What’s good fight fans? Today I had the chance to catch up with Kenan “The Lion” Jackson. Kenan is currently 4-1 as an amateur and also a member of the armed forces. Kenan will be stepping back into the cage on September 30, 2017, at Prime 10.
Kenan started submission fighting at a local gym in South Carolina when he was 6 years old. He did that for two years and his mom took him out of it due to his grades beginning to slip. He then went on to pick up football in the fourth grade and wrestling in the seventh grade. He continued with that through high school. He knew early in his life that he wanted to pursue fighting and that wrestling would be important. Kenan even placed second in the state for high school wrestling which was a bummer.
Kenan had trained at one gym growing up until he moved to Iowa. Even then he did not pick up very much striking but began to compete in jiu-jitsu tournaments. He got accepted to the Carolina State College for wrestling, due to financial reasons he was unable to go. He admits that this is when his story gets interesting.
He ended up going to three different colleges. The first two he attended were junior colleges. First, he attended Spartanburg Methodist in South Carolina where he was accepted for wrestling. During his time there he qualified for nationals in wrestling and was one match away from being an All American. He began butting heads with the coach so he decided to transfer out to another school.
Iowa Central Community College became his new home. Kenan said, “This may have been my best and worst year all rolled up into one when it comes to wrestling.” He wrestled there and qualified for nationals again, but did not do very well that time around. He decided to take an entire year off of school and work on striking. He boxed for that entire year. During that year his coaches decided that he needed a nickname. His coaches went back and forth about what to call him. One of them said, “call him the Young Lion.” While the name was cool the other coach said, “He isn’t going to be young forever so it doesn’t work.” They told me I have the heart of a lion so they shortened the original name. So Kenan “The Lion” Jackson has remained.
Kenan went on to box for the entire year. Honing his skill as a striker. He did say he had a great boxing coach and still does, but there was a period of time that they did not see eye to eye. He knew that he would have to back to school so off he went. He arrived at Grand View University where he spent three years and graduated. Unfortunately did not qualify for nationals with them, but he did participate and help contribute. They are six-time national champions. As life happens to all of us he did have some outside factors start to kick in which did not help him in qualifying.
Life began to happen. Kenan had things to do and pay for and that is when he joined the military. Kenan began training at Elite Edge when he had time. Once he finished school he began to fight full-time. Currently, he lives in New Mexico and his home gym is the well-respected Jackson Winks. Kenan has been with them for a few months. Currently, he has an amateur record of 4-1. While he will be going pro sooner than later he still has some military obligations that must be fulfilled first.
September 30, 2017, Kenan will be stepping into the cage in Washington State under Prime Fighting (Prime 10). He admits that he is living his dream. Being a fighter to him is all about the inner challenge. It has taught him discipline and how to grind through the tough times. He also has learned how to press himself to the limit and further both mentally and physically. It is his outlet to get away, but also his passion. Kenan said, “I love it even when I hate it.”
Kenan would like to thank all of his friends, family, and coaches.
First, I have to thank Kenan for his service. From one armed forces member to another it is appreciated. What can I say, after talking with Kenan for five minutes you have to like this guy. I wish him all the best in his upcoming fight and look forward to his professional debut. signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA