2015 was a tough year for Jack Hermansson. He spent the first 8 months of the year looking for an opponent who would accept a fight against him, which meant that he only fought twice that year. He was one of the most impressive fighters, if not the most impressive, on the European MMA scene in 2014. He went 4-0 in Cage Warriors, which included a title win and the first defence of his belt. The uncertainty surrounding Cage Warriors meant that he had to look elsewhere for fights, and unfortunately for Hermansson, that proved to be very difficult.
“It sucked because it was really hard to get fights. I tried to get many fights and we managed to get two. It was very frustrating. I would fight once a month if I could. I am always motivated. I’ve been wanting fights so badly. I had a fight at Lion Fighting Championships, but he pulled out. You train hard, you get ready mentally for the fight, and then the fight falls through. It is frustrating when you are ready to perform, but the thing holding you back is the fact that you can’t get opponents who can give you that opportunity.
“I think it was because of a combination of many things. There aren’t as many shows about, and not many of them can afford to fly in a fighter and a coach so they go with local fighters. And they want their local fighters to win, and matching them against me isn’t going to allow that to happen. Then there are also fighters who choose not to fight me, I think they know I am a difficult fight for them.”
He managed to secure a fight on Harry Shoebridge’s Warrior Fight Series promotion, almost a year since his victory over Deyan Topalski. WFS matched him up with former UFC fighter Karlos Vemola. Hermansson defeated the Czech-born fighter and became the promotion’s middleweight champion. And Hermansson would be willing to defend his WFS title, but understands that it would be difficult now that Cage Warriors have returned.
“I submitted Vemola pretty quick. My game plan was a little different, like Matador style I was supposed to hit him as he chased me, but he got hold of me. He got a single leg take down, I tried to take his back but ended up on the bottom. I went for the triangle, I had to switch because of his defence, and I managed to get the armbar. He is really strong, he was a beast. He was ridiculously strong.”
“The WFS team were really cool, so friendly and professional. I think Harry was satisfied with that fight. I am still the champion, I’m not sure if Cage Warriors would be open to it, but I’d be happy to defend the belt.”
The Joker is hoping to fight 6 times in 2016, and his next bout has already been lined up. His last fight was at Venator 2 in December 2015, he secured a decision victory over Maciej Rozanski, and is happy to be getting another fight with the Italian promotion.
“I have my next fight booked, I will be on Venator’s May card. Frank is very nice, he is maybe a little controversial, but he gets attention. Look at the card in May, he could probably make a lot of money if they put it on a PPV. It was really professional last time, they treat fighters really well.”
After struggling to find opponents in 2015, Hermansson is happy that Ian Dean found an opponent who wants to fights him.
“I can’t be picky about who I fight,” he told YourMMA. “Not many fighters in this division are willing to take a fight against me, so I’ll fight anybody and I respect him for taking this fight.”
Hermansson is headlining Cage Warriors 75, the promotion’s first event since Graham Boylan purchased the organisation. ‘The Joker’ defeated Norman Paraisy at Cage Warriors 69 in June 2014, and retained his belt with a win over Deyan Topalski at Cage Warriors 71 in August 2014, making him one of the most recognisable champions with the London-based promotion.
His second defence of his Cage Warriors middleweight title comes against Alan “The Brazilian Viking” Carlos, 20 months after his first. The Brazilian has a 12-8 record. Hermansson believes that another loss will be added to his opponent’s record on Friday evening.
“He has been developing better in his later years. I will show him respect when we are in the cage, but I am pretty confident that I know his strengths and I will beat him. I’m not going to let this fight go to a decision, I did in my last fight, and I did not like it. I am really going to try and finish him.
“He is tough, durable, has a very good ground game and has been a black belt for many years. He is quite tall, so his reach will be interesting. I think he will try and take me down, he even pulls guard, he is well respected. If he thinks going to the ground with me is a good thing, he’ll regret it.
“I actually think his best chance is when we are standing, if he does connect and shake me up, and if he can get me to make a mistake. Anything can happen in the stand-up. He probably thinks that I want a striker versus grappler fight, but that isn’t my approach. I am happy for it to happen anywhere, I am confident that I will beat him.”
Graham Boylan and the Intensiti FM team have successfully gotten many of their clients into the UFC. His management team tried to get him a contract with the sport’s biggest promotion but were not able to do so. The42 published an article last week that showed 70 Cage Warriors alumni have ended up in the UFC, Hermansson is hoping to make it 71 as soon as possible. He would ideally like to fight on a card in Scandinavia, but after the UFC mentioned a potential return to Germany later this year, ‘The Joker’ wants to be on that card.
“My management worked on it, but the feedback was that they had too many fighters on their roster. I just have to continue to perform like I was, I’ll get a chance, and I’ll end up fighting in the UFC for the rest of my career.
“I’m hoping they have a show in Sweden this year. I’m actually half German, so maybe I could get onto a UFC Germany card.”
2014 was the best year in Hermansson’s MMA career, and he believes that 2016 will provide him with similar success so that he can become a full-time professional fighter.
“I feel like everything is falling into place, and I’ll be able to stop my day job, so that at one point I can focus just on MMA.”