Mixed martial arts is a sport that sees constant rotation between cherished talents and the latest up-and-comers. A new generation of fighters is always waiting in the wings to show the world their style and perseverance in all of their adrenaline-pumping brutality. One such competitor, Alex Gluzman, hailing from Hamilton, Ontario is beginning his journey to do just that. Fighting in the Bantamweight division, Gluzman, age 23, recently started his foray into combat sports; and he currently holds an amateur MMA record of 2-0 and a kickboxing record of 4-2.
“It feels amazing to finally start something I’ve wanted to pursue since childhood,” Gluzman tells ThreeBigLetters in our exclusive interview. Despite his grueling training schedule, Alex isn’t having a hard time finding a steady work-life balance. He says, “I only work morning shifts so I can make it to my kickboxing classes. Some days I just chill for a bit. I watch a movie or take in a few episodes of anime; listen to music or pick-up my brother from school. I squeeze in as much normalcy as possible before heading back out for Jiu Jitsu in the evening.”
Kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu are Alex’s main disciplines, but he also has a strong dose of Taekwondo in his regimen to increase versatility. This is, perhaps, why he’s undefeated in Canada’s amateur MMA circuit. That and the expert coaching by Jeff Joslin, a Pan American Champion, Grapplers Quest Champion and Arnold Invitational Champion. Joslin also fought Josh Koscheck in a Welterweight match during the main card of UFC Fight Night 7 in 2006. Together, Alex Gluzman and his coach train at Jeff Joslin’s MMA, a traditional studio that offers a plethora of online tutorials.
Gluzman tells me of his coach, “I am really inspired by Jeff. He’s fought and practically beat guys who were once considered the best in the business during their prime, and he’s even made it to the UFC. He’s a Canadian pioneer, and just about everything he has accomplished inside and outside the ring is nothing short of inspiring.” Outside of his close circle, Alex does find strength and enthusiasm in others. He says, “I’m also inspired by anyone who steps in the ring, but it also depends on what they bring to the table. One day I might be inspired by someone like Anderson Silva, and the next day I’ll be inspired by Georges St-Pierre.”
Recently, the rising star stepped into the ring with Alejandro Jimenez during Montreal Fight League’s November 16th event. It was a hard-earned victory; the result of a three-round fight that saw Gluzman awarded with the big win based on the judges’ decision. Recalling the fight, he recounts, “Alejandro Jimenez was by far my biggest test to date. We carried the fight mostly on our feet, but I managed to hurt him a few times. I out-struck him and if I had more time, I feel like I could’ve finished him properly. This fight means so much to me because it was against another undefeated opponent, one who was ranked #4 in the Bantamweight division on the Montreal Fight League roster when I made my MMA debut in August.”
“I honestly haven’t payed that much attention to the crowd before my fights. I only focus on my opponent. It’s only after the fight when I realize that I just fought in front of a live crowd, and that’s only because people congratulate me right after. Every fight for me is the most important one, so I always treat my next opponent as if they are my biggest test.” A down to earth, respectful and endearing statement on his values within the sports world is the perfect way to end his interview. It goes to show that Alex is not in the game for fame and fortune, but to prove how far he can push himself and to display his passion for the process – from announcing a match to shouting a victory.
If Alex Gluzman continues on this path, with this level of momentum, talent and grounded morality, I don’t think it’ll be long before we see him on television screens around the world. Follow him and his journey on Instagram: here.
***cover photo credit: Prosody Media
***second photo credit: Montreal Fight League