For Jim Alers, UFC debut represents recognized dream – even if it's not his own


jim-alers-cage-warriors-63ABU DHABI – For most mixed martial artists, fighting for the sport’s premier organization, the UFC, represents a dream come true. But for Jim Alers, that dream was his wife’s.

“My wife actually got me into MMA in 2006,” Alers told MMAjunkie. “I was at the gym a lot, and she mentioned MMA. She was like, ‘Why don’t you try this MMA stuff?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know, it’s kind of crazy.’ She said, ‘You’re at the gym all the time. Why don’t you try it?’ She’s actually the one that pushed me toward it.”

For Alers, who was born in New York but now lives in Orlando, the path might not have been so easy to see. Now 27 years old, Alers began his training when he was just 19. But “The Beast” knew there was no guarantee combat sports would pay the bills, so he simultaneously pursued an education at the University of Central Florida, where he scored a degree in a completely different field: elementary education.

Alers began his professional fighting career at age 21, simultaneously working odd jobs – including a stint as a kindergarten teacher – to help fund his pursuits as an aspiring athlete.

“You can’t fight forever,” Alers said. “People get hurt and things happen, so you always want to have something to fall back on. I tried to tell my students that fighting is awesome, but finish school. You can do both at the same time.”

Alers (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has earned victory in 12 of his 13 professional contests to date, and the strong track record recently earned a him call from the UFC. He debuts for the promotion opposite fellow featherweight newcomer Alan Omer (18-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at Friday’s “UFC Fight Night 39: Nogueira vs. Nelson” event, which takes place at Abu Dhabi’s du Arena and streams live on UFC Fight Pass, the UFC’s recently launched online network.

It’s certainly the biggest opportunity of Alers’ young career, but he insists there’s no added pressure ahead of the moment.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a name,” Alers said. “It’s still the same me going in there and fighting another opponent.

“At the end of the day, it’s the same business. I’m going in there, we’re fighting, and we’re going to shake hands at the end. That’s it.”

With the enormity of the moment, UFC debuts are notoriously challenging opportunities for incoming fighters, and traveling halfway around the globe for such a performance can certainly prove even more difficult. Fortunately for Alers, a five-fight run in one of Europe’s top regional promotions, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship, brought him to Bahrain, Ireland, Jordan, Scotland and Wales for previous appearances, making the journey to Abu Dhabi a little more manageable.

“I’ve actually been to Abu Dhabi before,” Alers said. “I never thought I’d go back, but it’s awesome to go there again. It’s a beautiful place. I’m super-excited about it.

“It’s almost like not flying away would have been more difficult for me, so I’m glad now I’ll be comfortable doing the same ritual I had been doing.”

For Alers, Friday’s fight could prove a life-changing moment, both for him and his wife. After all, success at the sport’s highest level can prove financially rewarding, but victory is a must. But it’s a position in which Alers never would have found himself had it not been for the nudging of his high-school sweetheart.

“She’s definitely been supportive,” Alers said. “As fighters, we have a lot of ups and downs, and in the beginning you make no money at all. She was there the whole way, pushing me and pushing me. She believed in me the whole way.

“I’m ready for this moment. I hope to put on a good fight. Don’t miss it.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 39, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

  • 14 days ago
  • 4 views

With the addition of a new featherweight matchup, the lineup is set for next month’s UFC Fight Night 60 lineup.Filed under: MMA Rumors, News, UFC read news >>

  • 14 days ago
  • 3 views

A featherweight tilt pitting Chas Skelly against Jim Alers has been added to the bill for UFC Fight Night “Thompson vs. Thatch” on Feb. 14. read news >>

  • 6 days ago
  • 33 views

In mixed martial arts, things can change in a moment. At UFC on Fox 14, Alexander Gustafsson went from being the No. 1 contender for Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title, to losing his spot to An read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 2 views

LAS VEGAS -- Josh Burkman talks about returning to the UFC for the first time since 2008, how getting released was the best thing to happen to him, his wife about to give birth to their second child, read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 2 views

MMAmania.com resident fighter analyst Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC 182 headliner Jon Jones, who looks to continue his record-breaking streak of light heavywe read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 27 views

Mixed martial arts is new to the DraftKings scene, but it won't take long for fans to catch on to the newest fantasy sports twist. UFC 182 on Saturday from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is a perfect eve read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 212 views

Before the "Jones vs. Cormier" mixed martial arts (MMA) pay-per-view (PPV) fight card gets underway later this evening (Sat., Jan. 3, 2015) at 10 p.m. ET, live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vega read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 31 views

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters say the darndest things prior to stepping inside the Octagon. MMAmania.com looks back at a handful of UFC 182 pre-fight remarks to find out who talked the talk -- an read news >>

  • 24 days ago
  • 3 views

Tim Sylvia has retired from mixed martial arts after 42 professional fights. read news >>