I first learned who Jaime Jara was a few years ago when I came across a Gladiator Challenge poster somewhere on the Internet, and since then, I’ve been telling my friends and anyone else who’ll listen about Jaime “El Cucui” Jara.
At the time, all I knew about Gladiator Challenge was that it was a West Coast MMA promotion where fighters like Urijah Faber, Tyson Griffin, Scott Smith, Rashad Evans, Hector Ramirez, and James Irvin, among others, honed their skills. But for some reason, I needed to know more about Jara, whom I still think has the best tattoos in MMA.
The more I learned, the more I became a fan. Jara’s highlight video is as vicious and as exciting as any you’ll come across, and in just five years of professional MMA, he’s managed to capture championship titles in four different weight classes, making him the only fighter in the history of MMA to do so.
If you’re not a fan of Jaime Jara, you should be, which is why I conducted this interview. His next fight will be on August 25 as part of SHoXC’s Elite Challenger Series, which will air on Shotime live at 11 PM. Undercard fights will be streaming live, as always, on ProElite.com.
Kodiak MMA: First of all, congratulations on knocking out Jeremiah Metcalf and capturing the Gladiator Challenge welterweight championship last month. Tell us about how you got that fight.
Jaime Jara: It’s kinda funny because he was supposed to fight Aaron Weatherspoon, and I got a call, like, two days out and they asked me if I wanted to fight; they asked me to drop down to 170. You know, I normally fight 185, but they asked me to drop to 170. I told them I wouldn’t be able to drop that much weight that soon, so we met at the catch weight of 175. His belt was on the line but because we met at the catch weight, he asked that I put my belt up too, so we both put our belts up and both were on the line. But that’s basically how it went. They called me and asked if I’d take the fight, and I told them I would.
Kodiak MMA: So you had to get down to 175 in two days. What are you walking around at these days?
Jaime Jara: I usually walk around at 205, and that’s what I was walking around at when they called, but I just signed a contract with Shotime, and I’ll be fighting at 185 next week. After that, they want me to fight at 170, so I’m walking around at about 185 right now. I’m going to be fighting 170 from now on, it looks like.
Kodiak MMA: You’re scheduled to fight Seth Kleinbeck on August 25 as part of ShoXC’s Elite Challenger Series. How are preparations for that fight comg along?
Jaime Jara: Everything is going good. I'm light; I'm underweight right now, but on Sept. 22, I’ll be fighting at 170, so I’m trying to keep my weight down. I’m sure I’ll be pushing some weight with him, but it’s not gonna matter.
Kodiak MMA: Like you, Kleinbeck is a big, strong middleweights with a great sprawl and some punishing power in his hands. What will you be looking for in this fight?
Jaime Jara: It looks like he’s a real good wrestler and he throws heavy hands. I think he’ll be hard to take down, but I’m going to stand with him, and if we don’t like how that’s going, we’ll take it to the ground. I’ve got great jiu-jitsu, so we’ll see what happens with that. I don’t know how his submission defense is, but…
Kodiak MMA: You’ve recently made MMA history by becoming the only fighter to hold championship belts in 4 different weight classes. you could, please take us quickly through your championship history.
Jaime Jara: I started and I was 240, and I got into that heavyweight tournament (Gladiator Challenge 13, 2/9/03), and there were some tough guys in that tournament – Carter Williams, Pete Werve – and I ended up taking the belt then. Then I ended up dropping down to 205, took that belt, and then dropped to 185 from there. I’m most comfortable at 185 right now, I’d have to say.
Kodiak MMA: You’re 38 years old, which I still can’t believe. How much longer do you hope to be fighting?
Jaime Jara: I want to fight as long as my body allows me to, but I’d like to think that I have four more years.
Kodiak MMA: You were a highly decorated high-school wrestler and later went on to earn a black belt. How did you get into MMA?
Jaime Jara: I always wrestled and was always doing some sort of wrestling or karate or something, and then I just met the right people. I met Cal Worsham, and he got me into it. He got me excited about fighting, and ever since then, I’ve been with Team X. I got a chance to get in with Ted Williams at the Gladiator Challenge, and from there, it just rolled. I started working on my boxing, I picked up jiu-jitsu. I’ve got this gift where I can look at something and pick it up quick, so I’m learning fast.
Kodiak MMA: For those fans who might not know too much about Jaime Jara, whose style most resembles yours?
Jaime Jara: Ooohhh…I think I’ve got my own style. I think I’m a little bit more unorthodox than most. I really can’t compare myself to anybody.
Kodiak MMA: Your nickname, El Cucui (The Boogeyman) – how did that come to be?
Jaime Jara: My dad gave me that name. You know, I scare a lot of people, man. The boogeyman is a monster. I scare a lot of little kids, and I scare a lot of people, so that’s how I got it.
Kodiak MMA: And if you’re scared, say you’re scared.
Jaime Jara: “If you’re scared, say you’re scared.” That’s tattooed to the palm of my hands.
Kodiak MMA: Jaime, thanks for your time, I’ll be rooting for you big time on August 25, and congratulations once again on becoming the only fighter in the history of MMA to hold championship belts in 4 different weight classes. Before we tap out, is there anything you want the fans to check out?
Jaime Jara: You can check me at my website at JaimeJara.com or you can go to KnockoutTV.net, and you can check me out there. Thanks a lot.