And despite his latest outing resulting in a decision loss on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS), Jeffery said he will look to resume an active schedule with a rebound victory over Pennsylvanian Rex Harris (12-5) in the main event of CFFC 105 this Saturday.
Jeffery, 29, captured the CFFC middleweight title last March and will defend it for the first time against the veteran Harris, but given the ongoing political climate of the pandemic, especially in Ontario, the road to these career milestones has been, and remains, anything but straightforward.
“We had bi-law officers showing up at our gym, trying to shut us down, my coach getting phone calls like every week saying they’re going to come write us tickets and everything,” said Jeffery in an interview with MMA Empire.
“And the travel is f*cking stressful too; we had to get COVID tests before, now there’s the vaccine mandates. There’s the quarantining when you get to wherever you’re fighting, and there’s the COVID tests before, so a lot of sh*t goes into fighting now that didn’t exist before.”
As for his opponent and title challenger on Saturday, Jeffery is complimentary but believes both his skillset and natural advantages, such as his youth, will play a major role in getting his arm raised.
“He’s an experienced, high-level guy who’s fought in some big promotions like PFL and World Series of Fighting,” said Jeffery.
“I’m going to say he’s probably on the downside of his career though, at 39 years old, and he hasn’t been super active. I expect him to be a big, strong guy. He’ll probably come out hard and feel tough in the first round, yeah, but I think I’m more technical than him and I’m quite a bit better of an athlete. I think he’s going to get worn down and, when he does, I can get a finish. Of course, I’m not a guy with super powerful punches that knocks out guys clean. I’m kind of a volume puncher who wears guys down and TKOs them, so I can kind of see the fight going that way.”
Jeffery’s professional record as a mixed martial artist, despite having thus far mostly elapsed on the regional circuit, nonetheless paints the picture of a major promotion-calibre fighter, with experience against the likes of UFC roster fighters Brendan Allen (Jeffery’s first DWCS appearance) and the undefeated Sean Brady, as well as a TKO win over Andre Petroski in LFA.
Though open to offers from rival organizations such as Bellator or ONE Championship, should he retain his championship this weekend, Jeffery said the UFC is integral to his being in the sport at all, and he has dreamed of stepping onto that infamous octagonal canvas since his very first glimpse of it.
“I have an older brother and when we were kids he somehow got some old UFC DVDs—not even that old, not like Gracie stuff—but it was Vitor Belfort versus Randy Couture, the one where he punched him in the eye and it ripped his eyelid open and they stopped the fight. That was the first fight I ever saw,” he said.
While he regards every fight and adversary as if he were already competing in MMA’s premier league, Jeffery believes his body of work proves he is already ready for, if not deserving of, another opportunity.
“You know, a fight’s a fight; at this point in my career it’s always going to be tough guys. The only thing I’d say about those fights (in DWCS) is that it just motivates you to be there, in the Contender Series or the UFC,” said Jeffery.
“You get the big show treatment, you see how the ins and outs of it all work, and once you experience that it’s kind of sh*tty to go back to the regional scene, so it just makes you realize where you really want to be. I mean, I wish it would have happened sooner, obviously. I’m probably in the prime of my career right now, 29 years old, I don’t have tons of years left in this so I want it to happen sooner rather than later. I think it will happen eventually. I’m just going to keep training hard and winning fights, that’s all I can do.”