Joseph Bryant: Los Angeles Fighter Seeks Greatness Through Struggle

Erik FontanezCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

So many fighters have dreams of making it big in the sport of mixed martial arts.

For those who have made the journey to the top, the endeavor has been long and rigorous; consisting of extreme training regiments, personal sacrifice and challenges, both physical and mental.

One fighter who continues to make that journey is professional mixed martial artist, Joseph "Blood Money" Bryant .

Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, Bryant credits a lot of his toughness and capability to his rough childhood. Growing up, bowls of cereal were more a required meal than just breakfast to him.

At the young age of 5-years-old, Bryant was introduced to jiu-jitsu. Since then, he has molded the craft into his bread-and-butter.

After a stint in the Army and a tour in Iraq, the jiu-jitsu black belt is clinching with a career in MMA.

Currently a resident of Burbank, CA, Bryant has trained at Legends MMA, but now spends a majority of his time at 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu and Gio's Boxing Gym .

Earning the name “Blood Money” was an extension of a tattoo on his left arm.

After a dominant performance in an amateur bout, Bryant’s “Joe Money” tattoo was covered in his opponents blood. A fan asked of the tattoo, and after Bryant explained it’s meaning, the fan simply said; “…nah, now you called ‘Blood Money’”.

From that point on, the name just stuck with Bryant.

What one can truly appreciate about a fighter who trains professionally is, more often than not, the way they maintain a full time job while they train. As a jiu-jitsu coach at Gio’s Boxing Gym in Burbank, Bryant spends a great deal of time teaching others his craft.

Bills need to be paid and mouths need to be fed. This rings true for many seeking the mountaintop of MMA. For Bryant, those mouths belong to his 2 year-old twin sons, Javon and Javion.

Fighting is what he loves to do, but Bryant's real motivation to fight comes from his children, whom he loves to no end.

When in a bout, with any opponent, "Blood Money" sees his opposition as one who threatens to keep his children from eating. This, without a doubt, extends to the threat of no clothes on their backs nor roof over their heads.

Fighter and father, Bryant juggles providing for his children while, at the same time, trying to spend time with them. His grueling schedule of teaching jiu-jitsu and training for fights takes away from time he wishes he could give to his little boys.

Sacrifice is another portion of a pro fighters life that he must learn to accept.

With sacrifice, Joseph Bryant has earned a shot at greatness.

His goal, in the sport, is to be the greatest competitor on the map. To be the top heavyweight is not enough, since the one fight he wants most in the world is one with UFC middleweight king, Anderson Silva .

When asked why Silva would be his fight of choice, Bryant explained, in other words, that Silva is the greatest fighter ever. The ambiance that Anderson Silva exudes in his fights is something that gives Bryant a drive to compete.

Most go into a fight with Silva trembling at the thought of being checked off a checklist, succumbing to the strikes of the 185-pound champ.

The feeling Bryant leaves one with is not of fear, but hunger. A hunger that prevents him from getting caught up in the wonder that is Silva.

At 6 ft. 6 in., 240 pounds, Bryant (2-1) will have to cut a tremendous amount of weight to face Silva. For now, he is still young in age and career and won’t have to worry about weight cuts any time soon.

Bryant’s immediate concerns are healing from a broken wrist he suffered in his last bout with Ralph Aau at Conquest in the Cage VI .

The bout was called just a few moments into the first round after Bryant was taken down by Aau. Grimacing in pain, Bryant had no choice but to tap out and have the fight stopped.

The official announcement had Bryant losing by guillotine, but, after further review, the commission changed the ruling to a loss by injury.

Luckily for Bryant, the same promoter that signed the first fight has granted Bryant a rematch with Aau. In his mind, Bryant is 100% confident that Aau can’t beat him again.

When looking at Bryant’s face, one can see the drive and determination to avenge his only loss. Come April, he’ll get his chance when the two heavyweights square off in the cage again.

Until his rematch, Bryant will hone his stand up skills with boxing coaches Mike Rodriguez and John Bray. Coach Daniel Peter will make sure his wrestling is at it’s best, while, the one-and-only, Eddie Bravo keeps tabs on Bryant’s jiu-jitsu game.

Once he enters the cage again, Bryant knows that he’ll be backed by Bad Company Fight Team, Dirty South Fight Team and Relentless. All help him financially to stay afloat as he continues his journey through the MMA ranks.

Joseph Bryant now feels, regardless of wins or losses, that the world still goes on. He knows that his family and friends love him the same, no matter what happens in his fights.

Beyond the sponsors and fame, the knowledge of those close to him having an undying love is what makes this heavyweight’s journey that much lighter on the feet.

Go make that “Blood Money” Joe.