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Joe Doerksen: UFC Veteran Gives His Views On All Things Canadian MMA

Ed Kapp@https://twitter.com/EdKappAnalyst ISeptember 2, 2010

MONTREAL- MAY 8:  Joe Doerksen celebrates his victory over Tom Lawlor in their middleweight bout at UFC 113 at Bell Centre on May 8, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Joe Doerksen won the bout by KO.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Over the course of the last decade, Joe Doerksen has been one of Canada’s most prominent mixed martial artists.

Born and raised a few kilometres outside of New Bothwell, a rural Manitoban community that boasts a population of less than a thousand constituents, Doerksen spent portions of his time as a youth working on neighbouring farms—a practise that the 32 year old believes helped set the framework for his future career as a professional mixed martial artist.

As seasoned a veteran as almost anyone in the game, Doerksen is a veteran of nearly 60 professional bouts and has represented Canada in a number of different organizations throughout his 11 year professional career, including the UFC, the King of the Cage, the International Fight League, the World Extreme Cagefighting, and Sengoku banners.

Holding a resume that includes over 30 professional victories coming by way of submission and notable wins over Lee Murray, Denis Kang, and Patrick Cote, Doerksen has long been regarded as a pioneer of the sport of mixed martial arts in Canada and has surely been instrumental in introducing the sport to countless young Canadians and further proving to them that a Canadian can make it to the elite level of the sport.

Since mid-2008 Doerksen has been riding high on a seven fight win streak that includes stoppage victories over Izuru Takeuchi and Tom Lawlor and is currently slated to face the always tough CB Dollaway on September 25th in Indianapolis, Indiana, a bout that will be shown on Spike TV prior to the beginning of the UFC 119 broadcast on pay-per-view.

Recently the former WEC middleweight championship contender took time out of his busy training regimen to give fans of the sport an “insider’s look” at all-things Canadian mixed martial arts, including the past, present, and future of the sport in ‘The Great White North.’

Currently, Canada is represented well by many elite athletes in mixed martial arts, but in the early days of the sport Canadian competitors were few and far between. In the beginning years of your career, did you look up to any Canadian fighters as a source of inspiration?

I would probably say Carlos Newton, because he was a good grappler, which I liked, and he did well in Japan and in the UFC.

Aside from the sports incredible surge in popularity over the course of the past few years, how different is it for young Canadian mixed martial artists trying to make a name for themselves today than it was for you when you began training years ago?

I think it’s easier in some ways and more difficult in others. There are more opportunities now; more gyms and more experienced fighters to train with. It is easier to become a good fighter very quickly; however, there is more competition, as there are many more fighters in the sport.

With Georges St. Pierre currently ruling the UFC’s welterweight division, in conjunction with a number of other prominent fighters competing under the UFC banner, and countless other young competitors fighting both in North America and abroad, how do you feel about the current state of Canadian mixed martial arts?

I think things in Canada are great for mixed martial arts. There are so many great gyms and fighters, and great promotions for them to fight in.

From British Columbia to the Maritimes, there are more mixed martial arts gyms now than ever before that are churning out very talented fighters. What gym or team do you think is the best in Canada?

I think that every person will give a different answer to this question. There are probably a dozen great gyms where a world-class fighter can train and do well. It’s simply a matter of finding a place that fits the fighter’s personality.

Despite reports to the contrary, professionally-sanctioned mixed martial arts has proven to be one of the safest sports in the world while also consistently proving financially beneficial across every province that sanctions mixed martial arts professionally, do you think that it is just a matter of time until the sport is legalized across Canada? If so, how long do you anticipate it to take? If not, what potential “road-blocks” do you foresee that may stall the legalization process of the sport?

I think that in a few years, mixed martial arts will be legalized across Canada.

Recently the British Columbia Medical Association declared their intention to pursue banning professional mixed martial arts across Canada, citing the occurrences of “broken limbs, lacerations and brain damage” as potential afflictions to participants of the sport. How do you feel about the intentions of the B.C. Medical Association? Do you feel their cause has merit?

I think that they are a joke. People can get injured in any sport. It makes no sense to single-out mixed martial arts. It makes them look ignorant.

As an athlete who has enjoyed an extended career as a professional mixed martial artist and is familiar with all of the potential risks that mixed martial arts has to offer, do you have a statement to make to the British Columbia Medical Association?

No.  I have nothing to say to them.

With new training facilities being opened on almost a weekly basis across Canada with a few  Canadian-based promotions achieving international recognition, there is no doubt that there are more opportunities for young mixed martial artists than ever before in our nation, but do you feel that there are enough opportunities for aspiring mixed martial artists in Canada?

I think that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone who are willing to make the effort to get off the couch and go after what they love. People who say that they don’t have the right opportunities to be a fighter are usually people who don’t have the motivation to work for what they want.

There are a plethora of young up-and-coming mixed martial artists in Canada, from Rory MacDonald to TJ Grant to any number of promising athletes competing in smaller organizations across the world. How do you feel about the future of mixed martial arts in Canada?

I think there will be some big-names coming out of Canada for years to come. Canadians are passionate and hard-working people, and that is all it takes to succeed at anything.

Given the incredible amount of enthusiastic fans across the country and the fact that the sport is only gaining in popularity, do you think in the future Canada could displace America, Brazil, and Japan as the top mixed martial arts country in the world?

That might be difficult, considering how much smaller Canada’s population is compared to the larger countries, but it’s not impossible.

Few would argue that there is a more prominent figure in Canadian mixed martial arts than Georges St. Pierre at this point in time, but who do you think is the next great Canadian mixed martial artist?

It could be anyone, it’s impossible to guess.

Canada is blessed to be represented by not only a number of very talented fighters, but the majority of these athletes are also terrific sportsmen who serve as exquisite role-models for young people everywhere, how do you feel about the way Canada is represented by our mixed martial artists? Do you think it is important to represent your nation well when you perform at an international level?

I think Canadian fighters seem to be very humble, hard-working athletes who have a great respect for the sport and its fans. I think it’s very important to have a humble and respectful attitude when in the public eye.

While you have this opportunity, do you have anything that you would like to say to your Canadian fans?

Just thank-you for making it possible for us to do what we love, and I will continue to work hard and do my best to keep them entertained.

Stay tuned for more interviews to come with a number of other Canadian mixed martial artists.

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