After a Two and a half year layoff, Jason ‘Grasshopper’ Jenkins will return to the cage on Sunday night at Swansea’s Grand Theatre- but it’s not all been smooth sailing for the Ebbw Vale native. The up and coming talent, fighting out of Tillery Combat, has suffered several injury set backs over the last two years that almost ended his career. We caught up with Jason to talk about his battles both inside and outside of the cage.
Hi Jason, you’ve got a fight coming up on Sunday night in Swansea, how’s the preparation going?
JJ: Preps going really well, I’ve had a really good camp training with some really good lads. It’s been a hard first camp back after a two year lay off but just happy to be back getting back into the mix and getting back in there.
You had a nasty injury with your ACL, can you talk us through what happened?
JJ: It was my first pro fight, and I fought a more experienced guy. He caught me with a heel hook, I think it started to tear on my ACL- then I had a few bad twists and it completely tore. I fought the last two fights actually with a torn ACL so then I had to get it done.
And what was the recovery process like?
JJ: Recovery was hard. It was really hard, after the op- you’re looking at at least 8 months to a year out rehabilitating your knee. It’s hard to stay focused in that time as well. You’re thinking ‘Should I be doing this?’ I had to pay for the op as well, So I paid 6 grand for the first one, and then I had another op after that because it didn’t quite go right, so it was 10 grand overall. I’m just thinking ‘should I be paying this or should I just knock it on the head?’ But my love of the sport kept me going. I literally couldn’t live without MMA and Jiu Jitsu. I have goals I want to get to and that kept me driven through the process. It’s been a long 2 and a half years but I’m just happy to be back.
You recently spent some time out in Tri-Star, what was it like being out there surrounded by the likes of Firaz Zahabi, and some of the best fighters in the world?
JJ: It was next level out there, you can’t beat that type of place, you’ve got guys walking around, all UFC calibre guys training day in day out. I learned so much when I was out there and everyone is really welcoming. Firaz is such a cool guy but his knowledge is just unbelievable, he’s very very good and his technique is tight. I’d love to be able to live there myself and be training twice a day.
And what can we expect from you in the fight on Sunday night?
JJ: I’m just gonna go in and do what I do. Like I said it’s been two and a half years, so there’s a bit of nerves and pressure coming in to this one where there hasn’t been so much before. But I’m just gonna go in there do what I do, and what happens happens. If it goes to the ground I’ll go to the ground, if it stays standing, I’m ready wherever it goes.
JJ: No predictions (laughs) I’m not Conor McGregor.
Check out Jason’s highlights in the video below.
By Lewis Smith