Fighting Hometown Favorite ‘Just Another Day in the Office’ for Yves Jabouin
For Yves Jabouin, it’s more like a vacation.
“Honestly, I welcome the opportunity to travel someplace new,” the Haitian-Canadian remarks. “Like when the UFC offered me a fight in Brazil (at UFC 134, vs. Ian Loveland), I jumped at it.”
In a couple of months, Jabouin will be crossing the pond to face highly touted British veteran Brad Pickett, in a featured bout on UFC on Fuel 5. Despite having almost the exact same number of professional fights (25 vs. 27), Jabouin may be the slight underdog to Pickett, currently ranked top-10 in the world at Bantamweight by some MMA news outlets.
Not that he’s bothered by that at all.
“I enjoy being the underdog. It’s a position I’m comfortable being in and I feel like it works to my advantage in some ways,” Jabouin explains. “He has to go out there and deal with the pressure from the crowd, the expectations. [For me] it’s just another day in the office.”
Still two months out from his September date with Pickett, Jabouin has only recently kicked his training into gear the last two weeks. He is quick to point out that he “never really stops training,” even between fights. In that way, he echoes so many of his compatriots at Montreal’s famed Tristar gym.
Oh, and about that hostile British crowd? Jabouin has a plan for them, too.
“Win the crowd,” Jabouin says, quoting Russell Crowe’s character from the film “Gladiator”. “Win the crowd, man.”
And in Brad Pickett, Jabouin has the perfect opponent to do just that.
“He’s very well-rounded, a natural scrapper, and he likes to stand in the pocket and trade,” Jabouin explains. “I can’t see us not having a great fight.”
Yves Jabouin is something of a “new face” to many UFC fans. This despite being an 11 year veteran of the game, coming on 30 professional fights, who has been under contract to Zuffa nearly four years. Whew.
And yet, it’s only recently that the Montreal native has seemingly hit his stride in the sport’s “big leagues”. Since dropping down to 135, Jabouin has rattled off three straight victories, looking better with each outing.
Still, one thing that has eluded Yves at his new weight class is a decisive stoppage victory – though it’s not for lack of trying.
“I definitely feel my last fight (vs. Jeff Hougland) should have been stopped. There were a couple of points in that fight I feel it could have been stopped,” Jabouin says. “When I hit him with that spinning back kick that dropped him, I saw the referee move like he was going to stop it, but then he changed his mind for some reason.”
A lifelong martial artist, the Haitian-born Jabouin got his first taste of martial arts in the form of Kyokushin Karate as a young boy. In this way, he once again echoes Tristar teammate and flagship fighter Georges St. Pierre, who also got his start in the martial arts via this self-defence oriented version of Karate.
Once he started in Karate, Jabouin, as he puts it, “fell in love.”
“After Karate I tried Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, and kickboxing,” Jabouin explains. “Then when I turned 16, I started competing in kickboxing and, eventually, made my way into MMA.”
This varied background and kickboxing experience clearly informs Jabouin’s fighting style in MMA. Indeed, few Bantamweights combine technical precision with hard-hitting power like Jabouin does.
“My friends were always bigger than me growing up. They were like six feet, and they all get up to like 220 [pounds],” Jabouin jokes. “I had to have power just to survive in that group!”
For now, Jabouin is a rising name in a division that’s been thrown wide open. The rise of Renan Barao (and the fall of Urijah Faber), the long layoff of champ Dominick Cruz, the general unfamiliarity of fans with this new weight class – all this spells opportunity for a flashy fighter with proven KO ability.
So if Mike Goldberg occasionally butchers your last name on the commentary – well, that’s just the price of fame.
“It can be frustrating, but I also find it funny,” Jabouin jokes. “Mostly it’s just humourous.”