John Douma: I Am Not a Human Being

 John Douma and Dion Rubio working together under the watchful eye of Head Coach, Pete Jeffrey

John Douma and Dion Rubio working together under the watchful eye of Head Coach, Pete Jeffrey

CES MMA (Classic Entertainment and Sports) is holding their next event on April 6, 2018. Scheduled for that event are multiple Tri-Force MMA affiliated fighters including, Nate Andrews, Marquis Brewster, Gary Balletto Jr, and John Douma. Tri-Force MMA has really started to have a dominant presence within the stable of fighters that regularly compete for CES MMA. Long time student, member, and coach, Greg Rebello (24-8), just recently took the Heavyweight Championship with a flawless performance against a very seasoned opponent, Travis Wiuff (75-22), in the form of a 23 second TKO. It’s the type of performance Tri-Force fighters are becoming known to provide. It’s also not much shorter than John Douma’s (2-0) impressive performance at his last outing, which was a boxing clinic that led to a TKO early in the first round.

John Douma is a perfect representation of what Pete Jeffrey, head coach at Tri-Force MMA, develops in his fighters; tough, humble, hard-working, friendly, but with a “take no shit” type of attitude. It’s as if Pete’s personality and energy is transferred through his teachings somehow because the same can be said for all of the fighters regularly training at Tri-Force. John, though, is a special breed. A breed that seems to truly be born for combat. He’s currently on a five fight winning streak, which includes his amateur career. He spent his final year as an amateur taking championship fights for two different promotions and collecting the Featherweight belt from both Cage Titans Fighting Championship and Combat Zone MMA.

His coaches probably noticed the potential in John much earlier, but for the fans it was at Cage Titans XXXI that his name was remembered. John took on Bryan Rossi for a three round war that ended with a submission win for the Tri-Force fighter. This fight for his opponent, like many of Douma’s, was every fighter’s worst nightmare. Bryan Rossi started out strong, but eventually came to the realization that no matter what he did, he wasn’t going to stop John Douma. Rossi tired significantly from the beating that he was laying on, but as he got up from the stool for the third round you could see he was questioning whether he was even fighting another human being. Seriously, everyone in attendance was forced to consider whether John was from planet earth.

His nose was badly broken in the first round and he was mauled in the second, but every time he stood up from that stool he came out like a fresh fighter. He came out like he never questioned himself. He came out like he was meant to be there and that determination led him to a chain of submission attempts that ended with his opponent tapping out to a rear naked choke, palm to palm style. It was the definition of heart and it showed that he was ready for the pros. If you haven’t seen this fight you absolutely have to watch it below. You’re welcome in advance.

 

That was the amateurs though. Surely, the professional caliber fighter would be too much for Douma. Wrong. This couldn't be further from the truth. John Douma made his professional debut at CES 45 against Jason Rine who was doing the same. Unfortunately, for Rine, Douma was extremely comfortable with the transition to CES and he put on a dominant display of grappling that Rine just couldn’t keep up with, which led to a submission win in the first round. It was reassurance for John and his coaches that he belonged. He was there to compete and CES match maker, Patrick Sullivan, definitely took notice of the performance.

John was immediately booked for another fight at CES 47 against Mark Trader (2-0 at the time). Mark was a different matchup for John as he was a long, lean 145 pound fighter. This was just another opportunity for John to show his skills though. Most people at this time knew Douma as a wrestler who grinded out his opponents until he could get the submission, but as they say, “most people don’t know shit.”

John Douma has been wrestling since he was 10 years old and he’s been training MMA for almost four years now. In case you’re new to the scene, MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and Tri-Force is an MMA gym. Not only does Pete Jeffrey teach a very intelligent ground and striking game, but he’s backed by one of the best boxing coaches in the region, “Diamond” Dave Keefe, along with one of the greatest knockout artists in CES history, Greg Rebello.

Diamond Dave fought as an amateur boxer, kickboxer and backyard mma brawler in the late 1990s. He switched over to coaching boxing in 1999. Since then, Dave most notably trained Demetrius Andrade, whom he began working with at the age of 10 as an amateur and continued working with until he was 11-0 as a professional. Under Dave's guidance, Andrade earned a position on the 2008 US Olympic Boxing Team and won the 2007 World Amateur title along with National Golden Gloves, US Open, and various junior titles. Diamond Dave's resume also boasts many other big name fighters like Greg Rebello, Andre Soukhamthath, Chuck O’Neil, and the list goes on my friend. Oh, did I mention Greg Rebello is the current CES Heavyweight Champion? Rebello boasts an impressive, veteran level record of 24-8 with 15 of those wins being knockouts. Tri-Force is making a name because they are producing martial artists that excel at all aspects of the game.

Oh, you don’t believe it? Let’s take a look at what happens when you have Pete Jeffrey, Dave Keefe, and Greg Rebello in your corner. Make sure you take note of the round number and time in the bottom right:

 

You see what he did there? Douma got better and did something nobody expected him to do, excluding his coaches and teammates, of course. He walked into that cage and put a crisp, six punch combo together on a guy that had a significant reach advantage, which forced the referee to stop the fight. Mark Trader is no easy fight either. He was 5-2 as an amateur, just like Douma, and 2-0 at the time of this fight. This was a well-balanced match up put together by CES and Douma, again, proved he was meant to be there.

Here’s the entire fight, which provides reference for how the two ended up in the flurry shown above. Unfortunately, CES hasn't released the footage just yet, but a Tri-Force friend, Domenico101MMA captured some footage:

Uploaded by Domenico101MMA on 2017-11-28. Check Domenico101MMA out of Facebook for his new podcast!

John Douma takes on Zachary Burhans on April 6th, 2018 at CES 49. There’s a big change here for John though and that’s because the fight will take place at Bantamweight, which is 135 lbs. John has never fought at this weight and I was curious as to his direction for this decision and how he’s feeling so I sat down with him after practice last week to demand answers. I’m a fan and training partner so I can do that type of stuff without getting beat up too badly.

Dustin: Are you excited about the drop to 135? Do you plan to stay within that division or do you still want to compete at 145?

Douma: I am excited to see how I perform at 135. Like most serious fighters, I plan to be in the UFC one day and when I look at the 135 pound division I see guys that are my size. It’s a change I’ll probably have to make one day so I figure I’d go ahead and try it out.

Dustin: Was your last fight your first knockout win? Is it as addicting as other fighters make it sound?

Douma: Yes it was, but I still think it’s important for grapplers to rely on their skillset. I’ll still take the knockout when I can get it, but I’m not searching for it.

Dustin: Are there times when you notice you’ve improved at a certain aspect of the game? Do you have days where you say, “Man, I’ve really gotten pretty good at x?”

Douma: It’s so gradual that you don’t totally notice it. The only time you notice it is when you go with someone that normally beats the shit out of you and you start beating them. Getting the best of the guys that normally beat you is a good feeling too.

John Douma squares off with training partner Dion Rubio while Dan Cormier waits for his turn. Look for Dan and Dion at the next Cage Titans event!

At this point Douma had just trained for 3 hours straight so I jumped into a few random, fun style questions so that we could wrap it up.

Dustin: Who is your favorite male and female MMA fighter?

Douma: Kron Gracie and Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Dustin: What do you do outside of MMA? Any other hobbies?

Douma: I work on boats as a diesel mechanic for work. I also own a boat so I go fishing on my off days a lot.

Dustin: I’ve seen your mother at the fights and she seems to be your biggest fan! I bet she never imagined her son becoming a professional fighter. How has she taken your fighting career?

 Douma: She’s got a love/hate relationship with it, but she’s always been really supportive of everything I do.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen. John Douma is back for his third professional fight on April 6th, 2018 for CES MMA. If you’re as pumped as I am about this fight contact John Douma for tickets or tune in live on AXS TV Fights at 9:00 PM EST. Tri-Force MMA will be all over the card so don’t miss it!