Fighter to Watch

From the Gridiron to the Cage- Fury FC 69’s Austin Jones

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LINCOLN, Nebraska— Football is not just a game in this part of the country.  Everywhere you go throughout the state capital of Nebraska, whether at a bar for a drink, shopping in a department store, or simply at a gas station, there is no mistaking what these people are all about, Cornhusker football. It is impossible to not see someone in a University of Nebraska-Lincoln tee-shirt wherever you go or to see a flag perched outside of a local business adorned with the familiar red “N” flapping in the wind.

The fervor these people have for this team is surreal.  Last month, my wife and I were at a restaurant in Lincoln and we could not help but chuckle amongst ourselves when we overheard two young twenty-something-aged college kids talk excitedly about how the team could win five or maybe even six games next year. Five or six games?  Hardly the resume of a modern college football powerhouse but this degree of hardcore never say die fanaticism radiates throughout this town.

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The Football Player

Few people know more about Nebraska football firsthand than Austin “Osmosis” Jones. From 2008-2011 Jones was a reserve running back and a contributor on special teams for the Cornhuskers.  While he would play sparingly, Jones’ received recognition from his peers and coaches for being a good teammate and for his leadership skills during his time there. Following the 2010-2011 college football season, Jones knew his football playing days were behind him for good and when he would go on to graduate that spring, he found himself in the same position as many new college graduates, wondering what was next for him in life.

Jones would ultimately go on to move back to his home state of Colorado, and while he was not too sure which direction life would take him, there was one thing he knew he wanted to try his hand while he still had time on his side and that was at mixed martial arts.

The Fighter

For those that knew Austin well, perhaps the decision to take up MMA was not as completely out of the left field as it may have initially seemed.  After all, he had always been a very competitive kid growing up and had a decorated high school wrestling career. Still, the reception from the people in his life was mixed. Austin had his fair share of supporters that encouraged him to give it a try, while others simply shook their heads and called him crazy.

“Growing up I’ve always been competitive, and fighting seemed scary so I wanted to find a way to face my fears.” Jones told MMA Sucka. “It helps me handle fear outside of the cage as well. Now I embrace the MMA community as a whole which gives me energy in my fights.”

Beyond the Cage

Jones entered the amateur MMA scene in the summer of 2013 and began ripping off victories one after another to the tune of five wins in a row.  But despite his initial success in the ring, outside of it was where the real adversity had been encountered. With MMA training being the center point of his life, Jones encountered the type of life problem that almost every serious mixed martial artist is bound to encounter at one time or another, juggling his life as a mixed martial artist while holding down a half-way decent paying job simultaneously was proving to be a major obstacle.

“It was really hard to find and keep a job that would align with my training schedule, so I was always willing to walk away to the next job that would accommodate but even then, somehow, someway there was a conflict.  Bosses will always tell you they support your dream but when it comes down to it, they don’t, and I can’t blame them for that.  They have a business to run.”

Jones ultimately, turned to the gig economy and found work driving for Uber as it afforded him maximum flexibility.

“Uber was quite the experience, especially when you pick up the occasional customer that asks if fighting is your full-time gig or [asks] if you have ever been knocked out.”

Today, when he is not fighting or training, you can find Austin Jones teaching BJJ classes or helping out members of the members of Factory X MMA where he works as the Membership Manager.

The Main Event

Today at the age of 33, established in life beyond the cage and very much still in his athletic prime having won four out of his last five matches, Jones is looking to build off that momentum and perhaps get an opportunity to catch on with a major MMA promotion but first, he has a major test in front of him in Evan “The Butcher” Cutts 14-5, who he will be sharing the cage at Fury FC 69 in the main event slot.  While Jones is quick to praise his opponent, he remains hyper-focused on being the best version of himself come fight night and eliminating all other outside distractions.

Can the former D-1 College Football player and unlikely MMA Veteran pull out the victory against one of the top regional welterweights in the country? Will a win off Cutts be enough to for Jones to get a call from a major promotion? We are about to find out.

Fury FC 69: Jones vs. Cutts takes place on September 23, 2022 at 4:00 PM/ET and is available to stream live on UFC Fight Pass.

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Tyler Little has been covering MMA since 2021. In addition to writing for MMA Sucka, he is the creator and founder of the Mom's Basement MMA podcast. He lives in the Washington D.C. area with his wife and children and his black lab Molly. Follow him on Instagram @moms_basementmma

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