By Nick Portella
What’s up fight fans. Today I will be sitting down with an athlete looking to make history in Caged Aggression. Shawn “The Exception“ West who is the current bantamweight champion will be going up a weight class to claim a featherweight belt as well. A feat that many athletes chase but few can obtain. Let’s have a seat with Shawn and get to know him a little bit better before he steps in the octagon on March 25 at Caged Aggression XIX Clash of Champions.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Shawn: It means a lot to be a fighter. I get to be on a platform and represent where I’m from and get paid to do what I’ve been doing. It’s my last go around to compete. It helps take care of my family. So being a fighter means a lot.
Nick: At what age did you begin your training in martial arts?
Shawn: 19 years old.
Nick: What belts do you have and in what disciplines?
Shawn: I have trained in kickboxing, boxing, BJJ.
Nick: How long have you been with Midwest martial arts group?
Shawn: I’ve been with Midwest martial arts group on and off my entire career. A few teammates and I now run the facility. We use it to help kids get off the street and instill martial arts discipline into their life.
Nick: You have the nickname The Exception, who gave you that name? Why?
Shawn: When I was an ameatuer I would fight then take another fight right away. I wanted to get all the experience that I could. Joe “Pork Chop” Jordan a UFC vet and former MFS fighter gave it to me. He also worked for Extreme Challenge which was a Midwest MMA show.
Nick: Do you prefer to keep the fight on your feet or take it to the ground?
Shawn:I am comfortable going wherever the fight takes me. I definitely like to stand up though and trade shots. More like give shots and dodge the trade.
Nick: What would you say your biggest strengths are?
Shawn: My punching power.
Nick: What’s your favorite strike to use in any fight?
Shawn: Hands down my straight left.
Nick: People talk about the next generation of fighters all the time. Do you feel that you represent the next generation of fighter in some ways? Do you feel any pressure to represent that next generation?
Shawn: I definitely feel that I am part of the next generation of fighters. As for pressure I feel it before every fight. You are suppose to. I always take a moment to myself before stepping out there. Once I hear that walk out music though it is all business.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Shawn: I do my weight cuts in stride. I don’t have any real secrets. I start my cut way out before a fight. I eat clean and cut out all the garbage. You wouldn’t put regular gas in a Ferrari.
Nick: Since you have made this journey what advice can you give to new fighters wanting to make this a career?
Shawn: There are so many things that would be good advice. The best piece of advice that I could give is get a good management team. They should be making sure that everything else falls into place.
Nick: With three title defenses at bantamweight what made you decide to go after a second weight class title?
Shawn: I have to make some noise in the MMA world. I have title defenses and now it is time to go up a weight class and claim another division.
Nick: You will face Nate Jennerman on March 25. Nate has said that the guys you have faced are not on his level. What are your thoughts on that statement?
Shawn: I have heard the interviews and hear what he is saying. I will get in there on fight night and do what I have to do. I plan on having my hand raised at the end and being a two weight world champion.
Nick: Do you have any plans already for after your fight on March 25?
Shawn: I am concentrating on that fight for now. I take things as they come. My main concern now is getting that second strap.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present?
Shawn: That is a tough one. Present fighter would be the Notorious Conor McGregor. It’s ironic though because I have followed Jose Aldo since his debut at WEC.
Nick: Shawn have you Submitted to the Takeover?
Shawn: This is Shawn “The Exception” West and I have Submitted to the Takeover.
Shawn would like to thank his coaches, training staff, and training partners. He would also like to thank all of his fans who have supported him throughout his career. Lastly he would like to thank all of his friends and family.
I really enjoyed talking with Shawn. He is a great guy with a clear plan. I would like to wish Shawn the best of luck. This is Nick Portella signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com.