In our effort to continue giving you the best North Carolina MMA coverage, MMA4Real was able to catch up with North Carolina MMA welterweight fighter D'Juan "The Demolition Man" Owens. D'Juan gives us his thoughts on how he got into MMA, what he learned from his last fight, GSP vs. Alves, and a lot more.
Kelvin Hunt-D'Juan, tell us a little about your background, and how you got into MMA?
D'Juan Owens-My name is D'Juan Owens. I'm originally from Pass Christian, MS. After High School I enlisted in the USMC. I was stationed on Camp Lejeune, NC, and served 4 years including one tour overseas. I'm a husband and father of two spoiled children. I first came in contact with MMA in 94'. My dad rented UFC 1 from a video store and we were hooked . He and his buddy Tim would hook up two VCR's and copy every UFC tape they rented. At the time, I was about 8 years old so I couldn't appreciate Royce Gracie's style. The old UFC's used to have these fighter intro's where they would talk about their styles and I remember betting my dad that the "kung-fu guy" (Jason Delucia) would beat Royce. Lol.........The ignorance of youth. Like most people, mma kind of faded out my life then I got re-introduced around 99' when Frank Shamrock was destroying everybody.
Fast forward to about 05', on my first deployment I met a pro MMA fighter named George Lockhart. While in the gym one day I saw him tying people into knots. I thought I was tough at the time so I said "I'll wrestle you". (Not knowing a single submission at the time) I pounced on him and figured I was winning since I was on top, needless to say he swept me, side mounted me and got me in a hammerlock. From that day on I realized I wanted to learn to fight. For a few years it was always in the back of my mind but I never started training. When my enlistment was over my dad convinced me to stop talking about it and do it.
Kelvin Hunt-Oh wow, cool story. Also, thanks for the service you gave to our country. What's your favorite aspect about MMA?
D'Juan Owens-I would have to say the beauty of combining different styles. It's very hard to master. Sometimes you get into "striking mode" or "grappling" mode but to flow seamlessly between all aspects is what makes a great martial artist. My coach drills this into my head almost every practice.
Kelvin Hunt-I agree, you just fought a week or so ago, how are you feeling mentally and physically?
D'Juan Owens-I left the fight injury free, so physically, I'm a hundred percent. I was a little bummed out after the fight but I have the best support system. Thanks to my family, teammates and my coach, I'm not taking my loss hard. I'm back in the gym training like a beast.
Kelvin Hunt-You lost a tough decision. Did you learn anything from the fight, and when can we expect to see you back in action?
D'Juan Owens-The main thing I learned is when you get a dominant position you have to capitalize. It's not time to stop and think. I'll be back in the cage in three weeks. I'm fighting for the ECCF promotion on May 2nd in Lenoir NC.
Kelvin Hunt-Good stuff. Where do you do most of your training at, and what's a typical workout for you consist of?
D'Juan Owens-I train at ECSA Martial Arts in Durham NC. I train five days a week for two to three hours on whatever coach D wants us to work on that day. Be it grappling, kickboxing, wrestling etc. We also do a lot of circuit training for conditioning. After practice I get home around nine-thirty, lift weights in my apartment complex gym, then call it a night. I wake up around 7 in the morning and run about 3 miles before going to work. I lift weights on weekends also.
Kelvin Hunt-Man, I tip my hat to you. I live like 30 minutes from Durham. Let's switch gears just a bit. Tell us about D'Juan outside the cage, and what do you like to do in your spare time?
D'Juan Owens-I used to be a bboy (breakdancer) a while back. At one point this was a big part of my life, MMA is a selfish sport though so I had to cut bboying loose. I'm an avid chess player (USCF rating 1930). I also enjoy reading and drawing . I love Hip-Hop! REAL Hip-Hop, not that "I got money, I got ho's, I'm a thug" crap they play on the radio. I'm a movie-buff, and I try to stay informed about worldly issues. Between family, work, and training, I don't have much spare time.
Kelvin Hunt-That's cool. Myself and Charles Walker(MMA4Real Contributor) used to write rhymes back in the day. I thought I was dope...lol. What are your thoughts on the North Carolina MMA scene, and are there any fighters out there we should be keeping an eye on?
D'Juan Owens-From what I've seen the skill level is getting a lot higher. There are a lot of promotions popping up and I think that's great for the scene. It seems like there's an event every month now. Be on the lookout for "Angry" Johnny Bonds and Justin " Lupo" Blanchard. Justin is the "Circle of Fury" bantam weight champ. Keep your eyes peeled for these two.
Kelvin Hunt-It's possible that the UFC could have for the first time ever, two African-American's fighting in a title fight in Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson...provided Evans beats Machida. Can you give us your thoughts on that if it happens?
D'Juan Owens-I don't think it matters. Hell, I see two brothas fighting everyday. Just kidding. Seriously though, I'm pumped about this fight. Like you said, if Evans beats Machida (and that's a big if) I think this will be the most anticipated fight of the year. I mean these two are polar opposites in terms of African American Male characters/personas. You have the comical, friendly (but scary), almost child-like figure in Rampage, vs. the cocky, yet intelligent poster-boy crusher in Rashad. You can't beat that. I'm noticing MMA is trying to broaden its fan base and I think this will help lure in the male African American demographic.
Kelvin Hunt-Yea, I can't wait for that one. Who wins GSP vs. Thiago Alves at UFC 100 and why?
D'Juan Owens-This is a tough one. I think it will take a strong, skilled striker with great take-down defense like Thiago to beat GSP. Lately, GSP has looked unstoppable though. GSP has been hesitant to just stand and strike since the Serra loss. I think he mixes it up more now to keep his opponents guessing. I think Thiago's only shot at winning is a KO/TKO. If that doesn't happen GSP will grind out a decision. I think GSP will win via great game planning by Greg Jackson, and mixing it up, I really don't think he'll be foolish enough to stand with Thiago.
Kelvin Hunt-That's a pretty good analysis in my opinion. Do you have any parting thoughts, or anyone out there you would like to thank?
D'Juan Owens-I would like to thank my wife, my sisters, and my father for coming to all of my fights and being so supportive. I want to thank my coach Danny Daniels for trying to turn a bunch of unruly brawlers into martial artist j/k. I want to shout out all of my training partners at ECSA, 09' WE TAKIN' OVAAAA!. I want to give a phat shout out to The Flying Triangle mma store for showing love to our gym and the local mma scene. I want to give a big thanks to CageSide MMA for their support also. Last but not least, I want to thank MMAFORREAL.com for giving me this interview and for running the best MMA site in NC.
No problem D'Juan. MMA4Real would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. Good luck in your next fight, and we look forward to having you on again in the near future.