Jordan Williams was 19-years-old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. On July 23rd, nine years later, he will fight for a UFC Contract.
Type 1 Diabetes is an incurable disease. Williams will have it for the rest of his life. The disease prevents the production of insulin in the body. 9 percent of the US population has some form of diabetes. According to diabetes.org, there are approximately 1.25 million Americans living with Diabetes.
Living with Diabetes is no small task. It affects the way Williams trains. “Essentially, my pancreas doesn’t work,” Williams said. Constantly, he must monitor his blood sugar levels, making sure to neither get too high nor too low. “When I have lows, if I work out too hard, my feet will turn pale white and I’ll start feeling lethargic and dizzy like I’m about to pass out,” Williams said. When I have highs, I feel really bloated, and your vision starts to go and everything’s hazy.”
Preparing for a fight is a team effort. Williams is surrounded by coaches who help him monitor his sugar intake and figure out what he needs. One of the most grueling aspects of MMA is the weight cut. For a diabetic, it’s twice as hard to cut weight. “It’s like taking two steps down the ladder, to be able to take one step up,” Williams said. “I’m sort of cutting twice as much weight. I’ll get down to 185, drink sugar/eat a meal, back to 186/187, then cut back down to 182, then more sugar/another meal. It’s very vigorous. I’m wasting a lot of time cutting weight when I could be using that time to work on technique.”
Williams has more to fight for than fortune and fame. He fights for everyone with Diabetes. If you take a look at his Instagram page, in his headline, you will see #mindoverdiabetes and a link to a website called thediabolicaldiabetic.com. You’ll also see a photo of Williams with UFC veteran Nate Diaz. “My coach, along with Nick and Nate, they all have black belts under Cesar Gracie,” Williams said. “They really look up to my coach, he was the first out of that group to get a black belt from Cesar Gracie. I actually met Nick first and traveled out to train with him when he fought Anderson Silva and since then we’ve just kept in touch. My coach connected the dots. When he talks to them, Nate asks how I’m doing, if I’m still fighting, and how my training camp is going. “I’ll train with them, and I traveled out there not too long ago and that’s where that picture is from.”
Diaz even has a spare apartment where he puts up fighters and lets them stay out there and train with him and his team. “It’s really helpful having people like that support you and welcome you,” Williams said. “It’s really a confidence builder, that he thinks he gets quality level training with me.”
This won’t be the first time on Dana White’s Contender Series for Williams. Just over a year ago, Williams fought and defeated Tim Caron, via TKO, but the victory would be overturned after Williams tested positive for marijuana. “In the Contender fight, I think if I would have used my wrestling to keep the fight on the feet, I would have gotten the finish that Dana was looking for,” Williams said. I think I just let my ego take over because he wanted to wrestle, so I was like, you want to wrestle? I’m the wrestler here.”
Ramazan Kuramagomedov, Williams’ opponent on July 23, is a two-time Russian Cup Champion. On his Instagram page, you’ll find pictures with UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, rising UFC star Zabit Magomedsharipov, and UFC Manager Ali Abdelaziz. Kuramagomedov is 5-0 and is moving up from Welterweight to fight Williams at 185lbs. Kuramagomedov does not meet the stigma of most Russian fighters. His game isn’t to simply wrestle you to the ground and hold you there for the entire fight. He likes to use a lot of kicks and isn’t afraid to throw hands.
Kuramagomedov trains out of Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, NM, the home of UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Jon “Bones” Jones, and former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champ Holly Holm.
An intriguing fighter, Kuramagomedov presents some unique challenges in a fight. “One of the things my coach said about him is that he’s trying to be like Jon Jones,” Williams said. “He’s not really staying true to one fundamental aspect of striking. My coach is saying he might be too far ahead of himself, trying to do all these things. Instead of being very efficient in one discipline, he’s trying to be a jack-of-all-trades.”
If the fight does go to the ground, though, Williams is prepared. He has never been submitted in his pro career. “I’m ready for that,” Williams said. I’ve competed at really high levels in wrestling, I’m ready for a wrestling match. I’ve been wrestling from a very young age. I don’t see him being able to hold me down. If he does get a takedown, it’s going to be a waste of energy, for him. I think he’ll expend a lot of energy trying to get that takedown if he goes for it, and expending a lot of energy throwing a lot of kicks.” “I hear that for every kick it’s like expending the same amount of energy as throwing three punches, so if you want to throw those kicks, that’s alright. I’ll start piecing you up and you’ll just tire yourself out.”
Harsh words are always thrown out in preparation for a fight, but speaking about his fighting style, Williams did have some positive things to say, “Good for Ramazan, to go against the stigma of being one of those lay and pray submission artist type of guys. He’s actually evolving the style that people think of when it comes to Russian fighters.”
Obviously, a win and a UFC Contract would be terrific for the man nicknamed “Boyame” which literally translates to “Kill him.” When Muhammad Ali fought, people would often chant “Ali Boyame.” For all you hip hop heads, there’s a good song called “Ali Boyame” with the Game, 2 Chainz, and Rick Ross and it’s actually in the most recent GTA Game. “When you have a name like that, I mean, I’ve had 11 pro fights and only one has gone the distance, even the times where I’ve lost,” Williams said. “I either put other people on my shield, or I leave on my shield.” “It’s that mentality. Kill or be killed.” Kuramagomedov has just one victory by KO/TKO, and it was from a body kick, not punches.
However the fight goes, Jordan Williams serves as an inspiration to every kid with Diabetes who thinks “I can’t do it.” And that might just be the sweetest victory of them all.