In the world of sports, one of the most prevalent cliches suggests that nobody should ever take anything for granted. Everything can go away for an athlete as quickly as it comes, and it’s up to them to ensure that they can hold on to what they claim as theirs at all times. Nobody ever intends to let go of what they have, but sometimes, they do need a reminder of what they’re fighting for, and that reminder tends to spawn from one notable defeat.

Jake Collier got hooked on the sport of MMA from the moment he first realized what he could do. He kicked off his amateur career with a streak of wins, and kept those victories coming when he turned pro. When he came across Kelvin Tiller in 2012, though, Collier would learn a valuable lesson in not taking anything for granted, even in the beginning stages of one’s MMA career.

“I knew my Jiu-Jitsu was good when we hit the ground,” Collier told The MMA Corner, “and I felt comfortable there, but he caught me sleeping, he caught me off my game, and he caught me with a triangle.”

At this point, it goes without saying that mixed martial arts has evolved from its early days, when men relied on only one style to win a fight. Once Pat Miletich and others started to cross-train and include more than one style, the game eventually began to require guys to hone their skills in multiple aspects. After the loss to Tiller, Collier understood that prevailing in this sport would require him to stay up in all aspects, and it paid off for him.

“I really focused on the little things, getting back to what I’m good at, focusing on my mistakes and just getting better.”

After the loss to Tiller, Collier posted a streak of four wins, which eventually earned him a call up to Resurrection Fighting Alliance. From the moment he came in contact with the brass in the RFA, he knew that he would indeed get to face undefeated Gabriel Checco as part of RFA 19 this Friday in Prior Lake, MN. When he was informed that his RFA debut against Checco, who also makes his RFA debut on Friday, would see the RFA’s vacant middleweight title on the line, Collier was left speechless.

“At first, I was signed to fight Checco, and I was completely comfortable with that, and then they hit us back, saying that they wanted to make this for the title fight., I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth fast enough, ‘Where do I sign?’. I’m really excited to fight for this organization. They just find nothing but studs, and it’s a big organization, you know. Fighting for the title, fighting Gabriel, I’m blessed to have this opportunity, and it’s definitely going to be a good fight.”

Collier had no issue with his weight cut, nor did he have issue with finding expert-level wrestlers, strikers, and grapplers to help him prepare for what Checco will bring. Checco, to his credit, owns wins in all seven of his professional outings and will not make this encounter easy for Collier, regardless of how long the fight lasts. Still, Collier knows that no matter how much the sport of MMA evolves, the fight game will always remain an unpredictable entity. Therefore, he hopes that Checco will look forward to a grueling five-round battle because as the rounds move on, few men will try to turn up the heat on Checco in the way that Collier plans to on Friday night.

“I kind of like the five-round thing. I feel like when my fights do go out of the first round, I just get stronger as the fight goes, and I see no difference in this fight. You want to train your best, you want to be better, because you’re training with world-class guys and they really bring out the best in you, as an athlete, as a fighter, and everything [else]. It really helps my confidence in this sport and it increases my morale for this fight, so it’s really great.

“We’re both finishers. You know, we’re both hungry, and we want to get the fight over with, and he throws big bombs. I do too, and he’s a strong guy. He definitely doesn’t look like he has any quit in him, and that’s what the fans want to see. The fans want to see a war, and I think we’re going to give it to them because we’re both finishers, we both have power in our hands, and the fight could go anywhere.”

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.