At AFL 19: Night of Champions Jamie Lester (3-0-1) will return to action for the first time in three years to face Tanausu Ruiz (3-2). It’s the largest AFL fight card to date, taking place in Gran Canaria, Spain and will be available to watch around the world on FITE.tv on March 30 with tickets available from MASTEQUILLA.com.
We sat down with Lester recently to speak about his return, AFL, training in Spain, and his opponent.
AFL: When did you move to Spain and where did you have training with? What are your thoughts on training in Spain compared to the UK?
Jamie Lester: I moved to Spain in 2017. Initially living by the beach in a caravan for 6 months while spending as much time training at the Training Unit in Valencia as possible, here I was made to feel at home from the first minute by Jose Zapater and everyone in the gym. I then moved south of Alicante for work and had been there for 18 months, and where I now train at Mano a Mano in Torrevieja with Yury Pashkovich and the team there. I still punctuate my time in Spain with visits to Manchester Predators to train with Gav Boardman and the rest of the team. So, I tend to spend my time between 3 gyms, all with a really high level of coaching and fighters on the mats. There are no common differences between the training between the two countries, although gym to gym, regardless of country.
AFL: It has been three years since your last fight, do you think ring rust will be an issue?
JL: I think it could be, although I’ve had long spells between fights before and felt ok. I think the more active you are, the more relaxed you feel, with better timing. So 3 years out is not ideal, but I’m confident I’ll catch the pace and timing from the start. Also, I’m constantly training, and am active in grappling and BJJ, so I’m hopeful that will help negate any possible ring rust.
AFL: What are your goals in MMA? You’re undefeated as a pro, what are you hoping to achieve?
JL: My goals in MMA are to constantly test myself. I want tests and I want to learn. Short term I want good fights on good shows, with the hope to travel with fights too. Long term, I want to share everything good MMA has to offer by coaching and giving fighters everything I think they should have, from technical aspects, mindset, nutrition, and strength and conditioning, advice and support.
AFL: What are your thoughts on the AFL promotion and competing on AFL 19 – this biggest card of the promotion has ever put on.
JL: I’m really pleased to be fighting on such a big promotion. And as much as the size of it, the professionalism to this point has been a pleasure to be part of.
AFL: What do you think of your opponent, have you seen any of his fights? Where do you feel you have the advantage?
JL: I respect my opponent first of all, so I do anyone who does what it takes to compete in the octagon. I’ve watched a few of his fights from video footage. I feel I have advantages in several areas. I will not have the amount of support in person that I expect my opponent to have. Although, I do not particularly see that as a disadvantage. I have my family, friends and team mates with me, regardless of whether or not they can be there in person. And, fighting in somebody else’s city or country does not worry me. I’m glad there will be people coming to enjoy the fight and the show, regardless of who they’re supporting.
AFL: For people who do not know you, how would you explain your fighting style.
JL: I feel I’m as well as rounded Mixed Martial Arts fighter as I can be. I spar regular with professional boxers and kickboxers, and regularly compete in grappling tournaments. I’m comfortable in each of these ranges. However, I feel I’m better in, and much prefer, MMA.
AFL: Have you a prediction for this fight?
JL: I usually run through the endings of fights and visualize what’s going to happen, but I do not have a specific prediction, other than I’ll be there to fight, and I’m confident I’m capable of finishing the fight in any manner.