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TUCK’S CLOSEST SUPPORT SYSTEM

Jon Tuck has a lot of big supporters, but none bigger than his daughter and fiancée .

By Patrick Lujan

Behind every successful athlete there is a great supporting system.

None is more important than the 100% support from the athlete’s ‘significant other’.

For UFC fighter Jon Tuck, the countless hours in the gym and the relocation to Arizona to focus on his MMA career has had the full support of fiancée Christiana Cruz. Without that, the grueling fight game would be much harder.

As Tuck prepares for his fourth UFC fight this weekend in UFC 178, GSPN looks at a different angle of MMA: the perspective of a supporting loved one.

Always supportive, Christiana is there when Jon gets recognized by the Guam Legislature for his athletic achievements. (courtesy photo)

Always supportive, Christiana is there when Jon gets recognized by the Guam Legislature for his athletic achievements. (courtesy photo)

GSPN: Jon already started combat sports when you first dated. Did you know he would be this good an athlete?

Cruz: At first when I met him I didn’t know he even was a fighter. Surprisingly enough I found out that he is pretty good at it.

GSPN: For reals, are you comfortable with him being in the fight business?

Cruz: Yes and no. There are some things that I do not like, for example him getting seriously hurt/injured or the constant hits to his head. But then this is a really great opportunity for him.

GSPN: It’s a big sacrifice for him to move to Arizona to train full-time. What has that done for your young family?

Cruz: We did move to Arizona for a year, but decided to move back to Guam because we felt it was best for our daughter to grow up with her family. Jon goes for camps to AZ and it is hard at times to be away from him, but in the end all the sacrifices pays off when he gets his hand raised.

GSPN: You’ve been to all his off-island fights: Manila, Macau, Manchester and Albuquerque. You’re heading out again this week. Why is it important for you to be at all his fights?

Cruz: I have had the privilege of going to all his fights from the help of my father. It does become expensive flying from Guam to the US and if I couldn’t fly for free I wouldn’t have been able to make most of them. It is awesome for Jon and I that I always get to go, but if I can’t make it because of anything we know that he is out there for one mission and I will be there with him in spirit.

GSPN: I’m sure you’re nervous during his fights. When does the nervousness kick in? How early?

Cruz: I don’t really get nervous until the actual day of his fight. It doesn’t hit me until he leaves to go prepare, because the next time I see him, he’ll be in the ring. But the real “throw up” nervousness doesn’t kick in till I know he is the next fight. Once I see him coming out all the anxiety starts and doesn’t stop till the end.

GSPN: How about during the fights – do you have any rituals? What are you thinking when he’s in battle?

Cruz: A million things crosses my mind when he is fighting. With this sport anything can happen so you always have a mix of emotions, add adrenaline and that is exactly how I feel.

GSPN: What’s the difference in feeling between him winning and losing?

Cruz: Well of course, it sucks when he loses. But win or lose we both feel it the same way.

GSPN: As a fiancée , I’m sure you’d want him to stop fighting all together, but how important is it to support him?

Cruz: I would never want him to stop doing what he loves to do. It gets hard at times, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

Tuck even got Christiana into jiu-jitsu. (courtesy photo)

Tuck even got Christiana into jiu-jitsu. (courtesy photo)

GSPN: Are you his biggest fan?

Cruz: I am one of his biggest fans, but I think that his daughter is his number one fan!

GSPN: When do you want him to stop fighting?

Cruz: It is all up to him! When he feels he is ready to retire from the sport then that is his decision, but as long as he is healthy he won’t stop fighting for a long time.

 

Tuck (8-1) takes on on 22-year-old Kevin Lee (8-1) from Michigan to open the UFC 178 card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Sunday, Chamorro Standard Time.

 

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DID U KNOW?

Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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