When the cage door shuts at the Borgata Hotel and Casino on December 14 both Justin Clarke and Daniel Rodriguez will officially become “professional” mixed martial artists.
The six-year run that Clarke made in the amateurs would produce a 4-1 record. The 27-year-old fighter from Long Beach, New Jersey will be the first to tell you that both injuries and everyday life got in the way of him making the jump to the pros. His only loss as an ammy came at the hands of current UFC lightweight and Ultimate Fighter winner, Mike Trizano. Clarke says that he learned a lot about himself as a fighter as a result of that fight and that Trizano is solely responsible for shaping him into the fighter who he is today.
Clarke’s start in combat sports is owed to his persistence in wishing to sign up for his school’s wrestling team. After his mother denying his request time and time again, she finally told him to ask his father. When Clarke’s dad put pen to paper he essentially launched the start of a hobby that would eventually lead to his son stepping into the cage next month at CFFC 71.
Now an instructor and student at Nick Catone MMA & Fitness, Clarke is training with some of the very best fighters in the world. He has invested everything into this fight, putting work on the back burner, in search of that first pro win.
As far as a support system goes, Clarke insists that he is bringing all of Long Branch with him to the fight in the nearby Atlantic City.
CFFC 71 is headlined by a lightweight title bout between Damian Norris and Cesar Balmaceda. Strawweights Miranda Granger and Jamie Colleen will serve as the night’s co-main event.
LISTEN TO JUSTIN CLARKE BELOW: