Custom Search

Share MMA News

Share Share

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ultimate Fighter 10 "TUF 10" cast member Jon Madsen's road to UFC already crossed Brock Lesnar

Jon Madsen's first meeting with Brock Lesnar displayed the elements that would later make him one of the most intriguing up-and-coming heavyweights in mixed-martial-arts.Even though they were only in high school.Madsen was a freshman at Dolan High School in South Dakota, which was separated by about 45 minutes from Lesnar's town. That made the heavyweight wrestlers competitors in a high school event, and Lesnar, two years older, beat Madsen.Then the fireworks came."It's a funny story; I'm sure Brock still remembers," Madsen said. "The dual was over, and I look over and see my brother and him exchanging words, and I see him push off my brother. I grabbed my headgear and I whipped it at his head, but the coaches grabbed us before anything else happened. The whole crowd went nuts."Madsen used the same intensity to became a national champion college wrestler before earning his chance on "The Ultimate Fighter 10," which debuts next week on Spike TV. Still relatively inexperienced in the MMA world at 3-0, Madsen brings the toughness of small-town upbringing (his graduating class included eight people) and the support of an association with Matt Hughes to the popular reality show.Always one of the smaller heavyweights during his wrestling career, Madsen developed his athleticism to battle the bigger, sometimes stronger competitors. The same goes for life in the "TUF" house, where his small-town, laid-back personality sometimes clashed with the more brash personalities."The feedback I've gotten from the crew who worked on the show before is that they had so much good stuff the thought about extending it for an episode or two," Madsen said. "There's definitely some drama and some crazy drunk moments."Small-town scrapperDespite the lack of bodies at Madsen's South Dakota high school, there was no lack of enthusiasm for sports. On the wrestling team, for instance, there were 20 participants.Madsen had been involved in wrestling since age 4, and his parents transported him and his brothers to tournaments throughout the state. In third grade he was already 92 pounds. By the sixth grade, he had his first experience with understanding his size and strength."It was a regional tournament, and there was a kid there who was supposed to be good," Madsen said. "I picked him up a couple times, and some of the high school guys who were officials ran over because they thought I was gonna body slam him."He quit wrestling right then, and I thought, 'I might be good at this.'"He got better. Even though he was relatively small at about 205 pounds by the eighth grade, Madsen was put into the heavyweight role by a coach who wanted bragging rights against a neighboring town."They were at a meeting and that guy was talking up his heavyweight," Madsen said. "So he said, 'Screw it, I'll move you up.' I ended up pinning the kid, even though he was a senior and I was in the eighth grade. So I stayed up there."I've always been in better shape than the bigger guys, in good condition, better with technique."Madsen eventually left his town of about 400 for the seemingly booming metropolis of Brookings, S.D., which mushroomed to 20,000 in population when South Dakota State was in session. By his sophomore year, Madsen was the NCAA Division II national champion, and he became a three-time All-American at the school.His small-town roots made him more personable than some, and to this day he waves to people while driving past. But that doesn't mean he didn't find his share of troubles before his MMA career arrived.An outlet for roughnessAfter college, Madsen was searching for an appropriate path."I was on a destructive path," Madsen said. "I was drinking and partying and doing things to occupy my time. I wasn't focusing on any goals, I ended up in some prison for some stupid (expletive)."I finally had enough. I always liked competing and being in shape, working hard, and I thought, 'Why am I doing this?' "A friend told Madsen about a gym nearby, so in February 2007 he entered the world of MMA. It turns out that gym belonged to another guy with a wrestling background, Matt Hughes, and Madsen took to the training.MMA was an appropriate outlet for Madsen's aggressiveness."What can I say," Madsen said, "I like hitting people."Just three months after starting his training, Madsen took his first fight, which was also his professional debut. Even though he didn't know some of the specific moves and techniques of martial arts, Madsen relied on his aggressiveness.It paid off. He earned his first victory by knockout in 1:30."I was using more instincts than technique," Madsen said. "I was just trying to knock the guy's head off."After two more wins, Madsen got his chance with the "TUF 10" tryout in Seattle. His association with Hughes didn't hurt, but organizers liked his mix of athleticism, personality and toughness. Then, once he got on the show, Madsen was in a house with other big-bodied men like him. But don't think that a mass gathering of heavyweights necessarily means there was more aggressiveness."(Big guys) are probably some of the most laid back guys," Madsen said. "They've always been the big guy, so they didn't have to prove they were tough; they were intimidating because of their size."We were all there for the same thing, to compete."Like Madsen has been doing since he was the biggest third-grader around.

Shop Amazon Deals