Jordan Smith, a 26-year-old Layton-based fighter, was a science teacher at West Point Junior High for three years before he retired to dedicate his time to fighting. Since making MMA fighting his full-time job, Smith has traveled all over to train. He has gone to Los Angeles, where he trains as a member of the Black House Fight Team at Black House in Gardena, to Brazil, where he spent more than two months over the summer training, and at One Hit MMA in Layton, where he trains locally. Smith has won 15 fights, has only two losses and one draw.
His attraction to MMA • “My brother took me to a live fight in St. Louis while I was playing college football. The sport was so pure, one man versus another, I just knew that I was going to fight someday. So, when I finished my last year of college football, I found a gym and started training.”
Leaving teaching to fight • “I enjoyed getting the opportunity to be a teacher. The relationships you build with colleagues and students is something only people who have teaching experience understand. But it was very difficult to train as hard as I needed to for fights and keep a full-time job. It came to the point where I needed to decide on one career, and while I’m young and healthy, the choice was fighting. So, I decided to retire from teaching so I could be free to travel and train anywhere in the world.”
On MMA fighting misconceptions • “People often describe MMA as human cockfighting as if it is a barbaric sport. In reality, MMA is the purest form of sport that there is. You have no teammates in the cage with you, no ball, little equipment, and it is your skills matched against another man’s skills to see which man is better. It’s often comical to me when I’m watching other sports, such as hockey, and the players get so frustrated with each other, they will always turn to fighting. This is almost always the most exciting part of the game for fans. I believe that the sport of MMA brings the most exciting form of sport to the fan better than any other sport in history.”
Being in the cage • “I think every fighter experiences a fight differently. For me, being in the cage is the most alive any person can ever feel. Nothing else I’ve ever been involved with has given me the same feeling. There are thousands of people watching you and another man fight to see who is the better man. The pressure, the adrenaline, the fear and anxiety all combine, and when you can overcome and rise above them all to defeat your opponent, you can never match the feeling of triumph MMA gives you.”
MMA fans • “The fans are what makes MMA the best sport in the world. People who love MMA are the kind of people who can be true to their own human nature. They know, whether it is subconsciously or instinctively, that the winner of the fight is the one who is more suited for survival. I think people who hate MMA just don’t understand the sport. To be able to watch it taps people into their own human instinct of survival, and it makes for the best entertainment that you can get out of sports.”
Hopes for his future • “Every fighter’s goal is to make it to the UFC. There is no higher level of competition in MMA anywhere else, and I’m no different than other fighters in this respect. I am fighting to test myself against the best in the world, and the UFC is the best. Making it into the UFC and being able to compete against the best would be the greatest accomplishment of my career.”
(Photo by Leah Hogsten for Now in Salt Lake)