Photos: Bubba Jenkins Puts Finishes Touches on Training Camp Ahead of PFL Bout vs. Ryoji Kudo

Bubba Jenkins finished training camp last week in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

This Saturday night, Aug. 20, PFL veteran Bubba Jenkins returns to the ring to face off with Tokyo’s Ryoji Kudo in a featherweight semifinal showdown. The Jenkins (18-5) vs. Kudo (11-3-1) showdown will air on ESPN and ESPN + as part of a 13-bout card from the Copper Box Arena in London.

We caught up with Jenkins and trainer Dewey Cooper out in Las Vegas, NV, as they put the finishing touches on camp inside of the newly renovated Split-T Boxing Gym.

“Training has been going awesome,” said Jenkins last week, a few days before he and his team flew out to London.

Jenkins is a workhorse who is always in the gym and he and Cooper have been on a great run together. Jenkins points to the fact that he has so much trust in Cooper, who was a multi-sport competitor and champion during his days as a fighter.

“Dewey is one of the best coaches in the game, and when he gives you the greenlight that you are looking good, feeling good, then you are good with that, and that’s what I’m going with,” said Jenkins. “We’re looking good.”

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Jenkins has seen his name grow in notoriety, with his involvement in the PFL (Professional Fighters League) playing a huge role. Jenkins also loves the fact that the PFL has their own playoffs.

“It’s an awesome league,” Jenkins stated. “I think, as we look at what UFC has been doing, and Bellator, what they are doing, it’s different. I’m in PFL because I believe PFL is going the route of the NBA, the route of the NFL, and different leagues across sports. So, the regular season, and the playoffs, and the way they score things, I think it will catch on, as common MMA fans become fans of fighting. I think the PFL is creating their own lane. I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Kudo definitely is a fighter who poses a threat, and he has a penchant for ending fights via stoppage. When giving his assessment of his opponent, you can tell Jenkins has respect, without wavering any confidence.

“It’s go time, it’s showtime,” said Jenkins. “I have Ryoji Kudo; they say he is a wrestler, but he looks more like a karate striker. And I’m excited about it. He’s dangerous in a lot of different areas, but I’m too much of a wave for him, I’ll be flowing everywhere, and drowning him wherever I want him to be.”

Jenkins was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and grew up in Virginia. He admits that his love of wrestling seemed to open up the doors for a career in combat sports.

“I’m an East Coast cat,” said Jenkins. “I’ve been a wrestler all my life. I’ve been a national champ, world champion wrestler, so I got into MMA through combat. Just being a combative athlete, and the [natural] profession for us NCAA wrestlers is most likely MMA. I’m just doing my professional sport, from what I did in collage.”

Jenkins’ grappling skills are very superior, and he was asked to compare the difference between grappling and striking.

“It’s completely different,” said Jenkins. “The striking game is a little bit faster; You’ve got time to feel and do more things with the wrestling, you’ve got time to think, and feel it. But in striking you can just get hit. You can see a guy and just get hit and not know what you got hit with. Your defense has to be a little more sound and you have to be intelligent. You have to be privy of what’s going on. There’s a lot of tricks in the game, there’s a lot of feints and set ups.”

The Jenkins vs. Kudo fight will be part of the 2022 PFL Playoffs, that is set to air this Saturday on ESPN (2 PM/ET) and ESPN + (1 PM/ET)

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Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com

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