The month of April 2013 is one that will be forever etched into the memory of Luke “The Juggernaut” Jumeau.

At the beginning of the month he was blessed with the birth of his first child, a girl named Luna. And to finish off the month, he fights Li Jingliang for the vacant Legend FC Welterweight championship at Legend FC 11 on April 27. The experience of being a brand new father brings a sense of pride that just cannot be described until you have been through it. For Jumeau, it changes his perspective on his career as a fighter.

“It makes all that time being away from home worth it,” he revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “It gives me that little extra bit of motivation for all that time that I spend in the gym, and when I actually fight it gives me something else to fight for.”

Like most fighters, Jumeau’s progression into the sport of mixed martial arts started with his training in another combat sport. His reasons for moving into mixed martial arts differ slightly from the usual tale of chasing a new challenge.

“My brother had just started boxing before he passed away, so I trained in it for a while after that. It was kind of a little bit too close to home and wasn’t really my thing, so I stopped,” he admitted. “When I was 14, a mate and I went to a martial arts gym and we spent as much time there as possible, and I never looked back.”

Jumeau (L) connects with a left hand (Anton Tabuena/Bloody Elbow)

A topic of confusion for some is that of Jumeau’s fight nickname. He is often referred to as “Jedi,” and that is even the name that is attached to his Sherdog profile page. However, Jumeau actually prefers to use the moniker “Juggernaut.”

“I got the name ‘Juggernaut’ because I am naturally pretty strong, and also because in the gym I would also run through guys pretty quickly,” he laughed. “The whole ‘Jedi’ thing was done by a local New Zealand promotion, mainly because I was so calm and collected in the cage, I guess, and it helped that my name was Luke. They went all out for a show and did a Star Wars theme video for me with the Star Wars music and everything. I have never been able to live that down.”

Making the trek overseas to fight is often a tough process—being away from friends and family and having to adapt to a different country come hand in hand with being an international fighter.

“At first, it’s hard to get used to the jet lag. And on the plane I tend to retain a lot of water, so it can be a bit harder when the weight cut comes along,” Jumeau explained.  “There are a lot of different factors when you go into the fight, but in the end it’s the same feeling in the change room. Nothing changes, you are there to fight.”

Jumeau’s opponent, Li Jingliang, is going into the championship bout having won four of his last six bouts with Legend FC. Jingliang may have the slight edge in fight experience, but Jumeau is confident that the two will be evenly matched inside the ring.

Jumeau (L) (Anton Tabuena/Bloody Elbow)

“We fight a very similar style,” he admitted. “He’s a solid and sound competitor.  We are both pretty well-rounded, so I am expecting a tough fight.”

Fighting for an international championship is a big thing. Being able to go out and prove that you are not only one of your own country’s best fighters but also the best of a whole region is something that not many fighters truly get to experience unless they are fighting in the UFC. It would be easy to get wrapped up in the fact that one fight could change the course of your career, but the cool head of Jumeau prevails in this situation.

“I am not going to worry about the belt until it’s around my waist,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just another fight for me. It’s no different; all the preparation is the same. It’s like everything that we work for in training is now being executed and all my hard work is paying off.”

For Luke Jumeau, coming home to his newborn after being in a different country for his fight will be a heart-warming experience on its own. Being able to add a championship win over a top-level fighter from the Asia-Pacific region would make the time away at such a precious moment all the more worth it.

Luke would like to thank Metal Mulisha and NZMMA for their support along with his family and training partners.

Top Photo: Luke Jumeau (Anton Tabuena/Bloody Elbow)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.