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IFL’s Jamal Patterson Profiled in NY Times

(Patterson has a tough Friday night ahead of him against Matyushenko)

Today’s New York Times features an in-depth profile piece on Gracie camp fighter Jamal Patterson. For those who don’t know, Patterson’s fighting Vladimir Matyushenko this Friday night for the IFL light heavyweight title.

The piece centers around Patterson’s double life as a corporate salesman and pro fighter. In addition to being a pretty good college football player at Colgate, Patterson’s also competed at Abu Dhabi, and has MMA victories over guys like Matt Horwich and Alex Schoenauer.

In a way, the corporate life made him fight. Transferred to the Midwest, friendless and spending evenings watching TV at a bar, Patterson said he took up jiu-jitsu to reclaim his athleticism.

“I realized there was a lot more to life than just busting my butt at work,” he said during an interview over baked chicken at a Lebanese restaurant here.

As Patterson intensified his training under the Brazilian champion Renzo Gracie, he was recruited into an International Fight League team called the New York Pitbulls, since rechristened Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu New York City. Since December 2006, Patterson has won four of his five fights, beating opponents with moves described as choke, submission and guillotine.

As a recent morning workout began at the gym, Rooney led the fighters through a series of knee bends, jumping jacks and crabwalks. They lifted weights. After an hour or so, Patterson changed back into his dress clothes.

Knee Bends? Man, I love the old-timey writing style of The Times. Sounds like Patterson could be in for a real row against Vladdy.

On a serious note, The NY Times has actually been pretty decent about covering MMA, which is encouraging. One thing that maybe doesn’t come through in this article is just how confident Patterson is, or at least seems to be. I won’t say cocky, though I’m tempted to. He’s a superb athlete with great overall skills, though his conditioning and ability to battle back when things get tough is still a question mark.

Something tells me that one way or another, that question is going to be answered when he fights Matyushenko. That guy is a truth serum. If you aren’t ready, he’ll find out in a hurry.


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