UG Blog interview: Jason Saggo
Canadian lightweight Jason Saggo next fight is on the Score Fighting Series against Eric Attard on August 25th.
Imre Gams: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me again. So first off, where have you been and what have you been up to since winning your last fight nine months ago?
Jason Saggo: Well the biggest thing was that right after my win I went to India, and Thailand for the third time. Something definitely clicked for me in Thailand. I was training at Tiger Muay Thai with some great people - former champions, and even MMA fighters. Brian Ebersole was there. When I was there last time, something came together mentally for me. I became a lot more confident with my Muay Thai, I didn’t let myself get pushed around. I became more aggressive, more loose and confident with my standup.
IG: How long were you in Thailand this time around?
JS: This time, I was there for three months, and before that I was in India. I completed a teacher training course in yoga, which lasted four weeks, and then had nose surgery to fix some breathing problems I was having, which unfortunately meant that I was out of training for another five to six weeks. I took that opportunity to travel through India - I went north to south - and then headed over to Thailand and just worked on my Jiujitsu before my nose was okay enough to start training in Muay Thai.
IG: You mentioned that something clicked for you over there, and that you became more confident with your striking skills. Could you tell us a bit more about that?
JS: I like staying in the pocket now. I’m more comfortable in the pocket, and I know now that I can hang with very high level fighters just striking. It’s definitely added an entirely new dimension to my game, and I feel like my striking is now on par with my grappling.
IG: You are known mostly for your grappling ability, and I’m sure past opponents would prepare for you knowing that you are primarily looking for the submission. How do you see yourself as a fighter right now?
JS: I’m much more balanced now. I’ve always felt like my Jiujitsu has been my standout ability, and I have five wins by submission and one by TKO, so I have always considered myself a submission fighter. Now I feel like my standup has caught up with my grappling, and I promise to show that in my next fight.
IG: Taking your training to Thailand aside, where is your home camp situated, and what does your current team look like?
JS: I’m still based out Gracie Humaita in Bolton, Ontario. I’ll always be with Royler Gracie black belt Professor Paul Abel, who is my head coach in both Jiujitsu and MMA. My Muay Thai coach is Kru Mel of Lanna MMA. My boxing coach is Djordje Krstich . I’ve been working on my wrestling with teammate and pro fighter Matt McGrath, and I’ve also been training my wrestling with the University of Guelph. My Strength and Conditioning coach is Alex Possamai of Crossfit Bolton. Alex has helped me a lot in terms of developing the mental strength you need to really push through the hard times. He is so knowledgable, and helping trigger the right muscles to fire when they need to. He has competed at the Crossfit Games, and places a great amount of emphasis on proper technique and safety.
IG: One thing that’s always stood out to me about you is your passion for Yoga. How did that happen?
JS: I started Yoga years ago, but it was more of an on and off thing. I really got into it when I was in Hawaii about two years ago. I learned how much Yoga can benefit me both as a person and as a martial artist. Ever since, it’s been a daily habit for me. It influenced me so much that I wanted to become a certified trainer, so I went to India and completed the two hundred hour course that the Himalaya Yoga Valley Institution offers. Right now, I’m actually working on a Yoga course specifically for martial artists. Yoga has helped me not only with flexibility, but also with breathing. I think breathing is a very neglected area of martial arts, and it is a key towards controlling your own body.
IG: You’re set to face Eric Attard on the Score Fighting Series in Hamilton, Ontario on August 25th. Is this a step up in competition for you?
JS: I think so. He is a very aggressive opponent who is also very well rounded. He is a very game opponent, and I’m not taking this fight lightly at all.
IG: You’re at a point right now in your career where you have opponents turning you down because they don’t want to fight you. Where do you see yourself this time next year?
JS: Hopefully the UFC for sure. If everything works out, and I win all my fights, then I hope to get the UFC’s attention. I definitely know I have what it takes to not only compete in the UFC, but to win. Right now, it’s just a matter of getting their attention.
IG: Thank you for your time. Any last words you want to share?
JS: I’d like to thank everybody for checking this interview out, and I’d also like to thank my sponsors: RIDM - Rapid-Interactive Disability Management, Crossfit Bolton, GP8 Sport Water, and Kimurawear. Please follow me on Twitter @JasonSaggo, and on Facebook as well. You can check me out on www.JasonSaggo.com as well. I’m also looking to take on students to teach privates to, so get in touch with me if you are interested! Also definitely contact me for tickets to the event. Thanks again everybody.
That’s the interview, and I’d just like to quickly give you my thoughts on Jason Saggo. He is a fighter who has truly dedicated his life to MMA. He is training right, training smart, and he never really takes time off. I asked him in the interview if he wanted to call anybody out, or if he had anything to say about his opponent. He declined, and told me that he wanted to be recognized for the work he puts in and for the performances he puts on. His manager however, has told me that he has a list of opponents that he wants Saggo to fight that would unquestionably move him up into the top tier of lightweight fighters in Canada. Having a gimmick is something that’s becoming increasingly popular in this sport - it certainly worked miracles for Chael Sonnen. I’m not saying it is necessarily a bad thing for the sport, but I am telling you that Saggo is simply that good that he doesn’t need a gimmick. If you don’t know him now, I promise you that you will know him very soon.