O'Brien feeling strong
Story by Jose E. Santiago
On Saturday night at in Las Vegas, UFC 94 Penn and St. Pierre will square off in a rematch, but one fighter that hopes to steal the spotlight will be "Irish" Jake O’Brien. In his sixth appearance in the famous UFC Octagon, O’Brien will come in a few pounds lighter when he takes his first stab at the loaded light-heavyweight division.
“I’ve really had to concentrate on my diet and eating right," said the Indianapolis native. “I’ll probably stay at 205, I feel a lot better during training and hopefully that will show in the fight, but you never know. There some fights I would still take at heavyweight."
His opinion is that, both, the heavy and light weight division does not differ much.
"Both divisions are loaded with good fighters," he says. "The light-heavy division is stacked with good fighters and I need to work my way up and fight those guys. Right now there are a lot of good match-ups going on."
After making a splash as a heavyweight by winning his first three UFC fights, one of which was a surprise decision win against highly touted Heath Herring, O’Brien says “ I feel a lot stronger thanks to a great training camp and I just feel better during training making weight at 205."
After winning his first three, Jake feels this may be somewhat of a crossroads fight for him.
“ I think I still have two more fights on my contract, but after losing the last two I really need to go in there and win this one, especially since I’m fighting at light-heavy”.
His opponent, Christian Wellisch, of Los Angeles, may be at a crossroads himself with a 2-2 UFC record. Said O’Brien of his opponent, 'I know he’s good on the ground, so I have to do what I can to keep him off of me. I have a good ground game myself and because of that I think I can win the fight.
" He needs a win too, he lost his last fight and hasn’t fought in a while.”
With a collegiate background in wrestling O’Brien made it a point to say that he has been working on his striking and stand-up.
“I’ve been working a lot on my standup for a while now, and it’s all coming together as I’m picking it up pretty quickly."
Understanding that he still has a lot of fights left in him the 24 year old O’Brian does have aspirations of training fighters:
“You know I feel I still have a lot of fights left in me, but I’d like to own my own gym one day and train young fighters."
But focused on the task at hand Jake was candid when speaking about fighting in the UFC:
"Making your way to the cage is a feeling you could never get used to or prepare for, it’s what pumps me up and gets my adrenaline going before the fight."
When asked about the responsibility and media pressure of fighting for the UFC O’Brien takes it all in stride, saying "It’s what you have to do. Talking to the media only helps get your name and face out there so that fans know who you are and will hopefully take interest and watch you fight. I think it’s good for the sport as well as the fighter."