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Sport Meet 'The Monkey King:' DWCS 27's Jordan Leavitt doesn't fit the usual fighter mold

01:55  05 august  2020
01:55  05 august  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Jordan Leavitt is unusual – but he knows it and he doesn’t care.

a man holding a sign: Jordan Leavitt © File photo Jordan Leavitt

A competitor on the Dana White’s Contender Series, Season 4 premiere, Leavitt (6-0) will fight for a UFC contract Tuesday. Beyond what viewers will see him do inside the cage, Leavitt’s intrigue extends beyond his competitive skills.

Leavitt, 25, is a ground specialist and an undefeated MMA fighter – but he’s also an avid barefoot runner, political campaign worker, 100-books-a-year-reader, and a student. Leavitt has always liked sticking out.

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Jordan leavitt vs. luke flores. “ The Monkey King ” picked up a second-round submission win over fellow unbeaten upstart Leivon Lewis at LFA 85 midway through July to extend his winning streak to half a dozen, and training with a number of UFC caliber competitors and quality coaches

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“I’ve always been against the grain,” Leavitt recently told MMA Junkie. “I’ve never really cared about fitting in with people. It’s always been about what I want to do – things that push me and challenge me.  But I’ve always been a person who’s been focused on one thing at a time. I’ve always had an obsessive nature. I was either obsessed with politics or obsessed with wrestling – so I just kind of traded it for fighting. I’m interested in all different things. I read 100 books a year – at least. I do yoga and I do love running. But fighting is definitely my obsession. It’s definitely a grounding influence in my life. It kind of puts everything else in order for me.”

The soft-spoken, self-proclaimed “nerdy kid” doesn’t fit the mold of a stereotypical MMA fighter. Oftentimes, people don’t think he’s a professional mixed martial artist. But Leavitt understands why and has accepted it.

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“I definitely don’t think I fit the mold,” Leavitt said. “I don’t think I’m dripping of machismo. I’m not the most manly alpha-male type of person. I’m very smiley and very relaxed. … I’ve never cared about what people think. It definitely has helped me to stick out in this kind of environment. A lot of people are trying to be something they’re not. They have this idea that a fighter is supposed to be fit and supposed to be tough – or supposed to be macho. I’m just like, ‘I’m going to be myself.’ Real recognizes real, as they say.”

Being open and true to himself has bolstered Leavitt’s career. He doesn’t feel the need to promote himself by acting outlandish. He does admit, though, it was initially difficult for him to come to grips with how violent his career-choice is.

“I used to be a little insecure about it – especially when I was younger when I was a few fights in,” Leavitt said. “I hate hurting people. I’ve never been aggressive or a mean person. I’m probably overly polite. I’m probably too nice a lot of the time. It definitely took me a while to separate the violence from the sport for me. It’s not about hurting people. It’s not about me competing with my opponent. It’s about me competing with myself. I’ve figured out a way to frame it where it’s me becoming a better version of myself when I’m out there.”

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A win would not only vindicate Leavitt’s pursuit of MMA as a career, but it would also provide him relief knowing he can support himself – and let the world know that.

“I wouldn’t have to be embarrassed when people ask me what I do and I say, ‘A professional fighter.’ They’ll respond, ‘So you make a lot of money doing this?’ I’ll respond, ‘No, I’m kind of broke.’ Fighting doesn’t pay the bills,” Leavitt said. “It’ll mean everything to say, ‘I fight. That’s what I do to pay the bills. That’s what I do to take care of everything.’ It’ll definitely make it feel like all the work I put in actually means something.”

DWCS 27 takes place Tuesday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The four-fight card will simulcast on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass.

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