Alan Jouban trying to change up his ‘trigger button’



UFC welterweight prospect Alan Jouban has to keep his face in tact, as he is not just a fighter, but a male model as well. At UFC Fight Night 47, Jouban made his Octagon debut and it came with some excess damage. Yes, he took home ‘Fight of the Night’ honors for his first round knockout. However he came out slow and was rocked by Seth Baczynski before hitting his kill switch.

This tactic is not something that the EPOK Agency talent wants to hold on to forever, in fact he thinks a psychologist might be something to invest in to stop him from being like Rocky.

“100%, I’m thinking about getting a shrink or something.,” Jouban told MMASucka.com. “Maybe I need to go into hypnosis or something and talk to some sports psychologists to find out why is it that my trigger button is getting punched in the face before I actually go into that mode. That’s not a good high percentage move to have, getting punched in the face before you do great. I’m definitely trying to erase that and trying to change my strategy up. It’s just something that comes with nerves — you get in the fight and you’re real hesitant, then there’s this invisible boundary between you and the guy. You nervously don’t want to jump in too much and then as soon as I get hit in the face, that just disappears and I don’t see any kind of barrier in between me and my opponent. I’ve been working on starting not too fast, but I’m starting at the same pace that I’m somewhat finishing the fight. Rather than starting slow, getting rocked and then coming back like Rocky. It’s just too dangerous of a game to do that at this level.”

(Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)

(Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)

Rewind a few years, prior to his UFC debut, Jouban fought four times inside the RFA cage. He was still young in his professional MMA career, beginning his journey in just 2011. Riding a five-fight winning streak, the now 32-year-old wasn’t initially going to sign with RFA, it was the Canadian promotion Maximum Fighting Championship that showed interest first.

With both organizations airing live on AXS TV, Jouban knew that eyes would be on him. There were two things that sealed the deal with RFA — the fact that they weren’t trying to compete with the UFC and that he didn’t have to travel up north to fight a few times a year.

After his RFA debut, everything changed. You may say, a light bulb switched on in his head.

“We were definitely trying to get in the UFC when I was on that streak. Looking back now, everything happened for a reason. I made my RFA debut and I had a real tough victory against a guy named Chris Spang. It was a great fight and it ended up getting ‘Fight of the Year’ that year for the RFA. That kind of elevated me and my career. I really knew after that, going through a tough battle, I ended up finishing him, but it was late in the third round — that kind of elevated me mentally in the sport. After that I went and took a title fight, we went five rounds and I lost a five round decision. But like I said, looking back on it, getting to go five rounds in a main event title fight live on AXS TV was a great learning experience for me. I learned what I was lacking, in what areas I needed to make up in and after that fight I realized I needed to change up my camp. From there I went over to Blackhouse and it was a change that was much needed. Since then I’ve become a much better fighter physically and when to put it on in the cage and when to take risks.

“We were actually in talks with the MFC and RFA at the time,” said Jouban. “MFC is another great organization, I was always watching them on TV and they were actually the first to offer us a deal. We almost took it, but then RFA came on the table with their deal, we went with the RFA for that reason alone. They were here locally, where I didn’t have to travel to Canada and they weren’t trying to compete with the UFC, they are trying to be a feeder. It made sense.”

The Blackhouse fighter’s most recent appearance inside the cage was at UFC Fight Night 56 against Warlley Alves last November. Many fans were puzzled after the judges scorecards were read and the TUF Brazil 3 middleweight champion was declared the victor.

The loss still weighs on Jouban, but it’s not eating him up inside the way many losses do to fighters.

Jouban“It’s always there in the back of my mind, but I am definitely not dwelling on it. If people ask me about it and I look back at it, I feel like Warlley is a tough guy and he’s going to do great in the UFC. But I feel that deep down inside he knows that I beat him up that night. He knows that in his heart and I’m not mad at him. The judges made a decision, but he knows that he was looking for a way out and at the end of the fight he collapsed, I had my hands raised, but the judges gave him the nod. You kind of take something from that. I didn’t get the kind of money that I wanted to make, I didn’t get the win bonus and I also didn’t get performance of the night bonus or fight of the night bonus. So that was the most unfortunate thing — having a loss on my record now that should have been a win and I wasn’t able to bring home money for my family that I feel like I should have got.”

At UFC 184, Jouban takes on TUF Nations cast member Richard Walsh. He knows that Walsh is a guy that likes to get in there and grind. That is something that he will be looking to open up and work his own game.

“Richard Walsh seems like a real tough guy. He seems like a smart guy, like he’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’s motivated. He doesn’t seem like the guy that’s going to mess around in training camp or take a fight lightly. I think he takes every fight seriously. He’s kind of got that caveman look going and that’s how he seems. He’s a very strong guy physically and he looks pretty tough mentally. He goes in there and he’s a hard guy to take out. I think he’s kind of a grinder, he’s going to go in there and plant his feet, throw hard punches and if your chins in the way you’re going to get dropped. That’s something I need to stay away from. I think that if I can stay off of the cage and if I do get on the cage, make him work, tire him down and then get off the cage and slow the fight down. I think I’m going to find his openings and take him out.”

Fighting in front of your hometown crowd can be a blessing or a complete disaster. Luckily this isn’t the first time the California native has fought in his sunny back yard. He began his career there and there will be no pressure on his shoulders from that, the pressure will be the fact that this fight is live on PPV in front of millions of eye balls.

“Definitely not mine. The pressure with this fight comes because we’re fighting on a main PPV card at the Staples Center in front of a huge audience,” he said. “As far as fighting at home, I don’t think it’s going to be that much pressure or I don’t think it’s going to change anything. Fighting in the UFC on PPV and all that stuff, I’m going to be super nervous, but I’m not going to really be thinking I’m fighting at home and I have to do well. I started my fighting career in California, so I’ve fought in California many times where I had to sell hundreds of tickets and with the UFC, I’m not really selling tickets I’m just going out there and doing my job. It’s kind of less pressure in that regard. I don’t know what his mind set is, he’s got a long flight coming here and that he is coming into my territory to fight me. I think the pressure is on him, but I’m not feeling it right now.”

There are guys like Neil Magny who have amassed a very big win streak, yet haven’t been able to crack the UFC’s top-15 rankings. Jouban knows he’s outside of this as well and doesn’t necessarily think a win over Walsh will put him there. What he does know however, is a victory at UFC 184 will put him back on pace to where he thinks he should have been after his last fight.

“Neil Magny is doing his thing and I’ve got respect for him. It’s because he’s fighting guys that are kind of in the bottom or the middle of the pool. He’s climbing the ladder, but he’s not really fighting a tougher and tougher guy every time. He’s kind of fighting the guy every time as far as rankings.

“A win over Richard Walsh, we’re both coming off of a loss. It’s not going to jump us up too much, but I think for me, a lot of people saw the potential with me in my UFC debut. A lot of people realize that in my last fight, I pretty much got robbed and I took out a really top prospect. So I think a win over Walsh gets me right back on track to where people saw me.”

Fighters tend to visualize and do a lot of mental training prior to their fights. For Jouban, he has seen this bout go down plenty of ways. The one thing that stays the same in all of his dreams, is his hand being raised at the end of the night.

“I’ve seen it a lot of different ways. I see me taking him out, I see me knocking him out. I think we’re going to scrap it up in the beginning, we’re going to be on the cage, I’m going to shove him off a couple times and the fights going to slow down. As it slows down, I’m just going to find those openings and I’m going to rock him one time. As soon as I rock him, I’m just going to be in kill mode and I’m going to finish him off. I have my hand raised and hopefully there’s a bonus at the end of the night.”

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of MMASucka.com, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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