Colbert moves from the ring to the cage
by Johnathan Bentley
Jan 15, 2013 | 2015 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jerald Colbert of Jasper practices his striking earlier this month. Colbert, a former state wrestling champion at Walker High School, took up mixed martial arts fighting eight months ago. He heads to Mississippi for his next fight on Saturday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Jerald Colbert of Jasper practices his striking earlier this month. Colbert, a former state wrestling champion at Walker High School, took up mixed martial arts fighting eight months ago. He heads to Mississippi for his next fight on Saturday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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Jerald Colbert doesn’t want to hurt anybody — and that’s just his problem.

Nice guys and mixed martial arts (MMA) just don’t mix.

According to Colbert, a 2008 Walker High School graduate, things are going to change this year.

“My mentality when I go out there is that I don’t want to hurt anybody. This year, it’s a new me. One of my goals is to make somebody bleed or give somebody a black eye,” Colbert said.

At 5-foot-1, 130 pounds, Colbert isn’t your prototypical MMA fighter. Colbert, however, has more determination than most competitors twice his size.

“Everybody is bigger than me. Everybody is taller than me. They have to cut down weight from 150 or 140 down to 125. I have to put on weight. They may be stronger than me, but I have the mentality that nobody is going to stop me.”

Colbert competes again on Saturday in Meridian, Miss. His match is scheduled to begin at 7 pm. He brings a 4-3 record to the match.

Colbert is relatively new to MMA. His career started just eight months ago.

His background started with wrestling. At Walker High School, Colbert was a state championship wrestler for coach Martin Blankenship. In his senior season, Colbert finished a perfect 44-0, closing out the year with the 112-pound state title in Huntsville. He wrestled on the Vikings’ varsity team three years.

The wrestling background has already paid dividends for Colbert in his fledgling career.

“I would probably be 0-for-something if not for wrestling,” Colbert said. “Everybody tells me that my takedowns are amazing. It’s not the same training for wrestling though. When I first started, the training pretty much killed me. Now, my cardio is on a level that’s way better than when I was wrestling.”

Heath Garrett has been training Colbert recently.

In his first month with Garrett, Colbert went from benching 175 pounds to 215.

“I like being around Heath. He puts me in the right mindset,” Colbert said.

Garrett sees a budding star in Colbert.

“He’s amazing. This guy’s got so much potential. Before, in his fights, he wasn’t mentally prepared,” Garrett said. “We’ve been working on that. He’s ready to be explosive. In all his fights, he was thinking too much and wasn’t showing his technique. Now he’s going to show it all with explosiveness and ruthlessness.

“Before, he didn’t want to hurt anybody. Now he understands this is a sport where you have to,” Garrett added.

Colbert’s last match was a loss in Irondale in December.

“That last fight really hurt my feelings. Everybody came out to support me and I lost to him in a minute and 20 seconds,” Colbert said. He has worked hard at his mental preparation since that loss.

“In my matches so far I’ve been physically prepared but not mentally prepared,” he added. “The only thing holding me back is me. I’m very aggressive, but I haven’t shown it yet. MMA is an all-around sport, it’s not just wrestling. It’s boxing. It’s kicking. It’s everything you’ve got. When I go to fights, I’ve been acting like it’s a wrestling match. This year that’s got to change.”

Colbert has high hopes for himself. He has his sights set on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) — and it all starts with Saturday’s match.

“I’m an amateur right now. My goal is to go pro by the end of this year. I have a lot of goals. I want to go to the UFC. I want to compete for the 125 belt” Colbert said. “There are so many things, but right now I’m just focused on my next fight.”