Maryland’s Jesse Stirn has his eyes fixated on capturing a statement win over Anthony Dizy at PFL 9. “Relentless” lives up to his nickname in both passion for the sport and fighting style, expect non-stop action on Aug. 27.
In this exclusive conversation with the PFL featherweight, we discuss what fans should expect when he steps into the cage at PFL 9, the fact that he juggles an additional job aside from fighting, his motivation to train every day like it’s his last, and much more.
Fighting out of Windsor Mill, Maryland, Stirn trains full time at Ground Control Academy in Baltimore. In addition to making gains at the gym, the 29-year-old also holds another job. One thing that cannot be underestimated is Stirn’s work ethic.
Jesse Stirn Interview
“Yeah I hold a part-time job just for supplemented cash,” Stirn confirmed. “Plus I don’t wanna get hit with all those taxes at the end of this year, so it kind of counterbalances. Don’t have a choice really, cause fighting doesn’t really pay enough nowadays. Most of the guys are working part-time, if not full-time just until they get to like PFL/UFC level. It’s tough, but you do the best you can. It’s hard to describe, but the few main big pillars are your training, then your work, then yourself, which never happens, and then your romance or family or whatever you got going on. One thing always has to be put in the rearview cause you can’t do them all.”
Kudos to Jesse Stirn and all the other athletes out there who have the ability to balance all of those life matters. “Relentless” gets to do what he loves most on Aug. 27 at PFL 9, when he takes on Dizy.
PFL 9 Matchup
“I consider myself a pretty well-rounded fighter,” he began, “Without getting too analytical, it’s gonna come down to the pace for sure. Like my nickname’s Relentless, and it’s not just about keeping the physical pressure on somebody, it’s keeping them moving and keeping them feinting. I mean it’s all-around, it’s the pace that’s gonna be the edge in this fight for me. Anthony Dizy is pretty much a workhorse wrestler. He’s gonna come in and shoot the jab or a right hand and then try and take me down. He’s never not succeeded at taking somebody down, so it’s gonna come down to can I stop the takedown, can I avoid it altogether by cutting an angle, or can I keep getting up until he gets tired. So the goal is to try and keep the pace going and see if he can hang the whole time.”
Lobbying for Change?
For those who maybe haven’t watched a PFL event before, the promotion does not allow fighters to throw elbows. Essentially, PFL declares the longevity of their athletes as the chief reason for disallowing the attack. Jesse Stirn has a pretty adamant stance on the rule.
“One thing I don’t like about PFL, the one thing, is that they don’t allow elbows. I’ve really been working on my inside the clinch the last few years, which really ties in well with my Muay Thai background. So I fell in love with throwing elbows in there. I might have to be a lobbyist when I’m down there (Florida) to get them to change it for next year.”
Passion for the Sport
Stirn made his pro debut back in 2015 and prior to that, he fought in the amateur ranks for three years. With all of those years of training and hard work, what gets him to get up every day and train his tail off through the ups and the downs?
“The training itself is the reason,” Stirn replied. “I have a passion for it. I’m very lucky that it’s finally starting to pay the bills enough to where I don’t have to work as much and I can put more time into my craft. Once I’m done actually fighting, I’m definitely getting into the coaching, cornering, and eventually running my own gym. I’m really nerdy too when it comes to innovation, I can just get lost in that.”
“I’ve been training since I was 18,” Stirn told me. “I was like eh, I need something to do, that looks cool. Like I said, fell in love with the wow technique actually works, it’s like math, I was like this is really cool. Then one thing led to another and the rest is history. Now, here I am getting into veteran status. Got three Thia fights and 16 pro MMA fights.”
What To Expect from Jesse Stirn at PFL 9
“Expect plenty of smiles,” Stirn proclaimed. “And tons of violence of course. I’m smiling because of the violence, the more the better. Most of the people around me are like, oh you’re smiling cause you’re having fun right? I’m like no, I’m smiling because I’m playing my opponent like a puppet. Once I start smiling that’s when I know I have an overall handle on what their tendencies are. I love seeing the little panic session in their head, like crap I’m following a script right now, what do I do? If I can get my opponent to think that for just a second, lookout.”
Make sure to watch Jesse Stirn take on Anthony Dizy at PFL 9 on Aug. 27 from Hollywood, Florida. The prelims will be held on ESPN+, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET).
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Ryan Truland is an MMA writer who conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date on the latest and greatest MMA news.