Interview with Jiu Jitsu Black Belt & UFC Veteran, Shannon Gugerty

A Little About San Diego Jiu Jitsu Coach Shannon Gugerty

Shannon is a professional Mixed Martial Artist and San Diego native who has fought all over the world. In 2001, Shannon started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, which lead to his transition into MMA. Once his career record hit 10-2, he moved on to sign with the UFC. Gugerty made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2008 against then undefeated Dale Hartt, where he won by submission in the first round.

After a successful career as a UFC fighter, the veteran turned his aspirations towards the teaching of the sport and became the director of the MMA and Jiu Jitsu program at The Boxing Club in 2012, where he now focuses his passion on coaching the next generation of professional fighters.

We sat down with Shannon to get a little more insight into his passion for Jiu Jitsu

Q: What was the starting factor of your fighting career?

A: My brothers initially got me into fighting, and during my teen years I got into a couple fights that I kind of liked. I got into wrestling and Jiu Jitsu as a teenager after that. Once I got into amateur fighting I knew that was what I wanted to do, I wanted to become pro. Somewhere around 21 or 22 was when I had my first pro fight.

Q: Who trained you for your fights? Who were your primary coaches?

A: My first Muay Thai coach was Brandon Vera. He’s a very famous MMA fighter now, but he was a nobody when he first started training me. Dean Lister was my coach for MMA and Jiu Jitsu.

Q: Which do you prefer no-Gi or Gi Jiu Jitsu?

A: It depends on the day! I find myself loving either option from day to day, and things like the seasons affect my choice as well. When I haven’t trained, I like no-Gi a lot because it’s really fast paced and exciting. You can do a lot of different things without a Gi. But then I like Gi because it is very traditional, and I like to play with lapels and utilize different holds and grips.

Q: What was your favorite part about fighting in UFC?

A: My favorite part was definitely the pay day, because those were the biggest pay days I ever had in my professional career. I liked the attention and notoriety that I got. I got fan mail from all over the world, people would send me stuff to autograph. I thought that was just kind of cool.

Q: Who is your favorite MMA fighter?

A: My favorite MMA fighter would probably be Kazushi Sakuraba. He is somebody who was an innovator and a legend back in the day. I also really like Randy Couture and Dan Henderson, more of the old school fighters. I like the older guys who are wrestler and boxer types. The ones who always put on a show, those are my favorite type of fighters.

Q Who is your favorite Jiu Jitsu competitor?

 A: I obviously really look up to my coach, Dean Lister. I also look up to Marcelo Garcia - he is my idol. He is my favorite guy in Jiu Jitsu to watch. He’s just technically one of the best in the world, and he’s just one of the nicest guys period.

Q: At this stage in your life, if you could fight in the UFC again would you?

A: Yes, and the only person I would like to fight in the UFC is Conor McGregor, because I would like to smash his trash-talking face.

Q: What is your favorite move to teach or what is your signature move in Jiu Jitsu?

A: I’m known for my Guillotine Choke some people would say, but I like teaching any type of choke.

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be?

A: I would bring my tooth brush, my dog, and my TV.

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go?

A: I’ve always wanted to go to Bali.

Q: If you weren’t working in the martial arts industry right now, what do you think you would be doing?

A: I would definitely be a loser in jail right now because martial arts definitely steered me in the right direction.

Q: Do you think you will ever stop fighting or competing?

A: I never want to quit doing Jiu Jitsu tournaments. I want to continue doing them until I can no longer walk. But I don’t want to fight anymore or take anymore punches to the head because I want to preserve the brain cells that I have left. 

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