Push his body to the limit to ensure he’s in peak physical condition.
That’s been the mindset of Jake Kelly since learning he would get a title fight against Corey Forsythe — the No. 1 ranked amateur bantamweight mixed martial arts fighter in Atlantic Canada — at Elite 1 MMA’s Cage Warriors event Nov. 4 at Casino New Brunswick.
“Don’t fix something that’s not broken,” Kelly said Tuesday. “I’m just making sure my fitness level is the best it can be and training hard.”
A 21-year-old black belt in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, a chiselled Kelly improved to 2-0 with a victory over Nova Scotia native Charles Haskett in 2016 with a rear-naked choke at 2:09 of the first round — his second finish by virtue of submission. He submitted Robbie Innes by rear-naked choke at 1:10 of the first round in his mixed martial arts debut at Extreme Cage Combat 23 in Halifax in 2015.
Kelly had two years of studies punched towards a physical education degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland before deciding this year he would take a break from the books and focus his efforts on training because of financial challenges.
“Being out in St. John’s with no money is not the funnest thing to do, right?” he said.
He’s back home on the west coast, living with his parents in Steady Brook, which is just fine for him when his dad Peter is helping him find his niche in the MMA world as his coach and motivator.
Kelly has formed a friendship with fellow Newfoundland MMA fighter Gavin Tucker — a Ship Cove native who holds a 1-1 record in the UFC — along the way.
The two have spent some time training together and Kelly is hoping to pick Tucker’s brain some more before he gets in the cage with Forsythe. He’s also expected to share some time with Tucker in the gym before he fights for the crown.
“I’m trying to get as much time in with him as I can,” he said. “He’s a really valuable asset and he’s a really, really helpful guy. He’s already showed me some really great stuff and I’m really excited to get back in the gym with him.”
Forsythe goes into the title fight with a 3-0 record, all wins coming by submission. Taking on a strong grappler who holds a blue belt in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, Kelly believes he’ll have to be ready for his opponent to try to take the fight to the ground and he will have to do what he can to counter, but he’s confident he can hold his own regardless of wherever his opponent wants to take the fight.
“I like to think I’m really well-rounded. That’s something I pride myself on,” he said.
“I’m just excited for it. I’m looking forward to it. I’m working hard and looking forward to getting in there.”