Featherweight Bubba Jenkins has been spreading his wings a little of late, serving as a commentator for TCL boxing in addition to preparing for his upcoming fight with Sung Bin Jo at this year’s PFL 4 card in Atlanta.
“Everybody knows the ‘Bad Man’s’ got a way with words,” Jenkins (20-6) said of the opportunity, his second time working the broadcast booth for TCL, while speaking with Cageside Press recently. “I’m definitely going to be looking into doing that a lot more; it’s a great opportunity for me because Team Combat League is an awesome league, and it’s a new thing that’s supposed to be happening.”
The time spent behind the desk watching and analyzing combat is something Jenkins believes has helped further his own skills as a fighter.
“Absolutely. One, it helps my striking because I’m commentating on boxing. Just seeing some of the different moves and maneuvers that they make, and being here with Paulie Malignaggi and different fighters of that ilk, they speak on things and they talk about things that help me understand different maneuvers and techniques to do,” said Jenkins. “So yeah, it definitely helps. And any time you can coach or teach or analyze a situation and commentate on it often, you can start really picking up the nuances to it. You might not be able to do it unless you go out and do that, but you definitely learn a lot. And when you put it together, you can grow fast.”
Jenkins started out the 2023 PFL season by avenging his loss to Chris Wade last year. Next up is South Korea’s Sung Bin Jo, who is getting a late start to his own PFL season.
“I’m excited about fighting Sung Bin Jo and his style,” Jenkins told us. “A lot of people have been waiting for Sung Bin Jo to fight, so we get to see him, and we get to see what the ‘Bad Man’ brings to Atlanta.”
With Jo not having been medically cleared for his first fight of the season, however, Jenkins admits he’s a little worried as to whether his opponent actually makes it to the fight.
“Absolutely. I’ve been saying that the whole time. You don’t really get to ask for anybody in this tournament, you just hope they give you the right opponent for you to advance,” said Jenkins. “When you’re one of the top guys, it really doesn’t matter, the opponent. You just show up ready to go.” With the tournament format and “hoping to have a fight and have those things,” Jenkins continued, “I need a good dance partner. If I have a good dance partner, you know the ‘Bad Man’ likes to dance, and he dance well. When it gets a little bit weird and sticky, I show up professionally and I just make sure I do my job. So yeah, I’m a little bit nervous that might be the case, but we’re expecting the best, healthy, on weight Sung Bin Jo that we’ve seen.”
A win over Jo, meanwhile, puts him in a good spot for the post-season. Ever the analyst, Jenkins broke that down. It all comes down to points, but Jenkins sees himself matched up with either Brendan Loughnane or Movlid Khaybulaev next.
“As it pertains to the points, if I knock somebody out, likely, because [Brendan] Loughnane’s already in the lead and they gave him somebody to kick on again, likely he kicks this guy to death like he just did, and he gets another six points or five points. I knock my guy out, that puts me and him at the top, and likely we fight in the playoffs, for the championship spot,” noted Jenkins. “Three rounds instead of five. He’d better hope he can get on that bike for three rounds and hope all the kicking is going to help him for three rounds instead of five.”
Whether it be three or five rounds, Jenkins looks forward to another fight with Loughnane, last year’s featherweight champ. “But if I knock my guy out and say Movlid does his best against Diamond, Tyler Diamond, which is an awesome match-up, and I just beat my guy, say I don’t knock my guy out, I just beat my guy, then likely I get the Movlid guy in the semis.”
That’s a match-up Bubba Jenkins likes as well. “I like Movlid in a 15 [minute fight] too. I like Movlid in 25 really, because he ain’t gonna— I’ll hold my tongue on the Movlid match-up, but let’s just say I like it. I like it in 15, I like it in 25. Either way, I like it.”
There’s one name Jenkins didn’t mention, and that’s Wade. Wade spoke to Cageside Press earlier this month, and said he wanted a third fight with Jenkins “in the worst way,” adding that “I have this feeling inside that I’m destined to get locked in there with him again one more time in the playoffs.”
Putting in mildly, Jenkins burst into laughter when informed of that comment. “Yeah alright. If that’s what he wants. He’d better call her back and make sure she’s been talking to the right person. Listen, I love that match-up. Any way, any day, any hour, any place, really, I would love that match-up. And he’s 100% right, I’ve got three rounds, he’s got three rounds, we must need a third match-up,” said Jenkins. “We do love trilogies, and that is one that I would love. Absolutely love.”
Watch our full interview with Bubba Jenkins above. Jenkins faces Sung Bin Jo at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, GA as part of PFL 4 on June 8, 2023.