“It feels great to be the CHAMP”
Something Jim ‘The Beast’ Alers has never had to come face to face with is a split decision…until now. We thought we’d give him the chance to experience something new as his views went to Split Decision MMA UK.
It’s hard to imagine what it must have felt like for Alers to finally get his hands on the Cage Warriors Featherweight Championship, after waiting patiently for his shot at the belt and then taking it while adding yet another finish to his record.
“It feels great to be the CHAMP of such an amazing organization. I slept with my belt for a while but then my wife got a bit jealous. I felt like I deserved this belt long ago and plan on staying champ for a while.”
Cage Warriors 53 saw Jim Alers become the new featherweight champion against Joni Salovaara, securing a submission and taking the title in the championship rounds. ”I was very nervous in that fight. A lot more nervous than I have been in any previous fight. I was the favorite to win and it was my chance to finally claim what I believed was mine. Salovaara was very tough and hard to put away but I was happy with the way I was controlling the fight through out the rounds. I think I let my nerves get the best of me because it looked like I started to fade in the 4th round before I locked up the triangle. I think it was meant for me to finish that fight from my back just like I did in my first ever fight”, said Alers.
The celebrations that night in Glasgow went to the next level as the new champ left the cage and joined in with his passionate group of suited up supporters to celebrate his achievement. Next to them in the press section we were left to wonder were they friends, family or even members of The Jim Alers Official Fan Club maybe? Alers explained, “haha no they were just a group of friends that I have over in London who came to support me. They will be at my next fight for sure. I should start the official Jim Alers Fan Club soon though and when I do I’ll make sure that I let you guys know first”.
He may have reached his goal of becoming the featherweight champion but Alers is not planning on standing still, his focus is on pushing to new levels while defending his title and he’s finding his motivation as strong as ever. “I’ve always said that you are not truly the champ until you defend your belt once. I have to prove that it was not a fluke. I wasn’t happy with my last performance so I want to show the world all the hard work that I have put in to improve. There is always room to improve”, Alers told Split Decision.
With Cage Warriors recently announcing their intentions to grow their womens divisions and put on shows in eastern Europe it looks to be an exciting time to be a champion of a promotion that is constantly growing and looking to improve. “Yes I honestly believe that not only is Cage Warriors the top European show but it’s top 3 in the world. I’m definitely with the right organization at this point of my career”, said Alers.
Being based over the Atlantic makes Alers achievement all the more impressive with all the travel involved and having to aclimatise to different countries and their time zones, often fighters find this a challenge in itself even just to get their sleep patterns back to normal in time for fight day. “I usually try to time my sleeping according to my flight but that doesn’t seem to work well. I do usually arrive to my fight destinations a few days before the fight so I get some time to adjust as best as possible”. With Alers’ fights now having a title on the line there’s even more pressure on him to get his weight down perfect after travelling but this is not something that the featherweight champion has ever worried about, “Weight cut has not been a problem for me so far. I am very disciplined with my diet that I am sure I will always make weight no matter what the circumstances”, said Alers.
When asked about potential future matchups he’d like Alers still has his sights set on a certain ‘Notorious’ Irishman that once held the same belt, and is currently taking the UFC by storm. “I think everyone knows that I would love to put everyone’s thoughts to rest and beat Conor McGregor. I know that I have what it takes to take him down and submit him”, Alers clearly has unfinished business going back to their war of words and expected fight that in the end did not materialise due to McGregor pulling out first through injury and then later signing with the UFC.
Sweden’s Martin Svensson will be the first featherweight to challenge Alers for his spot at the top of the division. This fight will take place in Cardiff at Cage Warriors 59 and the Scandanavian at over six feet tall should provide an interesting size obstacle for the champion. “I have seen many of his fights and I feel this is an interesting match up for anyone because of his height. I started training with many fighters who are his height and can duplicate his fighting style so I feel I will be ready for anything he can throw at me”, said Alers adding, “I am confident that I will walk out of that cage still the Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion”.
With Alers and Svensson having the majority of their wins in the cage coming from submissions many might be expecting to witness a war on the ground come September 14th, but the champion isn’t so sure and is ready for anything, “It is possible that this fight can go right to the floor but it is also possible that we decide to settle this on our feet since both of us have such good ground games”, Alers suggested. “No matter where it goes though I feel that I will have the advantage.”
Last time we spoke with Alers before his title fight in Glasgow he had spent part of his training camp over at Duke Roufus’ gym to sharpen up his striking and the rest of this time at his base in Florida at Alliance, this time around he’s stayed closer to home. “I am traveling around my home state of Florida this time around. We have so many great gyms and talented fighters in this state that I don’t need to go very far to get top level training.”, said Alers. “I am still with Alliance Orlando Jiu Jitsu Center. That is my home gym and is where I do 90 percent of my training”
Having the support of those around him both in and out of the gym makes his job a little easier for him. “I’d like to thank my wife for putting up with all the time I’m at the gym even during the pregnancy of our first son”. Alers added, “I would also like to thank my team at Alliance Orlando and all the other schools in Florida who have been helping me. Lastly I would like to thank my main sponsors NVRTAP, NVRSTOP, FastWax OrlandoBJJ and Crossfit Tough as Nails”.
Cage Warriors have certainly got an exciting featherweight holding their belt in Jim Alers. His ability to not only win fights but to have finished all of those victories within the time limit could well position him near the front of the queue when the UFC next opens it’s doors to the 145lb division. He already has a ready made feud with the UFC’s new favourite featherweight Conor McGregor, he performs well after travelling long distances overseas and now he’s handled the pressure of fighting for a title on a big stage so Alers appears a good fit. If that move doesn’t come for a while then take advantage and watch The Beast in action at a Cage Warriors show while you can, starting with Cage Warriors 59 in Cardiff.