Fighting the man he replaced: Bourgeois to defend title against Dugay at Elite 1
In life we have all made mistakes and we are looking for that second chance to make up for the things we have done wrong. The thing is do most people capitalize when they get that chance? Justin Bourgeois did just that when he got to re-enter the Elite 1 featherweight tournament and win the title in January. Now Bourgeois will face the man he replaced, Brad Duguay at Elite 1: Hostile Territory Saturday Night for the featherweight belt. Borgeios know that come the end of the night the title will still be his.
“I think this is going to be a tough fight,” says Bourgeois.
“I don’t think by any means Brad is going to be a stepping stone. I feel I am well prepared in every area wherever the fight goes. I am just really excited and ready to do it.”
Bourgeois defeated Iron Tiger Muay Thai stud Lyndon Whitlock to capture his Elite 1 MMA Featherweight crown. Bourgeois, a Springhill MMA / Matmen MMA product, has won five of his last six and looks to make his mark on the national MMA scene. Duguay has won six of his last seven and was the favourite to win Elite 1’s Featherweight tournament before an injury forced him out of the mix. Duguay even defeated “Judo” Jon Williams and it was Williams who gave Bourgeois an early exit to the tournament. However, an injury to Duguay allowed Bourgeois to be invited back and ultimately win the tournament and the inaugural title. Now healed up and ready to go, Duguay finally gets his shot at Elite 1 gold. When asked if he thought if it was odd that the fight ended up happening this way, Borgeios said you got to be ready with whatever pitch is being thrown.
“It’s wired how life throws those kinds of curveballs at you.” says Bourgeois.
“When I lost my fight to Judo (Jon Williams), if anybody goes back and watches that fight, to do this day I still felt like I won the fight. I feel bad because I took some low blows and stuff but I found it real odd that it happened. I am not taking him lightly and anything can happen in a fight.”
Now a comment like this is said often when a fighter is being interviewed but Borgeios was so serious that for a good part of this camp, he has been training at Fit plus in Dartmouth were his brother Jeremy Henry also trains. While both did open up a gym in Springhill together, both have the chance to take advantage of top trainers coming in to Dartmouth, Borgeios seen it as a second home.
“Scott Maclean has taken me in with open arms. They have really picked my game apart and made me better in all areas,” says Bourgeois.
“It has helped me a ton. The guys here are so loyal as teammates when one guy fights he is in the gym right afterwards if he doesn’t have an injury to help his teammate get ready for their next fight. It’s like being part of a family basically. They have studied the game so well; know the ins and outs and the experience of Scott, TJ Grant and other guys like Josh Palmer are so well rounded. They know what needs to be done at high level fights.”
While the help of new training and confidence that can help him beat Duguay on Saturday night, there is a whole new crop of 145ers in the Maritimes alone that can provide some intriguing future matchups. While he has been training with him now, Tristan Johnson’s name is always floating around as well the trio from Titan’s gym of Michael Murphy, Mike Mallot and Gavin Tucker. While he may only be looking ahead to this weekend, in all he thinks it’s good for MMA.
“Really I think it is great because it makes the division that much deeper,” says Bourgeois.
“I guess it has to give me more drive. Back in January win I won the belt against Lyndon I knew that I had a target on my back. I knew everyone would be gunning for me and they want the next shot right. I have seen guys like Mike Murphy and he seems like a well-rounded fighter and I totally understand that there are guys knocking on the door that probably want to fight me or they want a piece of that belt.”
While Bourgeois name has been rising in the ranks, he doesn’t only do this for himself. The two most important people in his life would be his two sons Mason and Myles. While an opponent doesn’t really think about another fighter’s personal life, Borgeios lets people know who is fighting for.
“A lot of this is for them. To tell you the truth my youth life wasn’t all that great and I was kind of going down the wrong road,” says Bourgeois
“MMA just turned me into a total 360. I have my boys and my life got a whole other outlook and now I do it for them. I actually have their names tattooed on my forearms. The whole background about it is that since I am a fighter, I will put my kids name on my forearms so that when I am fighting and I put my hands up, my opponent can read it and see my kid’s names and I am showing him what I am fighting for.”
While he is doing this for kids, we will see if his forearms will be the deciding factor if he wins Friday night. Either way it busy future for the boy from Springhill.
**co-written by Don Wilson