“This is the right time for a title shot”
by Victor Perea
photo by Chris Cozzone, Fightwireimages.com
When Jeff “The Snowman” Monson steps into the Octagon Saturday night, inside the Arco Arena in Sacramento Calif., the man across from him will have everything Monson wants.
Something hard to believe since the 35-year old mental health professional and family counselor from Olympia, Wash. holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in psychology and two-Abu Dhabi World titles.
After reeling off 16 straight victories, Monson now holds an impressive 22-5 mixed martial arts record. Standing just 5’9”, Monson may not fit today’s description of a heavyweight fighter, but the grappling expert packs 240 pounds of power into his stout frame.
“I came into the UFC to become the heavyweight champion—that’s it,” says Monson, who will get his chance to take the belt from current UFC heavyweight champion, Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia, in just a few short days.
At 6’8”, Sylvia could be considered the polar opposite of Monson, having earned the majority of his victories via knockout.
“I know he’s taller and I’ve had to incorporate that into my boxing training,” says Munson, who’s earned more than half of his victories by way of first round submissions.
“We’ve brought in some big guys to prepare.”
Munson trained for his title show with the American Top Team in Florida.
“I’ll be in his world for a while so I’ve prepared. The fight starts on its feet to begin each round and I’ve worked more on my boxing to prepare for the time that we will be engaging.”
With all five of Monson’s losses coming during the first half of his career, and not having lost a fight since 2002, the Snowman will hope to keep the snowball effect going right over Sylvia.
“I have to stick with what got me here. I have prepared for when we will be on our feet, but that’s not the best game plan against somebody with the reach that he has.”
Like all UFC title fights, Saturday night’s contest will consist of five five-minute rounds.
“I know conditioning will not be an issue. The guy trains with a great camp. He’s gone five rounds before and I know we will both be in shape to go for the whole 25 minutes.”
A heavy underdog, Monson knows that the UFC heavyweight title is as close as it can be.
“I am close enough to grab it. That’s what I want to do. I feel comfortable knowing that this is the right time for a title shot. I am ready.”