like me to challenge others to make this cause more major and apparent to the world then I’m in. I love making history.”
So, what should fans expect tomorrow night? Will Jenkins call anyone out? If you ask him, there’s no need.
“I have been appointed for this role and I am ready to show the world what God is doing in my life. I’ll be two-time champion, so there will be no need to call for anyone. I’ll be sitting at the top of the mountain again waiting for my next challenger.”
Wrapping up the interview, Bubba Jenkins wanted to give thanks before heading out to battle.
“My boys at Black House and my guy Nick Gilardi at Impact Jiu-Jitsu in Oregon have been getting me ready for this fight. Most importantly, I would like to thank God and my Lord Jesus. I’m not religious, I’m spiritual and I have a fellowship and relationship with the true and living king. Everything I am, he’s made me, and everything I have, he gave me.”
Brave CF 24 airs LIVE tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. EDT on the FiteTV app. You can purchase the event for $9.99 or with 15 Fite credits through the app.