Jen Berg dominated kickboxing vet Lisa Jeanson Friday night December 18th in the main event at the Battle of Champions.. Berg controlled the action though-out the 1st round winning the exchanges and taking Jeanson down at the 4 minute mark and finishing the round with vicious ground and pound. Jeanson did not answer the the bell to start the second round. Berg wins TKO of the 1st round.
Cody Debuted Friday December at Battle of Champions against Greg Aldana. Mumma submitted Aldana in spectacular fashion via armbar in the first round of their scheduled 3 rounder.
As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to grow so does the amount of females that want to participate in the sport. Though mixed martial arts has been referred to as human cock fighting, many females still want to not only train mixed martial arts but compete at the professional level. With mixed martial arts gaining main stream acceptance, more and more fight promotions are starting to promote female fights. Strikeforce has even headlined an event with female fighters. MMARanked recently sat down with Grudge’s rising star Jen “Lil Ice” Berg to discuss the rise of the female side of MMA as well as her current and future plans for her own fight career.
MMARanked: What got you started in MMA?
Berg: I kick boxed in high school and college just as a way to work out. I needed something rough, I did not want to just run or light weights, I needed something more physical. I started MMA after college. I took a fight that I thought was going to be a kick boxing fight and was completely surprised when I showed up for my first day of training and we were on the mats working armbars and other submissions. I actually fell in love with mixed martial arts that first day. I knew that I wanted to compete, I wanted to push myself, I wanted to learn how to fight, I wanted to be able to fight and the type of person that jumps in with both feet. I immediately started to train four hours a day everyday and I figured that if I was going to put this much effort into then I needed to compete and I need to be the best.
MMARanked: So how does it feel to be a part of a sport on the ground floor and helping it grow?
Berg: It is an incredible feeling. I feel honored to be in the position that I am in. I am incredibly honored to be a representative of the sport, to participate in this sport, to be able to be around the other athletes and my teammates. I do feel incredibly lucky everyday. I also feel that it is a big responsibility to be in this position and I take it very seriously.
MMARanked: Where do you see the female side of the sport in the next 10 years?
Berg: I think that obviously it has grown significantly over the past few years and I certainly believe that that growth is going to continue. I do not it see it slowing down any time soon. I also think that this sport has the potential to explode if the right people get behind it. With organizations such as Strikeforce and Belator adding females to their cards I think that they are helping to launch the female side of MMA and it could get bigger than any of expected.
MMARanked: What are your goals as a female mixed martial artist?
Berg: As a competitor I want to be the very best. I want to be world champion. I want to be the best though, I do not just want to win fights, I want be the best mentally, physically, and emotionally. My own personal goals are to continue to improve my game, improve my skills and get it down to a perfect system so that when I am done with this sport people can look back and Jen Berg was a great athlete, a great competitor not just a world champion.
MMARanked: What do you think you as a female fighter needs to do to help the sport grow?
Berg: I think as a female fighter I have a responsibility to train harder then the males do, I need to constantly work on my skills and techniques. I expect perfection from myself in every way I think that it is important that I put in one million percent in everything I do. I do not think that it is enough to just be a girl that is tough or a girl that can fight, especially coming out of this gym. If the sport is going to grow then I need to cash the check that my mouth is writing so to speak, I need to use my skills, my cardio my strength, the total package to compete the same ways that the males do or people are going to be excited about seeing females fights. I think that is important for all women to see not just me. If we want the female side of the sport to succeed then we need to put in the time and do the work just like the males did.
MMARanked: Your are currently on a two fight losing streak, what do you need to do to get back to your winning ways?
Berg: I think that I need work on not questioning myself and trusting my skills. I think that in my last fight I held back a little bit because I had lost the fight before that and I think that it inhibited my performance a little bit. It made so that I fought her fight, I let her do what ever she wanted and I responded versus going in there and imposing my will. So my commitment to myself for my next fight is to make sure that I have confidence in my team and in my training camp and to go in there and leave it all in the cage. I think that win or lose if I go out there and leave it all in the cage then I will be happy but I think that if I leave the cage feeling like I held back then I think that I will feel like I sold myself short.
MMARanked: How quickly do you want to get back into the cage?
Berg: As soon as possible. You know I haven’t fought since July so I have taken a little bit longer of an off season then I typically do but I felt like I really needed to take a step back and refine my basic skills so that I could have the confidence that I need to go into my next fight with. I think that is was good for me to take a step back and developing myself a little bit more but I am really competitive and I like to stay active so I am itching to get back into the cage. I am hopeful that I will get one more fight before the end of the year. I am in shape and I have been training like I have a fight coming up so I am really eager to get back in there. However I also need the right fight. I can not take a fight just to take a fight. I need to fight some one that is close to my size so I am willing to wait for the right fight.
MMARanked: What do you consider to be your biggest strength as a fighter?
Berg: I definitely think that my kick boxing is my biggest strength and I think that unfortunately in my last two fights I did not showcase that. I have worked very hard over the past year developing myself as a well rounded fighter, working on my wrestling, my submissions and that kind of stuff but my kick boxing is my biggest strength it is what I have done the longest.
MMARanked: What has been your biggest obstacle as a female fighter?
Berg: I would have to say that I have been blessed in my journey and incredibly lucky to stumble across on some great people who believed in me and given me really great opportunities so I can not say that I have faced a ton of adversity or that I have had major obstacles. I think at my size my biggest obstacle is finding another fighter my size and finding the right fight for me that is not against someone that is a lot bigger then me.
Jen wanted to make sure that she thanked Trevor and Christina Wittman for their friendship and support.
Berg:Trevor is an amazing coach and I thank him for the opportunity for working with me and taking a chance on me. My husband because he has to put up with me everyday and I love him dearly. I really could not do what I do without him. In order for me to train full time he has to take care of everything at home and there is lot of thankless work that goes on behind the scenes. I would like to thank all of the coaches here at Grudge, Fareed Samad my boxing coach, Bryan Youngs my Mual Thai coach, Mark Huerta my wrestling coach, Paulino Ibarra also boxing coach. I want to give a special thanks to these guys for all of the time that they spend with me. Without them I would not be here. I would also like to thank Ricky Vasquez my manager for everything that he does for me. I would like to thank Greg Jackson for all of his coaching and I really want to thank my teammates for working with me, teaching me and supporting me.
Even though Jen Berg is coming off of back to back losses she is still one of the most exciting fighters that the sport has to offer. She consistently trains hard and continues to put herself in a position for success. As the female side of mixed martial arts continues to grow so will the name of Jen “Lil Ice” Berg.
Eliot Marshall is one of the best light heavy weight fighters not to be fighting on the big stage. Marshall earned himself a UFC contract after his performance on the Ultimate Fighter Seaon 8. Marshall won his first three fights against Jules Bruchez at the Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Finale, Vinicius Magalhaes at UFC 97 and Jason Brilz at UFC 103. Marshall lost his fourth fight to Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC Live Vera vs Jones and was later released by the organization. Since being released, Marshall has earned two straight victories over former UFC fighter Josh Haynes at Ring of Fire 39 and Adriano Camolese at the Bring the Thunder MMA: Someone’s Going Down event in September. Marshall is now looking for his third straight victory when he fights Chris Davis at Nemesis Fighting: MMA Global Invasion November 13, 2010 in Punta Cana, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic. Marshall took time away from his current camp to talk to MMARanked about his upcoming fight as well as the future of his career.
MMARanked: You are fighting November 13, 2010, how is camp going?
Marshall: Camp is going great. I have had an excellent camp. There are so many people in camp training for fights right now, Nate, Duane, Brendan just got done fighting, Chaun Sims is fighting on the same card as me, so everybody’s mentally is “kill” so it has made for a good camp.
MMARanked: Chris Davis is very tough opponent, what do you need to do to get a victory in this fight?
Marshall: Go. Just Go. I just got to let it go. If I let it go we are not going to see the end of the third round. That has been my problem in recent fights, holding back a little bit. I was just winning. I can win all day, it is time for me to not let them see the end bell.
MMARanked: What made you decide to take this fight?
Marshall: Why not? I won’t turn down any offers. I will take any fight. The only offers that I will turn down is if they want a long term contract. Now if they pay big money that is different. Also I will say this, I am not going to fight anybody that I have already beaten because that does not do anything for me. If I have already beaten you then don’t ask to fight me.
MMARanked: This will be your third fight in four months, how have you been able to stay healthy?
Marshall: I have the best strength and conditioning coach in the world, Loren Landow. He is a genius. He is just an absolute genius. My weight has never come off easier. I have been able to eat as much as I want the entire camp until a few days ago. Normally I have to eat salad for like eight weeks and I’d be all grumpy and moody. And now I can eat more. Loren is just a genius.
MMARanked: Assuming that you come away from this fight without any injuries how quickly do you want to fight again?
Marshall: Next week. I will fight again whenever there is another fight. Actually, I am going to go away for a couple of days after this fight so give me two weeks.
MMARanked: Is there any chance that we will see you fight in December?
Marshall: If I get the offer I am fighting. If I get the offer and its not for like a thousand dollars then I am fighting.
MMARanked: Your last five fights have gone to a decision, do you feel any added pressure to finish this fight?
Marshall: Oh yeah, I have to finish, it is a must. If I don’t finish this fight then I lose. That is just how I am seeing it from here on out. If I don’t finish my opponent then I lost.
MMARanked: Do you believe that a third straight victory will be enough to get you back into the UFC?
Marshall: No. A win alone is not good enough I have got to finish.
MMARanked: You recently signed with Alchemist Management, how do you believe that they will help your career?
Marshall: You know they have someone that is a huge face. Look at someone like MC Hammer, you know. Hammer has over two million followers on twitter. There is something to be said about that. I do not have two million followers. Even the most famous MMA guy does not have two million followers. So the thing is, you have to look at how Hammer is able to cross over to the different genres and the different people. I don’t care who you are, I am 30 years old and if you are 5 years plus or minus my age you liked MC Hammer and if you say you didn’t, you are lying. Everybody remembers him, so it is good. And my actual manager is Lex McMahon and he is a total work horse. I have been with him for two weeks and he has just been a work horse for me and I’m not even in the UFC.
MMARanked: You are widely acknowledge as an excellent jiu jitsu instructor and coach, is teaching and training fighters full time something that you are interested in?
Marshall: I am going to teach when I am done. Jiu Jitsu is what I love to do most. Like I love to fight. Fighting is a personal thing that I don’t think everybody can do. I think only a very select few can really fight, I mean not just take a fight here and there, but really fight. I think that it is a one percent type thing and it is not for everybody but Jiu Jitsu is for everybody. If you look at the true philosophy of Jiu Jitsu teaches not beating people up and making people tap but the discipline that it teaches as well as the idea of how to finish someone and how to come up and be a good black belt. It can really teach you the proper to way to live.
MMARanked: Many of your teammates and the guys that you teach and train with really look up to you, how have you accepted that role?
Marshall: I don’t even though that I have even accepted it. I don’t know, I guess I’ve been very fortunate in my life. I come from a good family, I have a good mom and dad and I never needed or wanted anything. So really that is just luck. It is just luck. I just happened to be born to the parents that I was born to and to have been given the opportunities that I have been given. So if I am lucky, then I need to help other people be lucky too. So when they meet me and they want to be around me and be my friend then I am going to do everything I can to help them and right now this is what I am doing. This is the area where I can help people. At the end of the day I don’t care about what happens in the fighting world, I want Chaun Sims to be the world champion. If I am the world champion then thats great but if Chaun is the world champion then I have succeeded. The world is bigger then just me.
As Marshall continues to work his way back to the top of the mountain he knows that he could not do it without his team. Marshall wants to thank everyone at Amal Easton Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Please go to EastonBJJ.com. Also, he wanted to thank everybody at Grudge Training Center as well as all of his coaches and teammates. Marshall knows that if he is going to get back to the UFC, he is going to need to rely on his excellent team of training partners, management and sponsors to help get him there.
Trevor Wittman, the owner and head trainer at the Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado, is on a mission to make a difference—and not just inside the Octagon.
Grudge, which is home to some of the sport’s finest athletes, including Shane Carwin, Rashad Evans, Nate Marquardt and Brendan Schaub, has quickly become one of the most sought-after mixed martial arts gyms in the world, and at this point in time, shows no signs of slowing down.
“Our gym has only been open for 15 months, and what we’ve done already is only the start,” said Wittman over the telephone. “We’ve got a great group of fighters. I turn down five fighters a week. We’re looking for the right guys—guys who are going to be consistent, be team-players, and like I said, come out with a positive attitude.”
Although Wittman is undoubtedly proud of his gym—certainly for good reason—the Denver native is ready to take on a much tougher opponent than anything the world of mixed martial arts has to offer, as Wittman has joined the crusade against bullying in his country.
“I was actually bullied because I was transferring schools so much, and I was so small. I was 4-foot-11, 92 pounds all the way up to eleventh grade, so every time I would move, I would always be the smallest kid in the school, so I was always getting picked on,” said Wittman, “It’s something that was going on when I was in school, and it’s still going on.”
To critics may who think that Wittman is only contributing to the bullying problem by teaching more kids how to mimic their favourite mixed martial artists, Wittman is quick to point out that his seminar will be far from just a self-defense class.In response to the problem, Wittman and his crew at Grudge have begun holding free anti-bullying seminars for victims of bullying every Saturday at their training facility in Denver.
“One thing that we will be teaching, it’s not just an MMA class that we’re going to be teaching to these kids,” said Wittman. “I want them to have people to speak to, because if they’re not getting that at school, sometimes they need someone to talk to. To have an extra source to go talk to, I think it would be great for the kids.
“I want to find a councillor, someone that works with the law enforcement, and just all the trainers from the gym. Everyone’s been really cool on the idea, and everybody’s been wanting to help us out.”
Although Wittman and his crew at Grudge have just recently begun putting on seminars, the future is bright for Wittman’s idea.
“My short-term goal, we’ll do it consistently every Saturday, we’re going to set up a time just for this, and my goal is to build up some type of structure—something that works, that I do for six months or a year, or once I get a structure built, I want to go to other gyms around the country… my goal is to get every state in the United States to have three-to-four gyms doing the same thing we are right now off of our structure.”
“It was probably about two weeks before Thanksgiving, and my wife had one of her friends who was trying to get some turkeys to help out the Denver Rescue Mission, so we jumped on board and started Tweetin’ it and tellin’ our members,” said a passionate Wittman, “We had a good turn-out… my wife’s and my truck were filled to the brim and we took it down to the Denver Rescue Mission, and handed them out to the people out there. Man, that was great, it was a great feeling.”As if working to rid his country of bullying wasn’t enough, Wittman recently took a swing at feeding the underprivileged in his hometown Denver.
As it turns out, Wittman’s Thanksgiving food drive for Denver’s underprivileged is only the beginning.
“That was our first time doing it, and with the response we got, this is going to be something we do on a continuous basis—whether it’s Thanksgiving, whether it’s Christmas, toy drives, whatever! We’re going to be doing all types of things like that.”
Not only has Wittman been able to reach the highest levels of his career, but he is also doing his part to make the world a better place to live in—a true role model.
Wittman, who enthusiastically describes his life as, “going great, having fun,” serves as a role model to not just those in the world of mixed martial arts, but all people, everywhere.
Finally, we have reached our last category for the ATO 2010 Colorado Awards. The last category is Female Pro Fighter of the Year. There are a lot of up and coming women fighters in the state and we narrowed it down to the best four. Please get your vote in by Dec. 19th.