JockPharm had the opportunity to have a chat with professional MMA Fighter Justin Wetzell. Justin grew up in a small town called Sterling in Illinois. He started wrestling in Middle School and he also wrestled throughout high school. “Believe it or not, I and a buddy on my wrestling team organized a fight club that we ran out of high school! It was nuts, we had gloves, mouthpieces, vaseline, and even “judges” After wrestling was over I wasn’t satisfied with how things ended, so I wanted to keep competing but I was also over wrestling.” That was his base before getting into MMA.
There are a lot of stereotypes that fighters have to confront. One of the stereotypes is the mentality that MMA fighters are a bunch of aggressive angry brutes that always want to fight. To Justin MMA is the purest sport, it is the ultimate form of competition. Justin has been training for 10 years and competing for 9, his first fight was in February 2011. He trains with Team Elevation in Denver Colorado. Since moving to Denver and training with some of the top-level people in the sport Justin has improved greatly his starting out point and his stand up which was his weakest. Justin’s favorite fighting style is “hit and not get hit”. “It is crucial to never underestimate an opponent, always prepare for them to be the best possible version of themself.
We talked about what it takes to become a known professional fighter in society ruled by social media. In order to be a successful fighter, it is not purely about being good in the sport and having a great record anymore. “in this era, it’s about being an entertainer and capturing eyeballs. whether it be on social media, the weigh-ins, or your walkout, it’s all about capturing an audience.”
There are many challenges that professional fighters face and one of the challenges is overcoming a loss and taking time off competing due to injuries. Justin is familiar with both. In 2018, he injured his knee very early in the 2nd round. Despite that, he managed to stay composed and win the fight by the unanimous decision even with significant damage to the leg. “Losing a fight is apart of this sport, you can either feel sorry for yourself and let it break you or you can use it as an opportunity to learn and become a better version of yourself. That being said, losing sucks.”
We continued talking about the challenges and the importance of investing in yourself. It it is absolutely crucial for professional fighters to be aware of mental health and to invest in own well being. Justin told us that he takes care of his mental wellbeing by staying physically healthy and active. “Fighting has taught me I can only control what I can do and fighting is what lead me into the world of health & nutrition”. Being physically healthy includes a very strict diet as it also helps Justin make the weight which is 135lb/61kg. Justin follows intermittent fasting with 8 hours of eating window. His diet consists of whole, organic diet with Healthforce. Healthforce is a company that produces algae powders (spirulina, chlorella.) On his cheat day, Justin enjoys a cheat meal either of pizza or Chinese.
Justin is fortunate enough to be in a position where he can work and still train full time while being able to get by financially. During his free time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, playing cards with friends, playing video games, and spikeball. One thing it is important to know about Justin is that he is a big Dragon Ball Z fan. When asked which character he identified himself with, he answered “As much as I love Frieza, it has to be Vegeta. His goal is to become the strongest fighter in the universe, pretty respectable.” In the near future, Justin plans to land a spot short notice for the UFC/Contender Series. We wish him all the best and no doubt he will achieve great things in his carrier. Connect with Justin on JockPharm!
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