Cage Warriors Returns to California this Friday with CW 143! The card features many talented names, including TUF veteran JJ Ambrose.
The Career of JJ Ambrose
Ambrose started his professional career in November 2005, where he battled through the California regional scene and amassed a record of 13-3 before getting the call from Dana White to be a participant on The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12. Unfortunately for Ambrose, he would lose his qualifying bout to Armenian Sevak Magakian. Following this defeat, Ambrose would win all 4 of his fights and earn himself an opportunity with Bellator in 2012.
At Bellator 62, “Superman” would lose in the 2nd round via von flue choke. He would then beat Brian Warren in his 2nd Bellator outing. JJ would then have two fights outside the company before returning to the organization in a loss to David Rickels. The TUF veteran spent four years fighting at regional shows following this defeat. In January 2018, Ambrose would fight for Bellator one last time, in a loss to Saad Awad, making his Bellator record 1-3.
Ambrose would return to the regional scene where he had been successful many years prior and would go on a 5-fight win streak. Ambrose would be introduced to the Cage Warriors audience at CW 130 in October 2021, where he would lose by submission in the 2nd round to Spike Carlyle. Since his Cage Warriors debut almost two years ago, Ambrose has only fought once, for regional company Hex Fight Series, where he won by Guillotine, which has been his most dangerous weapon. This upcoming fight against Jordan Bailey will come just over a month following his most recent bout.
I had the pleasure of speaking to JJ Ambrose ahead of his upcoming bout:
JJ Ambrose Interview
At just 35 years of age, you have a wealth of experience under your belt. This will be your 45th professional bout. What qualities do you believe you have developed that will give you the edge over Jordan Bailey?
“I think that pretty much sums it up; After 20 years of fighting, I don’t feel the same anxiety or jitters that most people go through. This is a glorified sparring session in front of friends and family, albeit with more violent intentions.”
What are your short-term and long-term goals in the sport?
“Short-term, I’d like to get signed to the UFC. Love them or hate them, they are the household name that everyone, fight fan or not, knows. Long-term, I want to be able to look back on my career knowing that I gave my all and did everything I could with what was given.”
Cage Warriors has become one of the best routes to the UFC. Fighting for Cage Warriors, you will be seen on a global stage. What does that mean to you?
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to fight for Cage Warriors. They’ve been a gateway for some of the sport’s most well-known fights in Conor McGregor and Paddy Pimblett. I’d love to follow suit.”
JJ Ambrose Fight Style
How would you describe your style of fighting to those who don’t know and have never watched you fight before? Is there anybody at the top of the sport you would compare your fight style with?
“I feel that I’m a true mixed martial artist. I’ve been wrestling since I could walk, boxing in high school, and Jiu-jitsu for nearly 20 years. I lived in Thailand for three years to learn proper Muay Thai. I also treat my strength and conditioning as a hobby that I love toiling away at. Currently, there isn’t anyone I can compare myself to, but I like to think of myself following George St-Pierre’s way of doing things, in and out of the cage.”
About JJ Ambrose
Who are some of your favourite fighters to watch in the sport, and why?
“Israel Adesanya, I think he’s very cerebral in the cage. You can see him making adjustments during the fight. Very high-level fight IQ. In a sport that is regarded as savage, he’s a chess player.”
How did you get into the sport?
“Very similar to the situation I find myself in on Friday; I was in high school, training at a boxing gym when a promoter came in asking if anyone could fill in as a replacement for a fight happening that weekend. For time reference, this was the same night as the first Ultimate Fighter, when Stephan Bonner and Forest Griffin fought. I accepted the fight, guillotined my opponent in the first round, and knew right then and there that this is what I was born for.”
Outside of fighting, what do you like to do? Do you have any interesting hobbies you do when not training?
“I’m a fighter at heart, but I absolutely love doing CrossFit. My wife got me into it a few years ago. I’ve been hooked ever since. Apart from that, we hang out with our girls, Juliet, Isabella, and Gabriella. We live a simple yet extremely satisfying life. We do charity work for our island home in Guam. From trail pickups to fundraisers, my gym is heavily involved in making the place we are raising our daughters a better place to grow up.”
And finally, how do you predict the fight going?
“I hate making predictions on fights. I’d rather not be too humble or too arrogant. So I’ll just say that I’m prepared to finish my opponent on the feet or the ground and look forward to raising my hand at the end of the fight.“
Awesome, brother. Thank you for your time. Is there anybody you would like to shout out?
“The people of Guam. No one on earth gets behind its people like this island community. I feel every fist bump, every well-wisher, and every message I receive long after the moment has passed. Thank you all.”
Featured image credits to W.L Fight Photography