One On One With John "The One" Maguire
For fans that havn't been exposed to him for more than a fight or two, the question comes up: is he a pro MMA fighter that is a great instructor, or a great instructor that happens to be a pro MMA fighter?
The simple answer is both. A professional fighter since 2006, Maguire has been a mainstay on the UK fighting scene, compiling an 18-3 record while fighting for several prominent UK promotions. And as a member of the Tsunami Gym, Maguire has helped mold and train many young fighters in the UK scene.
But even with his move to the UFC in 2011, North American fans have yet to see his in cage brilliance in person, having fought in England and Sweden so far.
John Maguire recently took some time to speak with AddictedMMA about all things MMA, his "Gypsy" lifestyle, and his thoughts on the future on the UK MMA Scene.
So make no mistake, just because you may not have heard of John "The One" Maguire before, don't think he is not a name you shouldn't be looking out for in the UFC's welterweight division.
JZ - First things first, thanks for your time John. How's everything going with you?
JM - Everything's going great, just I'm fat John right now, one too many doughnuts (laughing), but the ladies still love me... so it's all good.
JZ - You have been a mainstay on the UK MMA scene for some time now, but you finally got the chance to show North American fans what you can do with your 2 UFC victories recently. How important was it for you in your career to take that step and fight on such a large platform like the UFC provides?
JM - When I started out in the sport in like 2005, It was always my aim to get into the UFC, so now I'm here it just feels fantastic to have achieved my goals, now I've just started setting myself new ones... and the UFC fans haven't seen half of what I've got in store for them.
JZ - You are listed on several MMA sites as a pink belt in gypsy jiu jitsu. Can you explain what this is exactly for the fans that may not be familiar with the discipline?
JM - Ha, well basically I'm a Gypsy/Traveler who's lived in a trailer all my life, and I do Jiu Jitsu, so what else am I gonna call my style but..... Gypsy JiuJitsu! I've never graded under anyone in BJJ, or worn a Gi; I fought and submitted a few Black Belts in grappling comps/MMA fights, so I thought I should grade myself higher than one. Pinks my favorite color, so here I am John "The One" Maguire, the one and only Pink Belt in Gypsy Jiu Jitsu!
JZ - With the UFC headed back to Nottingham this year, is that a card you would like to be part of if possible? If so, any name you would like to drop perhaps as a possible opponent?
JM - Course it would be great to fight in my own country, love to put a show on for the UK fans, and who knows it could happen! As for opponents, I don't get any choice I just knock down any opponent they put in front of me, and that's how I like it, I'll fight anyone the UFC asks me to.
JZ - As well as being a very talented and respected MMA fighter, you are also known for your teaching and training skills as well. As a man deeply involved in the MMA scene, how important is it to you to not only be successful as a fighter, but also as a man that can help train and bring along the next generation of UK MMA fighters?
JM - Well I plan to be around the game for a very long time, I love MMA have been into the sport for years started as a big fan! Now I'm a fighter and I'll probably end up becoming a full time coach afterwards, I do like to put back into MMA what I've learned, and it's great to train people who enjoy the sport as much as I do... We've got some great young talents coming through here at Tsunami and I'm involved in helping them progress and become what they can be in the sport... I really enjoy helping people and seeing them improve.
JZ - Most UK fighters have the label "standup" attached to them, but you and Paul Sass seem to be breaking that mold with your ground skills. Did you set out as a fighter to be that "mold breaker" or are the ground skills you have just something you implemented in your game simply because it was your bread and butter so to speak?
JM - I don't like to be labeled as anything, of course Gypsy Jiu Jitsu is what I'm doing right now in the UFC, but I have the stand up possessed by the other Brits in the UFC, I just haven't shown it yet. Right now, me and Paul Sass are being put in the "Ground Fighters" box. So it will be nice to show everyone my hands and make them think twice about what box to put me in.
JZ - You have suffered 3 defeats in your pro career, Tom Watson, Arman Gambaryan, and Simeon Thoresen. Is there 1 man there you would love the chance to redeem yourself against, or is it a case of the past being the past and you just focused on the future now?
JM - Well yea the past is the past, but 2 of those 3 defeats were at middleweight when I was "Fat John" and I've only ever suffered one defeat at WW which was a decision loss to Simeon Thoresen... and Simeon has just joined the UFC Roster, so maybe our paths will cross again but if they don't they don't I'm just enjoying doing what I'm doing right now, I don't really hold grudges there's a lot of other challenges out there waiting to be conquered.
JZ - The MMA scene in the UK has exploded over the past few years, with many up and coming fighters making their name on the scene. Is there any fighter you see now that makes you take notice, makes you say "that kid is gonna be great"?
JM - I wouldn't say GREAT... but "the kids gonna be good"... Luke "Bigslow" Barnatt is hitting up the UK scene, unbeaten now at 4-0 finishing his last 2 fights in the first round and he knows the odd Gypsy Jiu Jitsu technique, but I still put him in his place when he needs a reality check. (laughing)
Also of course my Brothers are coming through, both top fighters! Everyone knows about Tommy "2gunz" Maguire who's 5 years younger than me and just as good he's my strongest training partner and pushes me harder than anyone in the gym! Then you've got my little bro Jesse Smith, still only at Semi-Pro level but the kid is sharp, and if he keeps going he will be GREAT.
JZ - You live in the gypsy culture in the U.K, what are the major differences compared to the usual lifestyle in the UK?
JM - Well the biggest things gotta be that we live in Caravan/Trailer not a house (laughing)... but there are some other differences in the culture... the basic ones are:
-We marry young (I'm not married but I'm picky!)
-We leave school at a young age (I left school at 13 to work with my dad)
-And we like to keep ourselves to ourselves, we are very close in general, and have a tight family bound, I live on a site with my Brother, My Mum, and my Sister we've all got our own trailers... like 10ft away from each other (laughing).
Sometimes we get a lot of negative press and there is a bad view of us in the UK but we are just like any other community, we look after each other and enjoy ourselves try and live life to the fullest.
JZ - Any shout outs or thank you's you would like to give John?
JM - Of course, I'd like to thank my Team down at Tsunami gym, all the guys there look after me and keep me training hard. QNT for sponsoring me and providing me with top quality nutritional technology And for all the followers & the fans of my GypsyJiuJitsu, thanks for showing me the love!!
JZ - And because we are AddictedMMA, what is John Maguire addicted too?
JM - What right now.... I'm a pretty addictive person right now I've got a fair few, mainly:
COD: Modern Warfare 3 on my Playstation... playing it till stupid o'clock in morning.
Any type of food that has sugar in it... mainly Doughnuts & Pancakes with syrup!
And I'm addicted to replying to my fans on twitter! So hit me up @Maguiretheone and then you can read about my #GypsyJiuJitsu exploits, COD Tips! And what foods I recommend (they won't be healthy).
Thanks to Addicted for the Interview, speak soon!
AddictedMMA would like to give a big thank you to John Maguire for his time, and wish him all the best at whatever comes next for him.
Published by Jasyn Zangari - Fri, 22 Jun 2012 17:03