Check it out! It’s a great Interview from theJacksons MMA SeriesWebsite!
Tsui’jen Cunanan – Ready for Pro Debut
by John Fullilove, Jackson’s MMA Series
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Can you please describe your background?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I was born in Brooklyn, New York and when I was younger I moved out to California for a little bit. We eventually moved to Arizona and that’s where I’ve been since.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Did you participate in any sports while growing up?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I tried a lot of different sports but I really wasn’t an athletic person up until a couple of years ago when I started training.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: What did you start training in?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I started first with a cardio-kickboxing class and then I tried jiu-jitsu probably a couple of months afterward.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: How did you start competing?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: After six months of training I tried my first jiu-jitsu tournament which was GrapplersQuest.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: How did you do in that competition?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I won my first match but I didn’t place and lost my next two matches and it was no gi. That was two years and three months ago. Six months after that I had my first MMA fight. I also did Pan Ams with a gi. I did several other tournaments without a gi.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Where do you currently reside?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I live in Phoenix but train in Chandler at Phoenix Combat Academy.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Who is your coach?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: Jay Pages.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: How did you transition into MMA?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I was training jiu-jitsu and then I started watching the MMA classes. I tried it out a couple of times and got hooked. I got caught onto the rush.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: What was your amateur record in MMA?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: 5-3
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Where did you fight as a amateur?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: Arizona, Colorado and Las Vegas.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: How was your transition from jiu-jitsu to MMA competition?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: Oh, I liked it a lot. I wish I had done it sooner. It’s a lot more thrilling. One you put the stand up and ground game together it really tests you. It’s just so random like if you are actually going to fight. The only difference is that both of you actually know what the heck your doing.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: You fought in Tuff-n-Nuff in Vegas against some Jackson Fighters, correct?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: Yes, sir.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: How do you feel with this match up against Jackson Fighter, Kelley Renee, now that you know what a Jackson Fighter will bring?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I’ve never really thought of it like that. I don’t think about people from where they train. Once you get in there it’s every man’s game. You don’t know how one person trains as opposed to the other or how someone takes in the information. There a lot of smaller gyms out there that have incredible fighters but a lot of bigger gyms that might not have such great fighters. It just depends who you are going up against. It goes along with not underestimating who you are going up against.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: This is your pro debut and it’s at the Hard Rock Casino. What are your thoughts about the venue and the crowd that will be there?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I didn’t know it was going to be at the Hard Rock when I first took the fight but it just has gotten better and better. It’s a really great honor but fortunately I was able to fight for Tuff-n-Nuff (in Las Vegas) so many times. They had a very nice venue and they treated us well so I am not there really so much there for the surroundings, I’m just there to put on a good show and fight my heart out.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Do you have any thoughts about fighting at elevation?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: It’s definitely something to take into consideration but I have fought at elevation before in Colorado and a little higher than in New Mexico. My coach, Jay, runs a very cardio intensive camp so I just have to trust myself and make the right decisions and not gas myself out and keep my head in the game.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Are your friends and family going to watch online (internet PPV) or are they going to be coming up?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: Probably both. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive team so we have quite a few people driving up to Albuquerque with us. There will be some who cannot make it out there and I know for sure some will be watching online.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: What do you know about your opponent?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I’ve seen one of her jiu-jitsu tournaments and I saw her pro fight. I kind of wish I saw some of her amateur fights but with the amateur league you really don’t know where they are. I know that she is a brown belt. I know this will be a really good fight for me so I can figure out where I stand in my ground game. I just have to keep my hands up and chin down and do what I do.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: How would you describe yourself for fans?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I definitely had more submissions in my amateur career. I haven’t had any knockouts but I did have a TKO. Most of my wins have been through submissions. I hope that I can improve on that and work on my stand up game. For the most part it’s just wherever it goes. If it’s standing or if one of us goes for the shot and one of us get’s taken down – it will be just what it is.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Do you feel any pressure since this is your pro debut to win?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I pretty much approaching this as this is just another fight. All the time, even as an amateur, even people don’t think it counts, it still sucks to lose. That’s the bottom line. You just have to go 100 percent and that’s exactly what I’ll do – especially for this pro debut. So of course I would love to win but like I said it’s a learning experience. I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: There is a total of 4 female fights and the main event is a female championship fight. Do you have any thoughts about this series supporting female fighters?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I absolutely appreciate it so much. I appreciate any promotion that gives us female fights a chance. Right now with female fighters being so underdeveloped it’s really awesome that people what to see us fight and people are actually paying to see a female fight. I definitely appreciate the opportunity.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Do you have any sponsors or anyone else you want to acknowledge?
Tsui’jen Cunanan: I would like to say thank you to Jay Pages. He’s been the column that’s been holding me up. He’s really pushed me through everything. I would like to thank Sunshine for helping me with my stand up game. I would like to thank all of my teammates especially Gustavo and Bashir. They’ve been incredible training partners and sparring partners. I would also like to thank Spin Crank and One Blow KO.
jacksonsmmaseries.com: Thank you for your time and see you at weigh-ins and the fight.