Justin Baesman is an American professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Welterweight division. A professional competitor since 2008, he has competed for Bellator, the World Series of Fighting, Tachi Palace Fights, BKB and King of the Cage.
I would like to start this off by thanking you for taking the time to talk to me today. You’ve been very busy in your illustrious career, out of the many organisations you’ve been a part of, which one sticks out the most? The one that stands out most for me of late was your entrance into BKB. Entering and taking on someone with, quite possibly, one of the biggest reputations in the sport, Chris Leben. Not many would want to enter that world, not many have. Would a rematch be on the cards if offered?
“First I want to thank you for your time and your efforts to support me with what I do and what I love. The one that sticks out the most is Bellator MMA, they were so good to me. I can go on and on about them, Bjorn R, Jane E and Ian M, they made me feel at home, really part of the family, they told me to stay with them till I retire, if I was doing really good or bad, I had a home. They said if the UFC called to just stay with them and I had a home for the remainder of my career, Bjorn left and Scott Coker came in and to him, I was just another fighter. I lost all that security, I lost my home. He didn’t know me or know my worth, so when I met him, I said I have a home here and I know things are going to change, but I’m hoping to keep my home here, please watch me tonight. I won that fight. It was a hard fight, but I sealed the deal with a flying ninja knee in the third, but it wasn’t enough to stay in the place I loved. Nothing against Coker, I love the organization and everyone involved.”
“When I tried out for the UFC TUF show, the fourth time was the charm. I made it on. That was such an amazing experience. I stayed in Vegas for a week and was treated like a god. The people behind the scenes of the UFC are awesome people.”
“My fight with bare-knuckle and my dealings with them was the complete opposite, I won’t go into detail because I’m a man of my word. Anyway, I fought a living legend in Chris Leben. It was an honour, but he was 20 pounds heavier and on the juice, a horrible night to say the least. I only wanted to get out of 3 fights in my whole career, because I knew I was being played and set up, but there is no back down in me. Looking back on it, I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing!”
Your aspirations to get back to Bellator have not been unnoticed. Taking fights left, right and centre to get back on their roster. I’ve been following your journey for quite some time, is there any advice you can offer to aspiring fighters, to reach the professional level?
“My advice to the younger fighters coming up is, stay focused and really dive into all the arts, be very well rounded and put yourself out there. Go to events, meet people, take pictures, make friends in high places, stay active, stay on the scene. Sell yourself but NEVER sell yourself short. Be smart about who you fight and how much you’re getting paid, or have someone in your corner who truly has your back. Watch for leeches, there will always always be another fight, don’t risk going in at 80% when you can catch the next fight at 100%. Believe in yourself so much that everyone around follows suit. ONLY have those around you that have the same goals and views or they will slow you down.”
Do you have a message for the fans and anybody you’d like to give a shout out to?
“I want to thank all my sponsors, from the beginning of my career till now. Above all, I want to thank my family and friends, including all of my in-laws, so many of them became my family too. I love you and wouldn’t be who I am today without you all. Daniella Leffler Baesman is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my whole life, she’s honestly second to none. I could go on and on about her. Thank you for being such an amazing mother. You can learn from anyone, you can grow in ways that you never thought possible, you just have to believe, have faith in yourself and go as hard as you can, then go harder. For the people that only helped me a little, to the people that helped me a lot, I’m thankful for every single one of you, if you still rock with me or not, bless you and yours. I wish nothing but the best for everyone out there, I don’t have a hateful bone in my body.”
“One last shout out. Last but not least as they say… I have an angel in my corner, she has shown me so much, made me feel so much and gave me so much power and strength through love. With the lord behind her, she stands behind me, her name is Renee Prior. She is a living angel. I send all my blessings and love her way.”
“I still believe in myself, so I’m aiming to get back into Bellator and back into the UFC and I wanna go out with a bang, as I promised myself. I’ve made and kept a lot of promises to myself and have no doubt I’ll keep these too. Once again bless you all, in all that you do.”