Jumabieke Tuerxun’s road to MMA stardom starts in Macau, March 1st

You can be forgiven for not knowing who Jumabieke Tuerxun is. After all, having competed primarily in mainland China throughout his career, the 27-year-old has chosen to remain quiet on what has been an immaculate rise in his quest for Mixed Martial Arts stardom.

But what you do need to know is this – he is, without a doubt, one of the most dangerous combatants coming out of the Asian ranks.

Despite record keepers like Sherdog having ‘The Wild Wolf’ at 14-0, Tuerxun has, in fact, made over thirty appearances in his professional MMA career thus far. And, he’s reigned victorious in every single one of them.

“Just this December, I did three fights in a single month,” Tuerxun told Fight Sport Asia, through his manager Bill Eng. ”It honestly doesn’t matter what other records have me at.”

Tuerxun, whose heritage and roots extend to Kazakhstan, becomes just the second Chinese MMA fighter to ply his trade in the octagon next week when he makes his promotional debut on the UFC’s TUF: China Finale.

And after stints with Legend FC, where the 27-year-old reigned as a Bantamweight champ for a brief period of time, and RUFF, he feels he’s more than ready ahead of his UFC debut on March 1st.

“I am very excited to be the second fighter to join the UFC roster. I have trained very hard for this to happen,” Tuerxun continued. “I feel that I have lots of pressure to win, not only for myself, but also for my ethnic people from Kazakhstan, who are some of the best fighters in the world. I have to show them that I am a champion.”

Jumabieke Tuerxun poses for the camera for his post-fight victory celebration at a RUFF event.

Jumabieke Tuerxun poses for the camera for his post-fight victory celebration at a RUFF event.

Hailing from the western part of Xin Jiang, China, Tuerxun first took interest in wrestling, which he says is a popular sport in those parts. In 2005, he joined the provincial ShaanXI free-style wrestling team at Xian Sports Institute in hopes of tuning up his grappling skills. But three years later, after witnessing a Sanda team compete in Martial Martial Arts contests, everything changed.

“I watched many of the Sanda team (members) fight in MMA and realized that in USA, many of the fighters have a wrestling background,” he explained. “I gained the interest to try it so I asked my coach to let me go over to the Sanda team to train and before you know it, I got an MMA fight. Just after a few weeks of training, I was asked to fight and I got hooked. I never went back to the wrestling team and instead stayed with the Sanda team to train in MMA.”

Now, after amassing more than thirty pro MMA bouts on his resume, Tuerxun finds himself on the cusp of competing on the world’s largest combat platform.

And, after seeing his compatriot Zhang Tie Quan struggling to hit his stride in the octagon, Tuerxun feels that learning from Zhang’s mistakes will make it a tad easier for his UFC career.

“I think the first fighter will always have the hardest time because there are no mentors to take experience from,” Tuerxun said. “So being the second Chinese fighter to go to the UFC is much easier, because I am learning from his experience. It also has to do with many things outside the ring as well as inside the ring. I set my own goals for myself and be the best possible fighter I can be.”

Naturally, you’d expect guys like Tuerxun to be immune to nerves ahead of their UFC debuts. After all, he’ll be making his promotional debut on the heels of a couple of years’ experience. So surely the proverbial UFC jitters has to be out of the question? The 27-year-old certainly thinks so.

“I have had many challenging fights that have prepared me for my UFC debut,” he said. “Once I step into the ring or cage, my mind goes blank and I don’t think of anything but my game plan and beating my opponent. I’m not worried.”

Right after Chinese New Year, the cold conditions in China prompted the Asian MMA staple to take his training camp to Phuket, Thailand, where he felt the warm weather would be pivotal for his training regimen.

Tuerxun, along with his training partners at Phuket Top Team.

Tuerxun (far right), along with his training partners at Phuket Top Team.

And as with fellow UFC combatants Will Chope and Wang An Ying, Tuerxun decided to link up with Phuket Top Team, to hone his skills ahead of his scheduled appearance at the TUF: China Finale.

“I heard of many good things of PTT (Phuket Top Team) and it was a logical choice for me to train there. They have many high level foreign fighters too,” Tuerxun said. “The experience has been phenomenal. I have been doing cardio training, MMA training, wrestling, BJJ, and Muay Thai. Some of the guys I’ve been training with include Ian Entwistle, Don Carlos Claus, Andrew Leone, and Muay Thai champions like Nonsai Sor Sanyakorn. Overall, it’s been perfect.”

Mark Eddiva (5-0), Tuerxun’s opponent on March 1st, will have designs on pulling off an upset over his heavily favored opponent come fight night. But the 27-year-old would love to have something to say about that.

And the records will probably go right out the window as well. According to Tuerxun, his Sanda team has been battling Mark Eddiva’s Team Lakay camp for years. That has, in a rather reticent way, created an ambitious rivalry between the two teams.

Making matters worst for Eddiva is the fact that the Filipino fighter hasn’t competed in a pro MMA contest in nearly three years. But that’s not going allow Tuerxun to underestimate his opponent on any level though.

“I think this will be a good fight at the highest level. If the UFC chooses Mark Eddiva, then he is at the same level as his team mates. It’s going to be a long 15 minutes of action,” added Tuexuan.

“I train hard for every fight because you never know what can happen. There is no easy fight, or easy wins. Mark (Eddiva) is taking this fight seriously and his team have some very strong fighters. The Team Lakay guys have good cardio from training in the mountains and well rounded skill sets as their ethnic fighting style has some good throwing techniques.”

“Mark is also bigger and taller than me. It’s gonna be a serious fight, man. The UFC is going to be a life changer for either of us that wins.”

And with Brazilians and the Americans dominating the various divisions, Tuerxun is looking ahead to accomplish a monumental task – he wants to be the promotion’s first ever Asian champ.

“I do not want to let my compatriots, my family, teammates and coaches down. Many people have spent their time training with me and helping me prepare for fights,” the 27-year-old concluded. “I am one of the few guys in China that fights MMA from a freestyle wrestling background, which I believe puts me in advantage over many opponents. I train in a camp that has over 100 fighters and now I am able to train overseas with some of the best fighters in the region. I’m positive in my chances in becoming the UFC’s first Asian champion.”

***

Jumabieke Tuerxun vs. Mark Eddiva goes down at the TUF: China Finale at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China on March 1st.

The bout, set in the UFC’s Bantamweight division, will kick off the night’s proceedings on UFC Fight Pass, beginning 5:45 a.m. ET/2:45 a.m. PT.

The event will be headlined by a Welterweight clash between top contenders John Hathaway (17-1) and Dong Hyun Kim (18-2-1, 1 NC). The conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter: China series will also take the spotlight, with fighters Zhang Li Peng (6-7-1), Wang Sai (6-4-1), Yang Jian Ping (6-3-1), Ning Guang You (3-2-1) all eyeing for that lucrative six-figure contract with the UFC.

*Photo credit: Jumabieke Tuerxun

*Click here to check out the full fight card

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Thinesh John is a Singapore-based MMA writer. You can check out some of his work over on MMASucka.com. Follow him (@ThineshJohnMMA), and be sure keep up with the latest Asian MMA news from FightSportAsia.com on Twitter (@FightSportAsia) and Facebook

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Categories: Asian MMA, China, Featured, Interview, MMA, Phuket Top Team, UFC

Author:Thinesh John

20, Asian MMA nerd in Singapore.

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