Anarchist MMA fighter Jeff Monson won the ISKA heavyweight title by defeating Tony Lopez in Florida earlier this month.
Monson managed to grind-out a five-round unanimous points decision in the fight for the new ISKA heavyweight (over 205lbs) MMA Championship belt. This win over Tony Lopez (himself 23 wins, 6 losses, so no slouch) marks Monson's second MMA career championship belt, having been former Cage Warriors HW champ. While a highly decorated as a grappler, having been twice ADCC champ (1999 and 2005), in his 41-win mixed-martial arts career Monson hasn't captured as much gold as he'd perhaps like.
This win suggests the 40 year old isn't ready to give up hopes of getting back to the top. In late 2006, Monson lost a five-round decision against Tim Sylvia for the UFC HW title. He then left the UFC organisation and has since not been competing against the same calibre of opponent, but has instead racked up steady win streaks, and is currently unbeaten in his last 8 fights, including victories over Roy Nelson (now UFC) and Sergei Kharitonov (now Strikeforce) in 2009.
In terms of his future, Monson is hoping the UFC will call again, and is willing to drop to 205lbs (light-heavyweight). In an interview after the fight he said, "I fight April 30th in Switzerland[....] after that I gotta fight in France, after that hopefully the UFC will call... looking maybe to cut to 205, if that's on the cards".
The openly political Monson was charged in 2009 over an alleged graffiti incident on the Capitol Building and an army recruitment centre in Olympia, Washington, USA. Authorities claim that the graffiti, which included circle-As, a peace symbol and phrases such as "no poverty" and "no war", cost apparently $19,000 to clean up. In October 2009 he was ordered to serve 90 days of work release while on electronic home monitoring, a punishment that will allow him to work to pay off the $21,894 in restitution.
Monson pleaded guilty to first-degree malicious mischief and second-degree malicious mischief for vandalism as part of a plea deal in exchange for the sentencing recommendation.
Monson has used fight press-conferences to criticise the US military presence in Iraq, and has been vocal about his wish to see the state and class society abolished. Monson had been involved with IWW in his home state, and last year, took time out before his fight at Cage Wars in Belfast to talk to local anarchists and fight fans about sport and politics. In previous years Jeff has met with anarchists in Manchester Solidarity Federation and CNT-Vignoles in Paris.
It will be interesting to see how Monson would cope at 205lb. When he won his first ADCC grappling title he was at a similar weight to light-heavyweight, and his early MMA fights were at that weight. The fighters at 205 will be faster but smaller than Monson's recent opponents, at 5ft 8inch, Monson often struggled with reach against the +205 pounders, particularly against Tim Sylvia. Assuming he can make the cut to 205 again, and doesn't lose too much of his trademark strength, it'll be interesting to watch. It would be optimistic to suggest he'd handle top 205 guys now, but on an 8-fight win-streak, he certainly deserves a final shot in the UFC.
His next fight is next week against Maro Perak in Switzerland at Stength & Honor Championship 4. He will have one more fight at heavyweight after that, before his potential move to light-heavyweight.