Ahead of his third professional bout at Ring of Combat on Friday, November 20, we catch up with 2014 IMMAF Gold medallist Jose “Chepe” Mariscal. Competing for Team USA, under the United States Mixed Martial Arts Federations, Mariscal defeated Sweden’s Jimmi Jensen in the Lightweight tournament final to collect the Gold medal. Having never fought in Las Vegas before, Mariscal recounted his 2014 Amateur World Championship experience. “It was a huge experience. I’ve fought all over the world multiple times and just being there in Vegas was a great experience, it just shows that there’s bigger and better things out of the Amateur world. “I was pretty hyped, just to see other fighters and they were like talking to other people. It was pretty cool, just to get the input of their experience and how did they just grow from doing this sport as a hobby and making it as a career, it was just huge.” 23 year-old Mariscal also spoke about he got into mixed martial arts, a sport he has been engaged with since a very young age. “At the age of six I started and then I went to my first pro MMA fight at the age of nine, right there I just fell in love with it. All that crowd and all the fights, the technique exchanging, it was beauty to me, so I just fell in love with it. “I really didn’t know about the UFC until I got a little more older, I was just in a mixed martial arts gym where they were going to events every other month and I was just that one kid they had in the side just coming with them. “I was ending up like being tough and the coach just took me under his wing.” He added: “It wasn’t a career choice for my parents or my family and friends but I couldn’t keep away so I just stayed in it. The Chicago based fighter admitted he was nervous for the competition and felt the pressure, however he used to opportunity to showcase why he should be touted as one of MMA’s next major breakout stars. “The UFC officially is a dream thing, Bellator, all those things, so I was like, this is my opportunity to show everybody who I am. So I ended up taking up the whole tournament with all finishes, all four fights with first round finishes, just going in there and doing everything the right way, staying calm collected and going forward, and just finishing fights. “In the championship day? Yes, there was a lot of pressure, two of my other teammates, just won first place, I was the last one to go, so it was like, man I want to take one of those Gold medals home. I’ve got to show everyone here like who I am, there’s UFC fighters looking, managers, so it just kept pumping me up. It was like the anxious feeling. “I just wanted to know what happened, and I ended up just being like ‘you know what? This guy’s he was from Sweden, that I fought, I’m going to just go in there, do what I’ve got to do, finish my guy, and then just get out’. And that’s exactly what I did.” Mariscal admitted four fights in a week was a ‘pretty tough’ experience, but he knew it was going to be a long week and made sure to maintain his nutrition so he could be 100% for the finals. However, once he notched Gold, “Machine Gun” felt great, wearing his medal with pride at the UFC Fan Expo. Mariscal also commented on the comradery between Team USA at the Championships, and noted how a close relationship with other teammates made the experience that much sweeter. “It was great, well I wish more teammates were in the final, but two other fighters that were representing USA, were two other teammates of mine for my team back at home so we grew up together and to go there with them and win a championship with them it was just amazing. We came with three, and we came back with three champions. “Since we were growing up it was just us sharing dreams and goals and seeing opportunities.” After the IMMAF World Championships, “Chepe” made the decision to turn Professional, taking his first Pro fight just three months after taking Gold in Vegas. “I was just ready for the pro level, I was smashing up these champions and I was talking to my coach at the time, that if I win the World Championships I would like to turn pro. I knew I was ready. 15 years of experience, well focused, I was always in the gym, I was always training with pros, I felt like you know what it’s time to go pro. “I’m at that age where I want to do it for 10-15 years and then open my own gym at the end. I’d rather do it right now than later.” Mariscal has quickly notched a 2-0 Professional MMA record, with wins over Trey Cole (Submission) and Lashawn Alcocks. Although, due to constant ‘back outs’ the Lightweight prospect found himself on the shelf half a year. “I was out from fighting for six months due to so many back outs, I was just looking for a fight and every month the day of weigh-ins the fighter would now show up or they’d back out. Promoters did try and find other fighters, but it was very, very hard, and on short notice. So at Ring of Combat against a 5-0 top prospect, either way it’s going to be a learning experience for me and I’m just going to go out there and give a show, like I always do and do what I do best.” As for his next fight, this Friday in Atlantic City, New Jersey at Ring of Combat 53, Mariscal faces his toughest challenge to-date, a match-up against 24-year-old New Jersey native Max Bohanan; who trains under Ricardo Almeida. Despite this, the fact that UFC President Dana White will be attending the event in search for the UFC’s next breakout star, Mariscal is excited at the prospect to prove himself against a dangerous opponent in a high stakes fight. “I see a bunch of articles saying he is going to be there and Lou [Neglia] from Ring of Combat is saying that he is going to be there, so it’s exciting, again it’s another door that I could possibly open. Young Mariscal is always looking to improve and in his quest to reach the pinnacle of the sport, he is ready to reap the fruits of his labour at Ring of Combat this Friday night. “I feel like, I was always a believer since I was little that this dream to be called the best, so I always chased it, I knew that working hard and being ambitious and even throughout high school I was like I’m going to join the wrestling team just to get better at my ground game. “To see all these accomplishments come by even this one, I waited six months then bam Ring of Combat, a huge promotion against a top prospect and Dana [White] is going to be there, so it’s like wow, all that hard work, all that believing all paid off.” You can listen to the full interview with Jose Mariscal on War of the Words Podcast.