Even though the old saying goes that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, Titan Fighting Championships featherweight champion Jason Soares is looking to prove that line of thinking obsolete.
When Soares defends his title against Anderson Hutchinson at Titan FC 54 on Friday, April 26, UFC President Dana White will be in attendance to scout talent as part of his “Lookin’ for a Fight” series on YouTube. Soares and White’s paths crossed once before, when Soares appeared on The Ultimate Fighter in 2015, which was coached by Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber.
Soares lost his only fight on the show by majority decision and wasn’t retained by the UFC. Even though he described his appearance on the show as a “cool experience,” Soares also didn’t think it taught him much beyond the importance of always being prepared.
“You have to be ready to fight,” Soares said. “I was the second alternate and I didn’t put in enough training after getting the call around midnight to fight. Dana being in attendance for this fight shouldn’t have an effect – I already have pressure from being undefeated.”
Soares has not lost in his 12-fight pro career, which started in 2012. Soares grew up competing in sports such as football, track, soccer and wrestling, and it was wrestling coupled with when Soares started watching mixed martial arts in the early 2000s that he began to consider pursuing a career in it.
“In 7th and 8th grade I started wrestling, and I wrestled in high school,” Soares said. “I saw Matt Hughes on TV and he was a wrestler, so I found a gym to train at it Miami and I liked MMA from the very start. It’s just like regular fighting.”
Soares won of his first 12 pro bouts by submission, including five consecutive fights via rear-naked choke. Which is interesting, because Soares identified jiu-jitsu as the part of his skillset that currently needs some work.
“But I was still better in those fights because those guys were very weak in those areas,” Soares said. “I just want to punch him, take him down and choke him out. It’s a never-ending process, but I have to get better.
“I’m always going for the finish and I really have to do super-well,” Soares added. “But the pressure decreases with each fight and I get more comfortable, and you have a different experience in each fight.”
Soares spent the majority of his pro career with the Florida-based regional promotion Fight Time Promotions and was a champion there before the promotion was absorbed by Titan FC, so he said he is used to 5-round fights as he prepares to defend his featherweight title against Hutchinson at Titan FC 54.
“It’s going to be the same thing,” Soares said of his fight with Hutchinson. “I’m going to input my game plan and break the guy. I only worry about me, not them.”
Although Soares’ only goal for his career is to return to the UFC full-time and fight for the featherweight title, he also has a passion for coaching amateur MMA fighters and plans to pursue that career with his gym, Freestyle Fighting Academy in Miami, Florida, once his fighting days are over.
“I also teach three classes and I roll and wrestle with other guys,” Soares said. “It’s fun for me and it forces me to get in there with them.”
Image Credit: Fight Time Promotions