Fan favorite Kuchera vows to be better than ever at MFC 35
By MFC Staff
Go out with a bang. Go out on his shield. Go down swinging. Go out on a winning note.
There are various ways fighters call out their final appearance. They just have that one little bit of desire left in them.
At first glance, it would appear as though Jason “The Show” Kuchera fits that bill. One of the most popular fan favorites in the history of the Maximum Fighting Championship, Kuchera will re-emerge at MFC 35: Explosive Encounter for the first time in over two and a half years. Feel free to dub it a comeback as Kuchera is eager to erase the sour taste left lingering from his last outing. But he isn’t yet prepared to call it his last fight.
“Who said it’s only one more?” touted the likeable veteran. “There may be more to come. Of course, that all depends on how this fight plays out.”
Kuchera (5-5) will clash with fellow hard-throwing pugilist Paul “The Punisher” Grandbois (4-4) at MFC 35, and the pair will open up the AXS TV Fights card airing live from the Mayfield Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, on Friday, Oct. 26. Kuchera and Grandbois, both of whom now fight out of Edmonton, will be in the ring when the card launches at 10 p.m. ET/8 p.m. MT/7 p.m. PT (check local listings for channel designation).
Kuchera developed quite a fan following over the years, a run that started back at MFC 13 in 2007, putting him right up there with such crowd-pleasers as his onetime rivals Dwayne Lewis, Aron Lofton, and David Heath, title challengers Mukai Maromo, Ryan McGillivray and Jason MacDonald, and former champs Douglas Lima and Patrick Cote. While pure skill wouldn’t necessarily garner Kuchera a spot among that cast, qualities like raw power and heart make him an all-star.
“That is an impressive list of names to be mentioned amongst. I am genuinely flattered,” offered Kuchera. “If that is how I am perceived then, yes, I am very proud indeed of that. That’s the reason why that fire burns and why I am back.
“There has always been a burning desire to compete again. A conversation with (MFC Owner/President) Mark Pavelich a few months back led to me knowing that the door was open for me to come back and that caused that fire to burn even more. It’s what has led to my return.”
A healthy body and more productive training have gone a ways to realizing that goal as well.
“It has been a long time and a long, difficult journey back,” said the light-heavyweight, whose five career wins have all come via knockout. “I never thought I would be or planned to be away this long.
“I have battled major injuries that required surgery over the past couple of years. In the past 15 months, I have had surgery for a ruptured bicep tendon and for a torn pectoral muscle.
“Before, in between, and since my surgeries, I have been working on improving my stand-up. I have always been known to have power in my hands but my stand-up had flaws. My stand-up is more technical now and I have more weapons in my arsenal now and I am excited to showcase them at MFC 35. Of course, I train in every discipline so I would like to think that I improved in every aspect.”
Kuchera’s career blasted off to a start – three knockout victories that totaled a mere 7:02 of ring time. Then came a dramatic crash. The beginning of his rivalry with Aron Lofton came at MFC 15 and their battled raged until just five seconds were left in Round 2 when Lofton secured a guillotine choke. The loss was a setback but did come with a small silver lining as Kuchera and Lofton shared the “Inside MMA” year-end Basie Award for 2007’s Bloodiest Fight of the Year.
After losing a second straight outing, Kuchera took on Lofton in their rematch, but already battling injury, Kuchera was subbed in only 44 seconds. The skid hit four when he took a heat-seeking missile from Lewis straight to the jaw at the Heat XC debut show. Kuchera returned to winning ways on a pair of follow-up Heat XC shows, but at Heat XC 5 his record reverted to the .500 mark. While he nearly went the distance against a much more seasoned pro, the beating that Heath put on Kuchera especially over the final two rounds left most figuring they’d seen the last of the tough-as-nails slugger.
Those 10 fights resulted in Kuchera being one of the MFC’s most popular figures. They also left that very same fighter battered and bruised – physically and to some extent mentally as well.
“If I look back I would have to say the way I came on to the MFC scene with a bang is what I am most proud of,” noted Kuchera. “Winning my first fights in convincing fashion and in a manner of seconds were proud moments.
“I would like to have every fight that I lost over again. That is the competitive nature in me. There were fights where I was injured and not able to really train pretty much at all and still stepped in the ring. Looking back, I have some regrets about that.”
Kuchera might have saved himself a loss or two here or there – case in point, the battle with Lewis – with a strategy that went beyond teeing up the overhand right. But MFC fans didn’t want that from their favorite brawler. They wanted, and received, meat-and-potatoes MMA.
“I may be categorized as more of a brawler rather than technical and I am ok with that,” said Kuchera. “I think technical fighters can put on entertaining fights. It is just the way some fighters choose to fight. Some fighters prefer to play it safe and eke out wins on points. Nobody enjoys watching that.
“But the more aggressive a fighter is, the more tendency that fighter may have to put himself at risk. Unfortunately as a result, you see some fighters that employ the lay-and-pray style that puts fans to sleep or forces them to change the channel. I have always taken pride in the fact that I always put on entertaining fights and I look to finish every single fight.
“I do not think a fighter has to be less technical to be entertaining and crowd pleasing. I think fighters should all be aggressive and look to finish fights. Unfortunately, that will not happen unless the fighters that are aggressive and entertaining who may not necessarily have the most flattering records get rewarded with big fights in big promotions. However, I think we are seeing a shift towards that direction.
“Unfortunately, there will always be fighters that will protect themselves and their record and will put fans to sleep. I will not be that fighter.”
Tickets for MFC 35: Explosive Encounter are on sale now and available exclusively via the MFC Ticket Hotline by calling (780) 504-2024.