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Bruce “The Noose” Conners

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Bruce “The Noose” Conners

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Bruce The Noose Conners

XFC will be putting on the 2nd pro-mma event in Knoxville, Tennessee. The highly-anticipated featherweight showdown between undefeated Bruce “The Noose” Connors (6-0) of Orlando, Florida and Jarrod “The Wild Card” Card (9-2-1) of Jacksonville, North Carolina will now be for the XFC featherweight world championship. The two 145-pound fighters will battle in the main event of XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” on Saturday, April 25, at the 21 thousand-capacity Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The event will be televised live nationwide, exclusively on HDNet.

I had the opportunity to interview Bruce “The Noose” Conners the other day. This interesting, insightful, and life-experienced fighter says he’s ready to bring his game to the ring.  Read all about my exclusive interview with Bruce and learn a bit about what motivates him and why he wants to fight.

Katrina: Your history is very impressive: briefly, according to, you’ve “served two tours in Kosovo and Afghanistan as a sniper scout with the U.S. Marines; and have served as an officer with the Florida police department’s SWAT team. In lieu of this history, what led you to fight pro-mma? Why switch? I mean, secure job, retirement, benefits, good pay...
Bruce: Yes I did, thank you I was in Kosovo and Afghanistan and I served in Florida on the SWAT team! Yes – MMA is something I’ve always been interested in ever since I was a kid. I’ve always been into the martial arts but I never knew that I could actually make money at it (laughs!) I watched one of the beginning UFC’s and it’s always been a dream of mine! I’m only 29 years old and since most MMA fighters mature in their late 30’s, I figure I’ve got some time left to fight!

Katrina: What did you think of Chuck Liddell’s performance this weekend?
Bruce: Sort of disappointed. He did a lot for the sport and he’s had his time. every fighter has that moment when they have to decide if it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.

Katrina: If and when you get to that point, what plans do you have “after” MMA?
Bruce: I don’t know exactly, but I do know I’ll always want to be involved in the sport one way or another. I don’t ever want to have just nothing to do with it whether it’s ref’ing, managing, something, I always want to have something to do with it. Ii want to be involved in it! MMA’s been a dream of mine since I was young. I mean, SWAT pays the bills (laughs), but MMA’s my dream, you know?

Katrina: You’ve been training out of Gracie Barra Orlando, and apparently are much sought after and have received multi-fight contract offers from numerous national promotions. You’ll be fighting in the XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” Main Event – which apparently is now a World Featherweight Championship Title Fight. How did it come about – you fighting for XFC? Why did you choose them over the other offers you’ve had?
Bruce: Me and the owner met, which is John (Prisco) and he spoke with my manager, and my manager spoke highly of him and when we met we agreed on a bunch of different things and we got along and we had the same view and his co is growing as a fighter and we thought we’d work well and grow together.

Katrina: How do you feel about the “new” old rule of Dana White’s with respect to not allowing your manager behind the scenes at an event and providing them with credentials?
Bruce: I didn’t even know about this rule – when did this come about; is this just a Las Vegas thing, ‘cause it’s a different boxing commission and they have different rules? Is this just recent or? But my manager is always there with me. I’m sure most fighters won’t like that rule, because most managers train with them or they’re a close friend with them and they depend on having them there, so that rule doesn’t make sense to me. I’ll check out that Loretta Hunt article!

Katrina: Any advice for new fighters on when they should get themselves a manager?
Bruce: It would be nice if they started looking just before they turned pro. Having a manager is important, because then you don’t have to be the bad guy. They help you get more money and help you with all the paperwork. Acts as the middle man.

Katrina: Let’s you do what you do best: train and fight!
Bruce: Right – you get to concentrate on what you need to do – that is the training and the fighting. My manager does a great job. He can be a pain sometimes, but he does a great job and he’s a good friend (laughs!)

Katrina: You’re talking about Remington Reed of Paragon MMA, an industry leader in fight management, right?
Bruce: That’s correct. He’s doing good, and we’re growing together also! He’s growing as a manager and I’m growing as a fighter.

Katrina: And you’re both growing together with XFC – do you plan on staying with XFC for a while?
Bruce: Yes – for sure. As long as they need me to fight and it all works out!

Katrina: It looks like the last time you fought was over 8 months ago – back in August of 2008. Why such a long delay between fights?
Bruce: Well – we were looking for a promotion to fight for and the last one was Cage Warriors USA that I fought for, and I actually won the title. And they actually only had one other event but they wouldn’t let me defend my title and I thought I would be able to defend my title. So I was actually getting ready for that and it didn’t happen, plus Christmas and then the holidays and like that all happened, so I ended up taking a break. I didn’t like taking such a long break; if you take a break like that, you might as well be retired, you know? But now I’ve signed on for a 4-fight deal with XFC so there shouldn’t be any more mishaps like that happening anymore.

Katrina: So tell me – what’s your ammy record? How many ammy fights did you have?
Bruce: I didn’t have any ammy fights – I went straight to pro fighting. I actually stepped in for somebody else who got hurt. It was a pro fight, heh. I was training and there was a guy from my gym who was supposed to have that fight and he got injured.

Katrina: How did he get injured and how much time did you have to prepare? Was that the night of the fight?
Bruce: No, no. He hurt his ankle, and he asked me if I wanted to fight and I took it. I had about a month’s notice to train.

Katrina: Jarrod “The Wild Card” Card also comes to us with a military background. He’s been very respectful of you to the media, but has said “…honestly don’t see how he can survive. I want that championship belt so badly, I can taste it. It’s the first thing I thing I think about when I wake up in the morning – and the last thing I think about when I go to sleep at night. Maybe it’s becoming an unhealthy obsession, but I need that title. He’ll have to break me to take it.” Any response?
Bruce: Jarrod is a respectively guy and most people would be talking smack at this point, but he, huh, he used to be in the Navy, as far as I know – the Navy or the Air Force – so he has a lot of respect for himself and others which I admire, but of course we’re going to be fighting each other so he seems like a great guy and a nice guy but, we have a fight, and you know, hopefully when you get in there all that stuff goes away and it’s a competition, you know? I’m going to go in there and fight hard – as hard as I can, and do what I do, and after that I’ll shake his hand. But other than that, he might want it that bad, but I think it’s MY time, you know? When you have that feeling that something’s your time, you know, I’m not ready to lose yet.

You know – all that other stuff outside the ring is nonsense really, you know? It’s just to get everybody going and get them all riled up and ready for the fights for the most part, you know? Like the whole think with Shamrock and Diaz – you saw Diaz totally respectfully afterwards. He helped him up and shook his hand and that’s what we do in MMA. But I’d rather just skip all that trash talking and just get down to business personally.

Katrina: All of your six wins have been by first-round knockout or submission – interesting combination of skills. Card seems to be more of a stand-up fighter. How have you prepared for your fight?
Bruce: I love to stand up. It’s just I feel I’m comfortable standing up. I love standup and BJJ equally, but it’s just that I’m more comfortable standing up. I mean on the ground I’m definitely comfortable ‘cause that’s where I trained most of my time at, but the crowds love the stand up too, so I like to give ‘em, you know, put on a good show, and if it’s not working I’ll take it to the ground!

Katrina: Well – we have some good ref’s here in TN who will not only allow you to take it to the ground, but they’ll allow you to stay there for a bit!
Bruce: Yeah – I’ve heard good things about TN. I’ve heard it’s an MMA State, from what I hear, so I’m really looking forward to fighting for the MMA fans there and giving them a good show! The crowd knows what’s going on and they don’t boo automatically when you go to the ground, so I’m really looking forward to fighting in front of them and putting on a good show.

Katrina: Okay – and what’s your strategy for this fight?
Bruce: My strategy is basically, you know, to capitalize on any mistakes he makes, and then go on in there and fight MY fight. I think when I fight and I’m a reactive fighter; it’s not all one thing. I’m thinking, fighting and reacting all at the same time. A lot of it could be reactionary, but then you’re still thinking. You know you’re trying to think about 3 moves ahead.

I’ve watched a few videos of Jarrod fighting, but I don’t expect him to be the fighter I’ve seen in those videos; you know I expect him to be a better fighter. I’m sure he’s grown and you know I have grown since my last fight, so I don’t expect he’ll be the same fighter that I watched. You know – I train everything, so for me it doesn’t really matter if he has a specific game plan because I can fight anywhere. I’m comfortable on my feet, I’m comfortable on the ground, I don’t really see a point that I’m not ready for.

Katrina: Bruce “The Noose” Connors – you’re currently undefeated with a record of 6-0. You’ll be fighting Jarrod “The Wild Card” Card from North Carolina. He holds a record of 9-2-1, so – a few more fights under his belt. John Prisco has said that while you’re “the best featherweight” he’s ever seen outside of the WEC, but that “Card is a tremendous natural athlete with a ferocious mean streak, and I’d actually give him a slight edge in power and experience.” How do you feel overall about your fight against Card – any predictions?
Bruce: Well – I’m happy that John said that I’m the best featherweight” he’s ever seen outside of the WEC, but I would like to be ranked as one of the top fighters anywhere, but I haven’t had a chance to prove that yet. And as far as Jarrod, Jarrod is skilled, and he has a lot of experience, but uh, I have a lot more life experience that I can take with me that I do – I take it with me in the ring and I take that and it helps a lot.

Katrina: Once you’ve obtained the Championship Title – what’s next for Bruce Connors? Are you going to stay with XFC or do you have plans to head over to WEC or the UFC? Any desire to fight with Urijah Faber or Mike Brown perhaps?
Bruce: Oh I’d love the opportunity. I’d really love the opportunity. As a fighter you always want to fight the best in the industry, you know, to prove that you’re the best. I mean, that’s, well that’s what it’s all about! So yeah – that’s a definite goal for the future.

Katrina: How does your fiancée feel about you fighting? Is she supportive, does she like to watch your fights? Does she train?
Bruce: You know – she backs me all the way. She’s usually the one cooking my meals and usually throws in a good word for the day to get me motivated and she uh, she don’t complain about me training or the time I spend away from her or at the gym, ‘cause she knows how important it is to me. And she’s actually perfect, well, she’s perfect for me, as far as that goes. Not everyone has such a supportive partner like that. She’s been to every one of my fights.

Katrina: Okay – well I’m looking forward to talking to both you and your fiancée after the fight Saturday night, so I’ll save the rest of my questions for that time, as I’d really like to get her point of view. So let me say thank you and good bye for now. But before we sign off, is there anything else you’d like your fans to know about you?
Bruce: Just make sure everyone to tune into the fight and join us – it’ll be a good one. It’s the title fight for the XFC and you can’t have a better matchup right now, or a better promotion to be fighting for right now. I am definitely trained and ready and in shape, and no injuries, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be taking hope the belt that night. My prediction is that I’ll be walking out that night with belt, so everyone come or watch on HDNet!

Many thanks to Remington Reed of Paragon MMA for setting up this interview for me. Paragon Mixed Martial Arts represents and supports fighters and up and coming athletes in the sport of mixed martial arts, treating each and every fighter like an individual business. Fighter development is not just about the the next cage fight. It is about developing an athlete, a company, an image and a future. Fight scheduling, purse and sponsor negotiations, finances, media exposure, print, endorsements, and merchandising are just a handful of the services offered by the Paragon MMA Management Team. You can learn more about Paragon MMA by clicking HERE.


Check back next week and read all about my recent interview with MMA-Legend, Bas Rutten! Always inventive, he's got some surprises up his sleeve that you'll want to know about! Katrina Belcher


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