Jaleel “The Realest” Willis had an unique start in the MMA Sport. He was working at the state fair at a t-shirt stand and was asked to fight. He won that night and the rest is history. Now he is Bellator MMA Athlete living his dream while representing Memphis to the fullest.

LMD: I have heard your story of how you were working at the state fair at a t-shirt stand and promoter asked if you wanted to fight that night. You won the fight but Why did you decide to continue doing MMA?
JALEEL: I had to continue with MMA because I had nothing else to live for

LMD: What camp do you train with to prepare for your fights?
JALEEL: Memphis Judo and Jiu Jitsu.

LMD: What was your experience like transitioning from regional promotions to national promotions while working a fulltime job?
JALEEL: It was very stressful mainly because so many people didn’t care nor wanted to see me succeed. My boss always made me work even when I was cutting weight.

LMD; I have to ask this question. Your fight with Chauncey Foxworth at WSOF 27 was crazy. You dominated that fight, but at the buzzer at the end of round 2 you were top mount and blood started pouring. Not sure if it was an elbow but you got fixed up came back with even more intensity blood flowing winning by Unanimous Decision. What was going thru mind?
JALEEL: To stay strong and try not to look dead.

PHOTO CREDIT: LUCAS NOONAN

LMD: Jaleel, your 2020 turned out well for your MMA career. From becoming the LFA Welterweight Champion to signing with Bellator MMA. What were your deciding factors for choosing Bellator?
JALEEL: My job fired me and forced me to take a serious look at my next decision. I knew it had to be a career move and the UFC definitely wasn’t going to work for me.

LMD: Researching for this interview I realized you have done a lot in the sport from having multiple main events and fights before signing with Bellator MMA. What are your thoughts about your fights leading up to you signing?
JALEEL: Each guy made me the fighter I am today.

LMD: Intentionally your reintroduction fight with Bellator was with Patricky Pitbull but due to a medical concerns is was canceled. Then A few weeks later you were rematched with Mark Lemminger. What are your thoughts on your reintroduction?
JALEEL: I was just anxious to fight again.

LMD: Since signing with Bellator MMA does the media demands disrupt your training and everyday life? If so how do you balance career, family, and friends?
JALEEL: I usually do all of the media stuff at the end of the day after training.

LMD: In an interview you stated that you stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. What is your daily work out routine to ensure you are ready for your next fight even with short notice?
JALEEL: I try to get at least 7 hours of training each day.

LMD: A lot of fighters dream of fighting for Bellator or UFC promotions. What advice would you give them on steps to take and how to prepare for it?
JALEEL: Do what’s best for you and your career, UFC ain’t always it!

LMD: When you’re not training full time what do you do for fun?
JALEEL: Just hang out with my daughter.

LMD: What are the downsides about your profession and the perks?
JALEEL: Injuries are downsides and some of the perks are learning new things.

LMD: What would you be doing if you were not fighting?
JALEEL: I would be installing carpet.

LMD: What drives you when you wake up each day?
JALEEL: Breathing.

LMD: If you get an injury or a loss who or what do you turn to for support?
JALEEL: My daughter Jaleigh Willis.

LMD: From your perspective, what changes could be made to MMA for fighters?
JALEEL: More money for the fighters.

LMD: What are your personal goals outside of MMA?
JALEEL: I would like to own a business.

LMD: Briefly summarize an average day of your life
JALEEL: Eat. Sleep. Grind. Repeat.

PHOTO CREDIT: LUCAS NOONAN

RANDOM QUICK QUESTIONS:
One thing you want to achieve: Bellator Title
Your bestfriend: Jaleiah Willis
Who is your hero/inspiration: Dave Ferguson
Celebrity crush: Angela Bassett
Favorite Beverage: Beer
Describe yourself in 3 words: Thankful, Dangerous, Determined
Best personality trait: Keeping it real
Favorite movie: Menace 2 Society
Your hidden talent: Playing the trombone
Dream vacation: Not sure honestly
Favorite food: Captain Crunch
Toughest opponent: Vincius de Jesus
Favorite sports team: Grizzles

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