Jack "The Joker" Hermansson - Photo by MMAnytt

MMAnytt talks losses, the future and “fucking anxiety” with Jack Hermansson

MMAnytt talked with Swedish middleweight Jack "The Joker" Hermansson about his latest challenge, life as a professional fighter and what the future holds.

The skype ring tones finally starts and the computer screen shows a mess of pixles in different colors. The internet connection between Phnom Penh and Oslo is slower than a tortoise, but after a while a familiar smile emerges from a haze of red pixles, that later reveals itself to be a UFC shirt.

Experienced fighter

Jack “The Joker” Hermansson sits in his apartment in the capital of Norway, back from his latest adventure that took him all the way to Sao Paulo, Brazil and back.

It’s not the first time that the 29-year-old left the safety of home to travel to another corner of the globe to face one of the best middleweights in the world. Since his MMA debut in July of 2010 he has fought in the US, Italy and Jordan, to name a few.

“The Joker” has fought 13 times professionally and has won all but two, both losses coming in the biggest city of Brazil. His latest fight at UFC Fight Night 119 on the 28th of October, he faced Thiago “Marreta” Santos who finished him in the last second of the first round after a flurry of hard punches.

“I am still processing the loss. Right now I just want to get  back to training regularly, though I have a couple of small nagging injuries. Step by step I want to sort them out and get back to the routine. As soon as I’m back to training 100% I’ll be itching to fight again.”

The fact that both his losses came in Brazil is not something he wants to think about, Hermansson quickly deflects and says he can’t let his mind go there. Thinking like that will lead you down the wrong path. As he will soon reveal, that is easier said than done.

Foto: Jason Silva via USA Today Sports

How to fight through fear

Even though Hermansson is almost considered a veteran with 20 MMA fights to his credit, he says that fear is still a factor, when he walks through a sea of people toward the octagon. People screaming to see two athletes who dedicated their lives to sharpening their violent skills.

With over 8 years in the game, “The Joker” has learned to see the bigger picture of the hurt business. He goes on to talk about how anxiety still creeps up on him when it’s time to fight.

“My career has been up and down. Some fights I have felt fucking fantastic, while other times I have had crazy anxiety and felt like shit before the fight”

“Actually it’s the thoughts about what might happen. It’s not the crowd, walk out or anything like that. It’s more the fear of how the anxiety will affect me” Hermansson says regarding the mental part of being a professional fighter.

“I’m afraid that I will get so nervous that I become incapacitated and can’t do what I need to do. That’s what I fear the most.”

Like most things in life, everything is not as black or white as we would wish. In his fight against Englishman Brad Scott, he reveals that he felt “pretty bad” before the fight. Before the fight against Santos though, he claims that he “actually felt great”

“I really felt ready.”

Could it be his openness and his eagerness to show his human side, that has made him a fan favorite among the growing stable of Swedish UFC fighters?

After the loss his Facebook feed was flooded with encouraging comments and overwhelming support from all over the world. Even though he went through a hard traning camp that ended with another blemish on his record, “The Joker” remains positive and this loss will give him tools he can use to get stronger.

He also speaks about wanting to return in February and keep representing both Sweden and Norway in the cage. He has been living in Norway for 10 years and doesn’t feel he needs to choose between the two, when he is asked which country he prefers.

“When I walk into the cage I want people from here (Norway) and from home (Sweden) to feel a sense of pride, knowing I represent them. That’s important to me, the people who support me. “

With two countries behind him and looking at MMA in a clear headed way, there is a lot of things that points to Hermanssons continued growth as both a fighter and a human, all under the bright lights of the UFC.

Jack Hermansson with Thiago Santos after the fight. Photo by David Garcia

Quotes


“Norway feels like the land of opportunities. I feel like I can do anything here, become anything and succeed at anything. I feel like everyone has a chance to make it in Oslo.” – Hermansson about Norway.

Always worldclass #teambetsafe #mma #photoshoot #glasgow #betsafe #ufc #inittowinit

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“I am a bad ass fisher man, especially sport fishing.” Hermansson answers when asked if he has any hidden talents.

“I’m really not very talented, but I used to record rap music and stuff like that before. I’ve been on stage rapping, that’s probably something most people don’t know” he continues. “It would be cool to be an artist but to be honest, I am not that good.

“I could have been an actor, that would have been cool to do on the side.”

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