The Rise of Jared Gooden
In addition to coaching at Straight Blast Gym Buford, Jared Gooden is also a white-hot professional MMA fighter.
Having just come off of his 8th professional MMA victory, and being awarded his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt by Head Coach Phillipe Gentry, I had the chance to sit down with him and hear the story of how he got started at Straight Blast Gym, and why he started competing in mixed martial arts.
When I was 15 years old, I ran accross an MMA fight while flipping channels at my dad’s house. I stopped and watched for a few minutes, and these two guys (Matt Hughes and BJ Penn) are fighting in a cage, in front of a bunch of people, and one of them is getting their hand raised. In those short few moments I knew that this was something I wanted to do, but I was only 15 years old so I had no idea how I was supposed to make it happen, LOL.
Flash forward a couple years later and I see this MMA fight poster come up on my Facebook feed. At the bottom of the poster I see an email address, so I send a message asking how I can be a part of his fights. A few minutes later I get a message back from a guy named David Oblas. He is asking me questions like ‘Where do you train? How long have you been training? What is your MMA record?’ Well I didn’t have any of those things, so I just told him I was a streetfighter and that I could beat anyone. LOL, oh man, looking back I probably sounded so dumb, but at the time I thought that was what he’d want to hear. I assumed MMA was just two guys showing up to a cage to fight each other. David hits me back and tells me there’s a guy not far from where I live named Phillipe Gentry. The rest is history.
I walked into Coach Phillipe’s gym at 17 years old. It was June 2nd of 2011, I day I will always remember. I start to train with Coach Phillipe and Coach Pat Barger and it was immediately clear that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was so clumsy and accident prone that my nickname became ‘My Bad’ because I was constantly apologizing for hurting people during training.
It was at this point that I had to get a comment from Phillipe Gentry about Jared’s early days of training:
Oh dude, it was bad. You see this incredible speciman of a fighter, now, and think that he must have picked up MMA super easy. Nope. The first couple years we had to execute a lot of patience with it getting so bad, at one point, that MMA and Muay Thai coach Pat Barger refused to train with him for a while because of how often Jared would injure him in training. Pat is one of the toughest guys I know, so if he won’t train with you….that’s really saying something, LOL.
After being defeated in his first ever amateur MMA fight, Jared found his groove and went on the rattle off 8 consecutive amateur MMA and Muay Thai victories. Going pro, he continued his winning ways by winning his first 6 professional MMA fights.
I’m a competitive guy. Even before I was fighting, everything was a competition to me. Growing up I would hurt my friends when we were playing wrestling or football. A lot of the kids wouldn’t play with me anymore because I was too rough. I was never mean or malicious, I just played to win, all the time. It wasn’t until I started training MMA at Straight Blast Gym Buford that I learned to control myself and train smart. I don’t get hurt during my training because I train hard, but intelligently. I’ll save the bumps and bruises for the cage when I’m getting paid.
I have to show the world that I am the best at this. Some people think that sounds egotistical, but I 100% believe it is this attitude that has gotten me to where I am today. You have to be confident to win in MMA. If you’re not, you’ve lost before you even step into the cage.
I wrapped up by asking Jared what benefits he’s received from training in MMA and at Straight Blast Gym Buford.
Man, the best benefits I’ve gotten from MMA, and from training/working at SBG, is I control my own life and destiny. I get to train whenever I want, and now I’m also getting to teach people my craft that Straight Blast Gym has given me. I don’t wake up and punch a clock at a job that I hate, which is such a big deal.
I enjoy teaching people. I love to see the look on someone’s face when they learn how to throw a punch. I love the look people get when I’ve helped them learn how to do a submission. I love that I teach people self defense and they don’t have to be afraid when they’re out by themselves, because they now have the tools to protect themselves and their loved ones. I love that I wake up and do what makes me happy. Being a coach and and an MMA fighter is truly living out my dream…and it’s only going to get better.
cover photo by Jamie Wable