MMAnarchy managed to catch up with one of Cage Warriors top Welterweight prospects Jack ‘The Stone’ Mason following his win at Cage Warriors 52 in which he impressively stopped Matt Inman with some nasty ground and pound. Mason is now scheduled to fight David Bielkheden at Cage Warriors Fight Night 8 which takes place in May. Mason who has been fighting since 2005 has amassed a professional record of 23-11 and has fought some top names including Tommy Quinn, John Hathaway, Denniston Sutherland and Brian Foster to name but a few. The former Middleweight seems to have a new lease of life in the 170lb Welterweight division and is riding a three fight win streak with two stoppages in those three fights. Here is what Mason has to say:
So Jack having not had the chance to really speak to you since your last fight I must start by congratulating you on your win at Cage Warriors 52 over Matt Inman. You looked pretty impressive and must have been very happy with stopping him. It must have been equally as great scoring your first stoppage under the Cage Warriors banner?
Thanks very much! Yes to be honest Matt Inman is a highly ranked welterweight and a tough guy so I was very happy to get the stoppage in such emphatic fashion. To be honest I know I have got it in me to stop anyone that I face, it’s just taken me a little while to pull the trigger. I’ve had 35+ fights and I don’t think I have ever been so happy with a result than that one, not because of who I was facing but because I know it’s been a long time coming especially on Cage Warriors. I’ve put so much pressure on myself since I first beat Allan Love at Cage Warriors #43 to put in an exciting performance on the show and get the finish and it just hasn’t happened for one reason or another, it was a huge relief to get the job done this time round and I’m sure that many more will come in the future!
And now it’s on to the next one as you look to take on David Bielkheden at Cage Warriors in May in Dubai. How excited are you to take on ‘The Brazilian Swede’?
It honestly can’t come soon enough. I’ve been a big fan of Bielkheden since before he was signed to UFC and have always had a feeling I would eventually face him for one reason or another and win Ian Dean sent me the message of course I said “Yes” immediately.
How do you think your style matches up with his and will there be an added focus to increase your grappling defence in this camp given his background in grappling?
It’s a very exciting match up for me to be honest. In 34 professional MMA fights I’ve never really faced anyone that is really similar to my training partners, at Tsunami Gym our style is definitely focused on wrestling, high level grappling and using boxing to set up takedowns and that is what Bielkheden tries to do. In some ways I feel like I’ve been training for this fight since I started training at Tsunami Gym and it’s going to be exciting to face someone with a similar style to the guys I face in the gym day in day out. In terms of Bielkheden’s grappling credentials, of course I know that he is legit but I train with some world class grapplers too and I have a stifling top game.
Is there anything the fans should be looking to expect from you in this next fight?
I’m just hoping to put in an exciting performance and show the Cage Warriors fans that I mean business in this division.
So is it pretty exciting going to fight abroad or is it an added hindrance to your normal camp with cutting weight etc?
It’s very exciting to me to be able to fight in the UAE. I went out to watch my friend Alexander Gustaffson fight in the UFC in Abu Dhabi and the fans out there were some of the best I have ever seen at an MMA event, the atmosphere was unbelievable and I am sure it will be the same in Al Fujairah! In terms of the weight cut I’m sure it will be extremely hot out there so hopefully that will make the cut that much easier .
And certainly not jumping the gun but a win against David would put you on a 4 fight winning streak with 3 wins in Cage Warriors which must put you near the top of the pile for a title shot?
I think a win over Bielkheden will put me definitely in the top few Welterweight fighters on the Cage Warriors roster. I think with another win against a top opponent after Bielkheden and I will be shouting for a shot at the belt.
Interestingly David Bielkheden has fought the current Cage Warriors Welterweight Champion Cathal Pendred and lost a decision. How impressed have you been with Cathal’s recent performances?
Cathal has been very impressive over the past couple of years, he’s literally been steam rolling the tops fighters in Europe in his last few fights. I think it’s his impressive cardio and relentless pace that just breaks guys will and gets him these decisions. I can’t wait to see him fight Che Mills at Cage Warriors on 1st June, I think that fight has fireworks written all over it!
This time last year you had already had three fights going 2-1 as opposed to your one fight this year. Have you purposely slowed things down this year?
Not really but I’ve been really busy at work, we moved into our new house at the back end of last year and to be honest I’ve been in fight camp all year this year so far so I haven’t had a break at all yet! I’m still planning to get 5 or 6 bouts in this year. I want to fight as much as possible whilst I’m still young, don’t have kids and can devote the time to it.
As a mixed martial artist do you set yourself yearly goals or do you work at a fight a time? What are your goals as a mixed martial artist?
I use goal setting in every aspect of my life and yes I definitely use it for MMA. I have short term and long terms goals which I don’t mind sharing…short term I plan to beat David Bielkheden, medium term I plan to win the Cage Warriors WW title and long term I plan to fight for the UFC, it’s up to me to go out and doing everything to make that happen now.
From a fans point of view, what is it about Cage Warriors that just doesn’t allow them to have a boring show? I can’t recall the last event they had that wasn’t insanely entertaining. Undoubtedly it’s a testament to all the staff and management.
I honestly can’t speak highly enough about the Cage Warriors promotion! I think a lot of credit has to go to Ian Dean for his incredible and ruthless matchmaking, all of his fights are so evenly matched that it’s so hard to predict a winner on any of their cards and it makes for some barnstorming fights. Ian goes out of his way to find the best talent in Europe and the World, whether they are big names or not and matches them against each other. In terms of being a Cage Warriors fighter it means that you will never get any easy fight, but from my point of view I really and truly don’t want those easy fights, the only reason I compete in MMA is because I want to test my skills against the best guys out there and be the best fighter that I can be. The fighters on Cage Warriors are the elite fighters in the world that are outside the UFC and if I can’t beat these guys on Cage Warriors I don’t want or deserve to be fighting in the UFC. As a fan I’d always watch a Cage Warriors card over some other UK fight shows, no one wants to see a ticket seller/ poster boy beat up a ‘can’ in 45 seconds and then listen to how good they are.
Another great thing from a fans point of view is the production quality of the show, every single show the production gets better and better and they are really starting to focus on developing the personalities of some of their fighters in the Cage Warriors Countdown show and other productions, I think this makes things much more entertaining for the viewers when they can relate to the fighters they are watching that bit more. Of course the commentary has always been top notch with such entertaining and educated commentators John Gooden and Josh Palmer who in my opinion are the best in the business. Graham Boylan the Cage Warriors CEO is pulling out all the stops to make each Cage Warriors event better than the last.
How are spirits back at camp with Luke Barnatt recently scoring his first UFC victory and John Maguire lined up to fight at UFC 161?
Spirits are pretty good, I’ve just recently got back from Vegas after watching Luke go and do his thing out there in his UFC debut and he really did the business. Really proud of that lanky bastard!
Both Luke and John have been in the States training with Chael Sonnen and his team since February and will be back next week and let me tell you Maguire is looking in shape right now, the guy even has the outline of some abs!
Is there anyone you would like to mention or thank?
I’d like to thank all my training partners and coaches at BKK Fighters, Tsunami Gym, Ministry of Martial Arts and Laurence Irving Strength & Conditioning for giving up their time to train with me and of course my girlfriend and family. Without these people in my life I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything.
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