MONCTON – Few expected the Elite 1 Mixed Martial Arts Production featherweight title fight between Springhill’s Justin Bourgeois and Moncton’s “Bad” Brad Duguay to last one round and even fewer fans of the Springhill titleholder expected Saturday’s outcome at Casino New Brunswick.
Duguay submitted Bourgeois with a triangle choke after 3:33 in a round largely dominated by Bourgeois, passing the belt on to Duguay.
“It seems like the guys I’m supposed to win against on paper I lose to,” Bourgeois said. “I think I was impatient and that’s what got to me. I know where I went wrong, too. I was low on a single leg takedown and he beat me to the punch.”
Knowing where he went wrong, though, makes him a dangerous man in the competitive world of MMA, Bourgeois says.
“I’m not going to rest,” he said. “It’s still early but it’s too early to stop. That could be my belt again.”
A little more than a year ago Bourgeois was considering retirement to focus on coaching at Springhill Mixed Martial Arts – Matmen MMA but after making the decision to give the sport its due things turned into a banner year for the Springhill athlete. He went the distance to become the first-ever Elite 1 MMA featherweight champion, traveled to New Jersey where he impressed Ultimate Fighting Championship head Dana White, and was rank-promoted by Brazilian Jiujitsu legend Royce Gracie. They were accomplishments that didn’t just happen to him but, instead, ones he sought out and earned. That determination has not gone unnoticed in his hometown of Springhill and abroad, earning him the respect of fans and fighters. His Facebook page lit up with praise when he won the title in January and the courtesy and praise was no different after Saturday’s loss.
“It’s a little hard, you know, after a loss and sometimes you want to just get away from everyone but this was different. Everyone’s saying I fought well. It’s just how it goes sometimes,” Bourgeois said. “ We took the kids to Magic Mountain, and the zoo – really had a fun family day afterwards - and even there people where coming up to me telling me I put on a really good fight. That really means a lot to me.”
With the summer still ahead of him and all the worries of being a titleholder off his shoulders, Bourgeois says he plans to enjoy himself as he makes his next move in the world of MMA.
One thing is for certain, though. While the belt can exchange hands over and over again, history has recorded him as being the first champion to wear it. That’s something no one can ever take away from him or his community.