AUSTIN, Texas – Jared Gordon has spoken candidly about the turbulent times he’s faced before making it to the UFC.
Turbulent, in fact, seems like too weak of a word to describe a battle with drug addiction that involved three overdoses and 10 rehab stints. In December, Gordon recently told “The MMAHour,” he reached the two-year anniversary of his sobriety. He got to celebrate it almost exactly six months after his octagon debut.
From nearly dying in a motel room to racking up two dominant UFC wins – a knockout of Michel Quinones and a decision over Hacran Dias that many believed should’ve been a finish – things have definitely taken a huge turn in Gordon’s life.
But still, he gets questions about his story. And still, he answers them.
As he makes his way up the UFC ranks, though, at what point will the prospect want his narrative to move from his harrowing backstory to his present achievements in the cage?
“I think I will forever have to tell my story,” Gordon told MMAjunkie. “Because I’m – short-term goal, become UFC champion, make a great life for myself. Long-term goal is use fighting as a platform to help other people. It’s something that I’m always going to have to tell. And yeah, it sounds like it’s a broken record. ‘We know you’re a recovering addict. We know that you have this and that.’
“But there are always going to be suffering people. There are always going to be people that have gone through things that I have gone through. So in order for them to see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I have to tell the story over and over. For some people, it probably does get annoying. For me, sometimes, it does too. But I truly believe my reason for being here is to help others. So I’m going to have to tell it until you guys get sick of me.”
Both goals, short- and long-term, are still works in progress. But since the former CFFC champion has joined the UFC, he’s already started feeling the effects of having a bigger platform to get his story heard. Gordon said he now gets contacted by people from all over the world, on a daily basis, to talk about their experiences.
“It’s been unreal, and it’s been overwhelming,” Gordon said.
As he strives to create positive impact around him, Gordon also keeps a close watch on himself to make sure he doesn’t stray from the path that he’s been on for more than two years now. It’s a continuous effort that remains present even as other concerns – such as other men trying to punch him in the face – hover around.
“I just got done talking to my AA sponsor,” Gordon said on Thursday. “I do certain things every day that help me stay grounded. That’s my foundation. Without sobriety, there’s no UFC. There’s no MMA in the local circuit. There’s nothing for me. The way I use drugs and alcohol, I’ll die or end up in prison. Because that’s all I’ve had so far – it’s overdoses and institutions.”
Gordon (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) gets to continue his path toward his other goal – UFC gold, that is – on Sunday, when he meets Diego Ferreira (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 126. The FS1-televised bout closes out the preliminary portion of the card, which takes place at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
On Saturday Gordon tipped the scale at 156 pounds to make the lightweight matchup official. And while that certainly means for an easier two months than when he had to hit the 145-pound mark, that’s not the weight division in which Gordon wants to reman.
“I really, really want to go back down to featherweight,” he said.
Gordon was, in fact, slated to have had his UFC debut at 145 pounds, but he came in too heavy – a first in his career, he said. After that, “Flash” doesn’t know exactly where the determination came from, but fact is that the fight offers he got were at the upper division.
After he beat Dias, he said he wanted to go back down. And now, as he prepares for yet another 155-pound outing, the goal remains.
“I truly believe that I’ll be a UFC champion,” he said. “I also think that I have a better shot at 145, of becoming champion. At 155, obviously the guys are monsters. I have to do whatever I can to make the road as easy as possible. If they want to keep me at 155, I have no option. But my goal is to get back down there.”
Whether that happens, time will tell. But beating Ferreira for a third straight UFC win would certainly be a nice way of earning him some goodwill points with the promotion. And that’s something Gordon is certainly confident he can do.
“I see a second-round finish, TKO,” Gordon said. “I think he’s savvy enough to get through the first. But I think – I know my pressure is too much for 99 percent of the guys here. So I’m going to come forward. I’m going to pressure, pressure, pressure. And he’s going to fold.”
Not that he’s looking past Ferreira, or even taking into account his opponent’s 25-month layoff. He just believes the stylistic matchup happens to be a great one for him. And even if some of his colleagues are peeved about the idea of meeting men who’ve failed doping tests in the past, Gordon remains indifferent.
“I really don’t care,” Gordon said. “Obviously cheaters aren’t respected. But I fought guys that I know were on steroids in the fight, and I crushed them. So, what does that really mean to me? Nothing. You can do whatever you want. If you don’t have the skills and the heart, then you’re not going to get the job done.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC-Austin's Jared Gordon will tell his harrowing story over and over if it helps others