Hi Paul, thanks for taking the time out of your day for the interview.
- Let’s start with a little bit about you, for the people who don’t know you, tell us where you fight out of, your record and why you started fighting?
Paul ‘BearJew’ Craig 28 years young currently 8-0 pro (also unbeaten as an amateur) and Bamma LHW world champion (first Scottish guy) fight out of the Scottish Hit Squad. Why I started this sport…… Had a keen interest in holding guys to the floor serious answer started with BBJ 4 years ago (had never watched MMA at this point) as a way to stay in shape and learn something new.
- Any professional Scottish fighter who has ever made it big has inevitably made the move to the Dinky Ninjas. You have been pretty firm that you will not do this, what are your reasons for that call?
The Scottish Hit Squad are very young as a gym and I don’t believe that the Grip can match Brian or the coaches he brings in for talent or knowledge. Can GH say they have taken a guy with no combat experience and make him a world champion in under 4 years?
- You have had your fair share of pull outs in your fighting career, how frustrating is this and do you ever feel the opponents that pull out may have an ulterior motive for doing so?
Nothing worse as a fighter to have a pull out on fight week, after all the dieting and hard work and I’ve had 7 in my short time. This was one of our main reasons for joining Bamma as they have a big fight roster and can make fights happen.
- Do you feel that if these fights had gone through you would have made the step up from local shows to national ones sooner?
I appreciate the local shows, sorry show (First Fighting Championship) who made the most effort to get me matched and without that help, I wouldn’t be talking to you just now. I do believe all the pullouts made my trip to the top a lot longer as I was set to fight top 10 guys right from the start of my pro career.
- You recently captured the BAMMA Light Heavyweight title with a slick submission over Marcin Lazarz, how did it feel to go from your debut at BAMMA to be fighting and winning the title in only 2 fights?
Great feeling to beat 2 tough opponents on the big stage and win the title on national TV, but that’s only the start for the Bear Jew #bearjewtakeover
I had a good record and Bamma had nothing to lose by giving me this chance.
- Out with Lazarz, are there any fighters you feel you match up well with or any fights that you would like?
I don’t know a lot about MMA or the scene so that would be for Bamma, fans and the Coaches to decide. I don’t mind fighting anyone, everyone is beatable on any given day. I have been very vocal about wanting to bring Bamma to Scotland so Fight talk Scotland should get a poll going to see who they want.
- The UFC will be running a new series of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ with Light Heavyweights, is that something that interests you and will you be applying?
TUF is a good show but I do believe it’s a bit of a lottery and the best guy doesn’t always win. I feel I have got a lot still to do with myself and the Bear Jew brand in the European scene first before I start thinking about America.
- The BAMMA Heavyweight champion Mark Godbeer announced his retirement the other day stating financial troubles as the main reason, what are your thoughts on his announcement and the alleged 50% BAMMA were to take from him for competing at the end of the year Rizin event.
I saw that but don’t know anything about the 50%. The fighters in the tournament are paid really well and even if they did take 50% you would still get a few quid and get to see the world. If you’re in MMA for money you’re in the wrong sport, I hold down a full time job, have 2 young girls and still find time to train twice a day, 6 days a week. I’m not in this sport for money I’m doing it to leave behind some sort of legacy.
- As well as MMA you are active in the BJJ scene, hold a purple belt and have competed at the Abu Dhabi Pro’s, how was this experience and what are you doing to further your BJJ skills. Will you still continue to be as active in BJJ as your MMA career progresses?
“A belt only covers two inches of your ass. You have to cover the rest.” Love this quote. I still dedicate a lot of time to train BJJ and working with black belt Marcos Nardini to improve as a grappler. I plan on competing and winning my division at the world’s this coming year.
- Other than fighting, what do you do in your spare time to relax and unwind?
If I’m not at the gym or work it’s spent with my girls, even when I’ve run my body into the ground and all I’m needing is to laze about on the couch I always make the time for them.
- With Scotland getting more and more coverage on the MMA scene how do you see the country as a whole developing when it comes to MMA and do you feel there is anything Scottish fighters, Gyms or promotions need to do improve?
Scotland needs someone with charisma, who can spark interest about the sport and currently we don’t have that on the big scene. But I believe I can change that.
Thanks a lot Paul for your time.
Was great speaking with Fight talk Scotland. Would like to thank my sponsors HellCat Graphics who came up with the Bear Jew logo and fight banners. Uddingston Physiotherapy who keep me injury free and able to train at this high level and my boys at The Dapper Gent for keeping the beard smashing.
Follow the ‘Bearjew’ at @pcraigmma