John Albert is relatively young in his mixed martial arts career, if you want to look at the quantity of fights he has under his belt. However, his 7-3 record doesn’t do justice to the fact he has fought tough competition in the 10 fights he has taken in his career.

Albert is 1-2 in the UFC, but he has shown to be extremely exciting and popular among fans for his style of fighting. Of course, his start with the UFC came in the form of an invitation to The Ultimate Fighter 14.

“Winning to get into the house [against Orville Smith] proved that I should have been there and that I earned my spot on the show,” Albert said in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I looked at TUF as a big vacation for me. It was the first time I ever got to train full-time as a pro because I was working 40 to 60 hours a week and getting in about two hours of training a day before the show.”

After defeating Dustin Pague in his first official pro fight with the UFC, Albert drew Ivan Menjivar, a longtime veteran of the sport. Despite being a heavy underdog, Albert went in there and put on an exciting, impressive performance. He would eventually submit to Menjivar, but it was a great learning experience for the up-and-comer.

Albert (bottom) works for a triangle (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

“I learned how to control and pace myself from the fight with Ivan. I wasted all my energy looking to finish him and gave up position, so going back and seeing that definitely helped me moving forward,” Albert explained.

Controversy reared its ugly head in Albert’s next bout when he squared off with Erik Perez. Despite not tapping out to Perez’s armbar or verbally surrendering, referee Kim Winslow called a stop to the fight by technical submission. It is a call that was highly criticized all over the MMA world.

“I was disappointed at the time and I know it wasn’t Perez’s fault the fight got stopped,” Albert stated. “From that, I just needed to get back on the horse, let it go and continue to train. It was definitely reassuring that [UFC matchmaker Sean] Shelby stated it was a poor stoppage and I would get another chance.”

Despite having all of his losses come by submission, Albert tends to believe that submission defense is not a weakness. His three submission losses have come to Roy Bradshaw, Menjivar and Perez.

“When I look at it, my very first submission was not a guillotine loss,” Albert explained. “I fought up two weight classes to get a fight. We agreed at a 160-pound catchweight because he couldn’t make weight. He weighed in at 165 pounds and I weighed in with a full sweat suit on eating a hot dog, so there was definitely a huge weight difference.

“On the ground, he fell on me and dislocated my rib. I couldn’t fight anymore, but he threw a guillotine choke on and I tapped because my ribs were in such pain. And obviously, the Perez submission was the controversial one, so I feel that my submission defense is actually very good.”

Albert faces Scott Jorgensen this week in Seattle at UFC on Fox 5. Jorgensen is a former title challenger, which excites Albert at the prospect of beating a top guy.

Albert (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

“I’m going to go out there and fight like a normally do, you won’t see me fight conservatively,” Albert said. “It will be the same controlled aggression. He is more of a finisher on the feet and with ground-and-pound on the mat, so people who say I need help on submission defense likely won’t see it on display in this fight. I don’t see Jorgensen as having any weaknesses as much I see myself having more advantages. I mean, he’s beat some of the best and fought for the title.”

Albert trains out of Washington and has fought a majority of his career in the regional promotions in Washington. This will likely give him a hometown atmosphere for this fight, which many times fighters consider as a pressure situation.

“I put a little pressure on myself because I am all about performance,” Albert explained. “I talked to Demetrious Johnson and he gave me some reassuring advice. He said fight for yourself first and the fans will support no matter what. The fans won’t be in the cage helping me fight, so I really don’t see hometown crowds being an advantage.”

Obviously, a fighter never wants to look past their upcoming fight to look for the next opponent, but Albert did not think twice about who he wants after Jorgensen.

“Yeah, I’d like to fight Takeya Mizugaki because I have been training with Jeff Hougland for quite a bit and I helped him for the Mizugaki fight,” Albert said. “He fought sick and was disappointed with how the fight went. He doesn’t want to make excuses about it, so I’ll do it for him. That said, I want Mizugaki and [to] earn that win back.”

Albert is very confident going into this fight with Jorgensen. He has lost his last two, even if the last one was controversial, so he knows a win is a must here. Seeing Albert’s evolution from The Ultimate Fighter to now has been a treat for fans to experience.

John would like to thank his coach Dennis Hallman, Jeff Hougland and his team at Combat Sports and Fitness, his strength and conditioning coach, his boxing/Muay Thai coach and all his coaches who have got him to this point in his career. Follow him on Twitter at @UFCPrinceAlbert

Top Photo: John Albert (R) delivers a kick (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.

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