Ahead of UFC 182, Myles Jury isn’t afraid to admit he’s human. Nerves, tension and butterflies have all been mounting for him. Leading up to what he calls “the biggest challenge of [his] career on paper and in the Octagon”, Jury is well aware this is a test he must pass to ascend in the UFC’s lightweight division.
When he locks horns with Donald Cerrone (25-6, 1 NC) in the co-main event, Jury aims to keep his spotless 15-0 record in tact. Since appearing on The Ultimate Fighter season 15, he’s earned 6 wins in the UFC. Significant victories over Diego Sanchez and Takanori Gomi respectively, launched him into the division’s top ten. Currently perched at no. 8 overall, “Fury” will meet the no. 4 ranked Donald Cerrone on Jan. 3 at UFC 182.
Jury knows “Cowboy” Cerrone specifically asked to collide with him. Following his win over Sanchez (a teammate of Cerrone’s at Jackson-Winklejohn’s in Albuquerque) Jury said some things that rubbed his latest adversary the wrong way. Jury told The Fight Corner he didn’t think his words were that incendiary.
“It was just an honest statement after the fight,” said Jury. “And if you rewind that, and you see all this crap Diego Sanchez was talking about me before the fight and tweeting me, I didn’t say nothin’. And basically it was just like a comment that was like, ‘Man, after all that crap somebody talks, I would have expected more from him.’ So honestly, I feel like he needs to talk to his boy Diego about runnin’ his mouth before a fight.”
“I don’t like to talk trash,” Jury added. “I don’t need to talk trash to motivate myself for a fight. I feel like I’m becoming a better fighter each and every fight, you know. I’m a handful for anybody in the division. People can take it how they want it.”
On paper, the matchup appears to be one that pits a veteran against a new breed fighter. Training out of Alliance MMA in San Diego, Ca., Jury never just focused on any one discipline in martial arts. When he came into the sport, his background involved only some taekwondo and jiu jitsu. He had done some wrestling in high school and later picked up kickboxing and boxing. Eventually, he stopped attending Oakland Community College to dedicate himself to becoming a mixed martial artist.
“Basically, I’ve always had the mindset of…wherever this fight goes, I want to be the best at it. I’ve never wanted to get comfortable or attached to one martial art, like striking, or wrestling, or grappling. I kind of wanted to use them all,” said Jury.
On the other hand, Cerrone was a Muay Thai practitioner and competed in kickboxing before trying his hand at MMA. Fighting professionally since 2003, Cerrone’s combat sports career was already in full swing when Jury was still attending high school.
Comparatively, Cerrone has fought high-caliber athletes like Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis, whereas Jury’s just getting started. As of now, Cerrone’s on a 5-fight win streak in which he’s collected four post-fight bonuses for his performances, Jury has yet to secure one in the UFC.
No matter what story the numbers and statistics tell, Jury believes he has the mental and physical edge to overcome any adversity his opponent may sling his way.
To prepare for the pressure Cerrone brings in the striking department, Jury’s brought in kickboxer Chaz Mulkey. Jury said the Muay Thai fighter’s standup is “better” than Cerrone’s and he’s confident that will help him with the challenges Cerrone may present in the Octagon.
But in recent times, the 26-year-old has found that his true advantage lies keeping a solid frame of mind. To grow and mature in all aspects, Jury hired a sports psychologist.
“At the cream of the crop of the sport, being in the top ten and everything, I feel like everybody’s good. What separates a lot of these people are the mental side, the emotional side. And having a sports psychologist, somebody that’s on the outside looking in that kind of helps me through the different challenges, through each fight and each training camp. It’s definitely like a secret weapon.”
But that doesn’t mean that he’s anxiety-free before a clash. However, instead of letting those nerves get the best of him, he uses them to manuever in the cage.
“I always have nerves no matter who the opponent is. Usually once I get into the Octagon, most of the nerves go away. You always have a little bit of butterflies that are in you when you’re out there fighting. That kind of keeps you loose. It keeps you not getting lackadaisical and stuff.”
On Saturday, Jan. 3, Myles Jury expects the culimination of his efforts to pay off when he confronts Donald Cerrone in the co-main event of UFC 182’s pay-per-view card. Headlining the event taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will defend his title against Daniel Cormier.