Okinawa, Japan is far far away from Long Neck, Delaware. A 13 hour time difference to be exact. But that is where former two sport high school athlete Jevon Saffold has already made a name for himself fighting in the cage.
Saffold, a 2019 graduate of Sussex Central High School joined the United States Air Force after graduation. He is currently stationed in Okinawa with the U.S.A.F. Security Services. So with his spare time and his wrestling background he began training in mixed martial arts.
“I have been doing MMA for about a year and a half, it started as just something to do to just stay in shape,” Saffold said.
Saffold said seeing some former wrestlers he knew competing back in the United States changed that and he began training to compete.
“I was inspired by some Delaware guys taking it more seriously like Chase Archangelo and Austin Clayton,” Saffold said.
Both Archangelo (Smyrna High School) and Clayton (St. Georges High School) were high school wrestlers around the time Saffold wrestled for Sussex Central. Saffold was a state finalist his senior year.
Saffold trains and competes with the Ryuku Fight Club with both Japanese and American fighters.
He trains five days a week while still doing his job with the military. He is currently competing as an amateur with a record of 4-1.
All of his wins so far have come via TKO and his lone loss was by submission in his second fight. Saffold is currently the 145 lb champion for the Grasp the Future Amatuer Fight League.
Saffold draws upon his wrestling experience in high school and as a youth wrestler in his MMA training. Prior to Sussex Central Saffold grew up wrestling with the Henlopen Hammers Wrestling Club.
“I think wrestling plays a huge part in me as a person not just in martial arts, but in life. I have grown a lot over the years I spent wrestling learning discipline, sportsmanship, hard work, how to handle losses and most importantly how to treat people. It takes a different kind of person to wrestle” Saffold said.
As he continued training Saffold said the urge to compete again grew and he used his past experiences not only in training, but in his mindset as well.
“Looking back even when I was little in my days with the Hammers you always want to be surrounded by people that are going to push you and make you better, that’s how you improve.”
Saffold added, “I learned later that I used to rely on my talent and not hard work and that has shifted. Now that I am older I want to be one of the hardest workers in the room and that is how I have improved.”
Saffold is set to defend his Grasp the Future Amatuer 145 pound title this Saturday, December 16 at the Foster Fieldhouse at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan. He will face Uraken, a Japanese fighter.
Saffold said his future plans after his military service will include martial arts.
“Once my military contract is up my goal is to use my V.A. loan to buy a house, move to Arizona and turn pro. Then become a world champion,” Saffold said.
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