Alan Jouban took the fight against Ben Saunders despite reservations.
At UFC on Fox 28, Alan Jouban will be returning to the Octagon to fight Ben Saunders. His last bout was in August at UFC Fight Night 114. In an interview with Fightful's James Lynch, Jouban said he felt like he was on "the back burner" when it came to UFC matchmaking because of his losing streak. He was asked if he was hesitant to fight Saunders with whom he has trained.
"We've trained together, we know each other, we've sparred, we've done it all. We're not close friends. He's obviously in Florida and I'm in California," said Jouban. "I met Ben six or seven years ago. When we first met we sparred. Since then, he's come into the 10th planet Jiu-Jitsu family. Which is where I started at," he continued.
Jouban says Saunders has gotten closer to 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo than him. Jouban has known Bravo for over a decade but Saunders flies into Los Angeles to train with Bravo.
"Eddie actually corners him. I had a lot of reservations when they brought this fight to me. I didn't want it. I told them 'man, I've been trying to get a fight for six months and you finally come back with a guy who's my friend? We have the same coach,'" said Jouban.
Without a fight for six months and thinking he did not have options Jouban took the fight with Saunders. He liked the matchup enough to take the fight. Jouban says Bravo called him to ask him about the fight. According to Jouban, Bravo "took a back seat" with this fight and will not be in Saunders' corner.
In the rest of the interview, Alan Jouban (15-8) discusses his upcoming fight against Ben Saunders (21-8-2) at UFC on FOX 28 on Feb. 24. Alan also explains why he hasn't fought since July, why he didn't want to fight Saunders, co-hosting the MMA Heat Podcast and his guilty pleasure on TV.