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Q&A WITH UFC’S JON TUCK

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By Patrick Lujan

My, what hard work can do. Mangilao resident Jon Tuck went from an asthma-suffering kid to becoming Guam’s first ever UFC fighter.

Tuck will be fighting Nov. 10 in UFC Macao against Chinese fighter Zhang Tiequan in a lightweight bout, culminating in years of hard training and dream seeking.

In his first interview since the announcement, Tuck sits down with GSPN to discuss his dream becoming a reality.

GSPN: When did you first hear that you were selected to fight in the UFC Macao event and how did you feel?

Tuck: It felt awesome and was full of excitement when I found out recently that I am going to fight in UFC Macao.

GSPN: Has it sunk in yet that you’ve made it to the highest level of MMA?

Tuck: It has definitely sunk in that I made it to the highest level of MMA. It shows that no matter where you are from, as long as you put in hard work, discipline and sacrifice, you will get you to where your heart desires. It was only a matter of time before I got here and now I can show the rest of the world the exciting fighter that I am through the UFC!

GSPN: How about all the support you get not only here but also off island from the Guam fans? You already broke the GSPN record for most hits for a story, and it’s still growing.

Tuck: It is definitely incredible, not only from the people on Guam but from all parts from around the world. I really appreciate the love and support I get.

GSPN: You’re coming off a knee injury while training for the PXC lightweight title fight. Is that going to affect you leading up to the Nov. 10 event?

Tuck: I wasn’t cleared by the doctors in time to fight in the Philippines. I am healed and will be going into the fight on Nov. 10 injury free.

GSPN: You once said that you got into combat sports (MMA/BJJ) to get into shape. Did you ever think you would get this far?

Tuck: I trained to get in shape and change my overall well-being as a person. I had a couple of dreams when I first started training. I thought if B.J. Penn came from an island and become a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu in a short amount of time and fight for the UFC, so could I. I just have to put in more hard work and win my fights in the UFC. The black belt will follow.

GSPN: You caught the eye of Dana White and UFC officials during your tryouts for the Ultimate Fighter earlier this year. Unfortunately, you had the toe injury that the whole world saw. Do you think that injury was a blessing in disguise?

Tuck: The injury was a blessing in disguise. I believe God did not want me to go into ‘ the house’. My daughter was born a week before I fought on the show. He wanted me to display enough skill to impress the world that I belong in the UFC. God wanted me to come back home to my newborn daughter and girlfriend so that I watch her grow and gain more fire and inspiration from her. I would not have it any other way.

GSPN: Will your preparation for this fight change any because it’s the UFC?

Tuck: My preparation will not change for this fight. I always train to be a champion and fight like it’s my last.

GSPN: Sheesh. We were hoping you were going to roll in the GSPN Jiu-Jitsu Open, which is the same day. Would you have rolled in the GSPN Open and do you encourage other jiu-jitsu practitioners to join?

Tuck: Before I found out that I was fighting in the UFC, I set my sights on becoming the first GSPN Open Brown Belt Champion. I greatly encourage all the BJJ players from the region to compete, add a great competition and preferably a gold medal to your accomplishments.

GSPN: Win or lose, you already have made Guam proud. Do you feel any pressure behind carrying the pride of Guam on your shoulders?

Tuck: I feel that I handle pressure very well. Carrying the Guam Flag is not only an honor but also a privilege and I will give it my all to represent where I am from!

I want to thank God for continuously blessing me. I also want to thank my inspirations Bubbie & Chrissy, Familian Taki, IT&E, IP&E, Attorney Shimizu & Associates, LOHAS Chiropractic, Ray Martinez at Calvo’s Insurance, John Calvo, Ready Fight Gear, Brian Bamba, BJ Payne, L. Cubz, Jeff Clark @ NCFC Elite, Competidor Brand, Expression Studios, Affiliated Lifestyles, APPA, DLX, UA, Countershot, SPK/Ground Fu, Arena MMA, Hafa Adai Signs, Chris at Dr. Yang’s Dental Clinic, GSPN and fans, friends and family from around the world who helped me get to where I am at today.

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