Welterweight prospect Jerald Spohn caught up with MyMMANews following his championship win over Kyle Koziel at Combat Quest 10: Blood Sport in November.
Jerald Spohn went into his most recent fight week with a lot on his proverbial plate. Not only was he preparing for his own championship fight against former college wrestling opponent turned fellow fighter, Kyle Koziel at Combat Quest 10: Blood Sport, but he was also helping two of his Strong Style MMA teammates prepare as well.
It was unlike anything Spohn has done before thus far in his mixed martial arts career, but it was something that led to a week full of new experiences and revelations. For that, he is truly grateful to have gone through such a chaotic time period.
“The week was interesting,” Spohn told MyMMANews. “So, I helped set up the fights for two teammates, Walter Savane and Larry Bell. I worked with the promotion and our coaches and everything and got all the flights set up, the hotels booked and took care of everyone’s arrangements. I made sure that we had a rental car and this and that. I was playing fighter, manager, coach and took on all those roles, so it was different for me. I want to add skills to myself for after fighting while I’m still fighting, so it was cool to know that I can handle going through a fight week not only getting myself prepared, but making sure my teammates are prepared and taken care of as well.”
With his focus on himself and his teammates, Spohn spent his time gearing up to fight in his first main event appearance opposite of an opponent he knew very well in Koziel. He bested Koziel a few years ago in college, but Spohn knew this would be completely different from that time.
The only thing he did not see going differently was the end result. Spohn expected to win again — which he ultimately did — but he was somewhat taken aback by how easy the fight went. Within the first few minutes of the fight, Spohn pushed forward and pressured Koziel until the fight made it to the ground.
On top, Spohn unloaded a number of strikes on Koziel in some pretty brutal ground and pound before the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight. Spohn got his win in a little over half a round, which was a finish far from what he originally envisioned.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t think it would be that easy,” said Spohn. “I approach every fight like it’s going to be an absolute barnburner, slobberknocker type. Like I’m gonna have to dig to the deepest depths to get the win just because I don’t ever want to be surprised by having to go there. So, I just expect that from the go and if it happens to be easier than that, then its awesome for me. But I expected it to be a lot tougher and I expected him to maybe be a little more prepared. And maybe it wasn’t that he was not prepared, but I really think I had him beat mentally from the jump. From the weigh-ins to the walkout to right before the fight, I just felt like I had a space in his head and very much could do what I wanted.”
Spohn did indeed control the fight wherever it went, but he did not walk away from it totally unscathed. While it was not apparent in the immediate aftermath of the fight, Spohn actually broke his hand in the midst of delivering that hellacious ground and pound on Koziel. He knew something was amiss, but was too caught up in the adrenaline rush to gauge the severity of the injury.
“It happened the last ten seconds of the fight and I know exactly when it happened,” said Spohn. “I was on top dishing out the ground and pound. I was aiming for his face, he turned his head and my hand cracked like the side of his head. Like the skull. And as soon as it did, I felt my hand crack. I couldn’t really feel it, but I knew I broke it. I knew if I didn’t break it, I knew it was gonna be f**ked up for at least a week or two, but I did break it. Thankfully, a clean break and it’ll be fine in about four weeks.
“I didn’t even need a cast. They said that the bone didn’t move at all and the blood flow is not restricted or anything, so I just can’t punch anything for four to six weeks, which is insane. But as long as I don’t hit anything, it’ll heal fine.”
Any odd feeling in his hand temporarily dissolved as the welterweight championship was wrapped around the waist of Spohn. In this moment, an overwhelming sense of achievement washed over him as this was the first major championship he earned.
Spohn said he already felt like a champion before the fight, so nothing drastically changed after the fact.
“This might sound kind of funny, but I approach everything that I do like I am already or going to be the champion,” said Spohn. “Now, that comes without it being — I don’t ever think I’m the sh*t. No matter how good I am at anything that I do, I know that there’s always going to be work that needs to be done. To be honest with you, that’s why I do it. I enjoy the process. I absolutely love making myself better at something, so its just another day and another day is normal. I celebrated and I enjoyed it and I am enjoying it, but its like this is expected. This shouldn’t be a surprise. This shouldn’t change things because its expected.”
Being shelved for the next month and a half is not something Spohn wants to do, but it has given him some time to reflect on what he just accomplished and what comes next. He admits walking around with his newly acquired belt for at least a week because it meant more to him than simply adding gold to his mantle.
This championship represents both his triumph over Koziel as well as his inevitable transition from amateur to professional fighter in the upcoming months. Everything is going according to plan for Spohn, who finds solace in knowing that the best is yet come.
“It was just relief, really. You have these moments as an athlete and you don’t know when they are gonna come, but you just continually stick to the grind and work and wait as a fighter for these three or four times a year you get to put your skills on display. For me, not only did this fight have personal implications, but we were looking at this being my last amateur fight and it being a display that I’m ready for the next level and it very much was. So it was almost like a sigh of relief and its like, ‘Hey, I’m for real. The party is here,’ so let’s keep going.”
With him now venturing into the professional side of mixed martial arts, Spohn and his team has begun vetting some fight promotions that have shown signs of interest in adding him to their roster. In light of his past performances, the welterweight prospect is certainly quite the catch. He won’t rush into anything as of yet, but 2021 is when you will see Spohn under bigger and brighter lights.
“We’ve got a few options, but we’re not entirely sure what we’re gonna go with at this point,” said Spohn. “Getting the hand healthy and then enjoying the holidays is what I have in front of me. Now while doing that, the coaching staff and myself as well as people close to me will see what’s available and make the decision that makes the most sense.”
And in case there are other promotions still looking at him and contemplating a potential signing, Spohn has a message for you.
“If I had a message, then it would be to get ready for the party. I’m gonna be the main event every single time, whether I’m the main event or not. I’m gonna bring the energy. My people are gonna bring the energy and we’re just gonna have a blast.”