By Blaine Henry
The hosting of IMMAF’s first amateur World Championships in 2014 sparked off a chain of events that created MMA stars of today like Jose Torres and Alessio Di Chirico. But in that inaugural event, another American, Jose Mariscal, won a gold medal in the lightweight division, which many see as MMA’s most competitive division.
Mariscal’s amateur run was stellar. But it was when he competed at the IMMAF World Championships that he really began to find himself. As history records, Mariscal went through the tournament winning four fights, but the most impressive part was that they were all first round submissions. Since then, Mariscal turned pro and has not taken any easy fights.
Even before turning pro, Mariscal had a laundry list of accomplishments. In addition to the National and World Championship with IMMAF, Mariscal is a well accomplished grappler. He’s won nine Jiu Jitsu championships and has a black belt in Judo and Japanese Jiu Jitsu. He also had success in junior college wrestling.
But what’s even more impressive is he’s found time in between his grappling ventures to have some pretty significant accomplishments in striking sports. He’s won three kickboxing National Championships, third at the World Kickboxing Championships, and a Golden Gloves boxing champion.
The Pro Career of Jose Mariscal
The amateur submission streak extended to the pro career of Jose Mariscal. In his pro debut in October 2014, Mariscal won by first round submission. He defeated Trey Cole III with a triangle at 1:14 of the 1st round. Mariscal went on to win his next two fights as a pro.
After a few fights at lightweight, Mariscal moved down to featherweight where he had more of a size advantage and has fought there ever since.
Fast forward to the present day and Jose Mariscal has a 10-6 record. He has competed in, and headlined, some of the best upper-tier regional promotions like LFA and CFFC.
Looking at his record, Mariscal does not take easy fights. He’s taken on the challenges of Lashawn Alcocks, Tim Cho, Frank Buenafuente of Bellator, and Gregor Gillespie, Bryce Mitchell, Youssef Zalal, and Steve García of the UFC. He does not pass up an opportunity to fight. He is the epitome of the motto “anyone, anywhere, any time.”
By far his best win was when Mariscal defeated Youssef Zalal in 2019. Mariscal brought the fight all night in the LFA 57 main event and took the decision.
This desire to take on the best can be traced back to his IMMAF era and the tournament style format of a World Championships where you must fight often, and hard. The American pioneered the mentality of being prepared to take on all-comers and paved the way for future IMMAF champions like Muhammad Mokaev who share this IMMAF fighting spirit.
Mariscal hasn’t had the best of luck recently. After beating Youssef Zalal, Mariscal has dropped three of his last four contests. But you can count on him to bounce back. The desire to fight anyone is also accompanied by a tenacious desire to improve. Mariscal will do exactly that. Losing is an important part of a fighter’s career since a loss is when they learn the most.
With 2020 pretty much a lost year due to the impact of COVID 19, Mariscal is preparing for a major comeback in 2021. “Chepe,” as he’s known, plans to come back stronger than ever and to apply all the lessons he’s learned going way back to his IMMAF Championship debut in 2014.