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Ranked 2nd in Canada, 1st in Maritimes
Jerico MacPhee hammered his opponent, Marc Hebert, with a few punches before locking his arm around his neck, securing the choke, and winning the Elite 1 MMA amateur lightweight title Saturday night at Casino New Brunswick in Moncton.
SPRINGHILL – It only took one minute and ten seconds for Springhill’s Jerico MacPhee to win the Elite 1 MMA amateur lightweight title.
“I was ready for a five round war but I got in there and my body went on cruise control,” said MacPhee after the fight. “I would have liked to have had a two or three round fight but the quicker you can get in there and get out, the better it is for you and your health.”
It wasn’t so much an emotional win. It was more like a big breath of fresh air came in. I’m glad I got over that.
Jerico MacPhee discussing Saturday's fight, which was his first fight after coming off a serious shoulder injury
The 21-year-old submitted his opponent, Marc Hebert, via a chokehold at 1:10 into the first round on Saturday night at Casino New Brunswick.
After some early stand-up action from the feet, the fighters then went to the mat. MacPhee got on top of Hebert near the side of the cage and quickly put him away.
“I pushed down on his head and I hit him once. When I hit him in the face, he turned and gave me his back,” said MacPhee. “I worked from there. I hit him a couple of times, loosened him up and then I gave him the choke.”
It was Macphee’s first fight in the 155-pound lightweight division, a move up from the 145-pound featherweight division.
“The weight difference kind of played a little in my head but at the same time I didn’t have to cut down to featherweight, which would have been another 10 pounds.”
MacPhee walks around at 165 pounds and had to cut 10 pounds for Saturday’s lightweight fight.
“I didn’t feel drained from the weight cut. I felt really strong at 155,” he said.
MacPhee noticed a difference while fighting Hebert in the heavier division.
“When we clinched up in the middle of the cage I thought he’s definitely a big, strong boy,” said MacPhee. “He was a hefty guy. He had some power.”
The win gives MacPhee an amateur record of 7-0. After the fight his amateur ranking went up to 1st in the Maritimes in both the lightweight and featherweight division, and 2nd in Canada in both divisions.
Besides being his first lightweight fight, Saturday’s battle was also MacPhee’s first fight since Aug. 2015. The long layoff followed a shoulder injury sustained in training. Saturday’s win lifted a big weight off his shoulders.
“It wasn’t so much an emotional win. It was more like a big breath of fresh air came in. I’m glad I got over that,” said MacPhee. “Coming back into the cage after a big injury is a big leap forward.”
MacPhee has been training at the Tristar Gym in Montreal since April 8.
Tristar is a mecca to some of the greatest legends of mixed martial arts, including Canada’s Georges St-Pierre and Brazil’s Vitor Belfort.
Training at Tristar has helped MacPhee’s fight game immensely.
“For this fight I got to train in a cage the whole camp, which is different than what I’m used to,” said MacPhee. “So if the fight went up against the cage I worked on what to do.”
MacPhee has also had the opportunity to spar with high-level fighters at Tristar, including Belfort.
“You’re sparring with super-high-level amateurs right up to the highest-of-the-high pros, so you’re getting nothing but good rounds.”
MacPhee started many of his previous six fights with his engine revving at red line and his tires burning hot, but training in the cage at Tristar has taught him to relax and be patient.
“On Saturday I did a lot of thinking before the fight and told myself it’s not a race. You go in there, you have five rounds, and do your thing,” said MacPhee.
“There’s no need to run off instinct and blow off your gas tank in the first minute,” he added. “I was in there having fun. I was going in for the kill but I was going in there to have fun as well, and that’s what I did. I had so much fun Saturday.”
He says he would like to continue to fight in the amateur lightweight division and hopes to defend his title in September.
He says he will fight anybody Elite 1 MMA Productions throws his way.
“I’m not much of a picker. If they come at me with a guy they want me to fight I’m fine with that,” said MacPhee. “I’m just there to do my job, and that’s to fight.”
MacPhee thanks many people for his success.
“I thank my brother Justus, I thank Justin Bourgeois (Jerico’s MMA coach at Cumberland Mixed Martial Arts) for always being there for me, I wouldn’t be anywhere in this sport if it wasn’t for that guy, and I give a big thanks to my dad,” said MacPhee.
He also thanked family friend Bob MacLean for his help, and Technacity, a sponsor that picked him up right before Saturdays fight.
“I also want to give thanks to all my fans and friends for all their support. The support you get out of this town (Springhill) is unbelievable,” said MacPhee.
MacPhee returns to Tristar on Sunday.
MacPhee throws a kick toward Marc Hebert's head Saturday night at Casino New Brunswick.