Jumabieke Tuerxun has raised controversy and intrigue ahead of his UFC debut at the TUF China Finale on March 1, 2014. The Xi’an Sports Institute product now gets the chance to prove the rumors true.
Bieke, as he’s simply known, hails from Xingjian in China, ethnically Kazakh and Chinese by nationality. He is known across the country as unbeatable, sometimes fighting MMA every weekend of the month. Bieke became known to the rest of the world when he won the Legend FC Bantamweight Championship by Split Decision with Yao HongGang. He then gave up the title and jumped ship to China’s RUFF where he was set to be the finalist in the 1 million RMB tournament.
Smelling the UFC headed his way, he opted out of his heavily-favorited chance at the cash to hold out for the big leagues. Lingering obligation to Legend FC delayed his signing, but the slate is now wiped clean and Bieke’s skills will go on display against another unbeaten fighter who happens to share his sanda background, Mark Eddiva of the Philippines. Bieke spoke with MMA-in-ASIA about this chance, his future, and his interests beyond the cage.
MMA-in-ASIA: You are one of the very few fighters who has targeted the UFC during your MMA career.
Bieke: Yes, it was my dream to come to the UFC. But there’s still a lot to do.
MMA-in-ASIA: You got the Legend FC Championship, then moved to RUFF, then forewent the 1 million RMB super fight that you were heavily favored to win in the hopes of being signed to the UFC. Why do you think so much of the UFC and not the money or the Chinese fame?
Bieke: I saw it on television. It became my dream to fight this way. I’m just chasing my dream, and this is my dream.
MMA-in-ASIA: How has your camp been at Phuket Top Team? And how is it different from Xi’an Sports Uni?
Bieke: I’ve improved by going there. There are different classes every day. The time of the classes is shorter so it’s more intense. For this fight, I’ve been focusing on strength and cardio. I’ve been doing physical training at Unit 27.
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you feel about being on a UFC card that takes place in China?
Bieke: I’m very happy about it. I hope the Chinese audience will support me.
MMA-in-ASIA: You’re a bit of a hero in Chinese MMA, what does that feel like? Is there pressure?
Bieke: I hope I can be a hero! There’s really no pressure, I’m happy about it.
MMA-in-ASIA: Now that you’re in the UFC, what are your goals?
Bieke: I’m just going to work hard on my training and I hope that one day I can get a shot at a title belt.
MMA-in-ASIA: How long do you think it will take for you to reach that?
Bieke: Maybe 5 to 6 years. I’m thinking long term, just take one step at a time. I hope I can have a long career. Then when I can’t fight anymore, I’ll go figure out something else to do.
MMA-in-ASIA: Do you have any thoughts on what that might be? What are your interests beyond MMA?
Bieke: Riding horses. I’ve been riding horses since I was about 3 years old. Horses are part of life where I came from. I collect horses too. I have racehorses I keep at home. Come to Kazakhstan with me some time!
MMA-in-ASIA: Did you ever compete?
Bieke: My horses compete in five hundred and one thousand kilometer races. I don’t compete anymore, I did when I was a kid. Now it’s just a hobby.
MMA-in-ASIA: You’re one of the few fighters in China who targeted the UFC. Who are the fighters that inspire you?
Bieke: BJ Penn, Nick Diaz. These guys are true fighters. They don’t believe in losing.
MMA-in-ASIA: You showed a lot of leg locks at the open workouts, is this indicative of where your recent training has been for the fight?
Bieke: I’ve been training with Ian Entwistle who is very good at that, he won his last fight in twenty seconds with a heel hook. So something might happen!
MMA-in-ASIA: You will have the opportunity to travel with the UFC, is there a team anywhere in the world you’d like to train with?
Bieke: I’d like to go to the US and find some teams to train with.
MMA-in-ASIA: Would you like to thank anyone?
Bieke: I’d like to thank the Chinese audience for supporting me, my parents, my coach, the UFC for giving me this opportunity.