Although he may only be an amateur right now, Jesse Bull has a very clear vision of where he wants his MMA career to go.
With a victory over Hugh Gleeson at BFL 57 on Sept. 22, Bull, 28, will earn a shot at the BFL amateur lightweight title, which he said is only the beginning.
“This is something I live every day. I breathe this, I eat this, I dream this,” said Bull in an interview.
“I see myself being the champion. Not just the amateur champion, but the professional champion.”
Once he secures the amateur title, Bull said he intends on moving to the professional ranks, where he will begin his run towards the a professional title.
But although a professional title would be a significant personal accomplishment for Bull, he said he has a far bigger vision in mind.
Bull currently resides in Maskwacis, a small First Nation community in Ponoka County, and has spent the majority of his life there. Growing up in Maskwacis, formerly known as Hobbema, Bull witnessed first-hand the amount of drugs and violence in the community, and he wants to show the youth they don’t have to travel down that road.
“I want to do this so I can encourage my community of Maskwacis, and inspire the youth in my community to become whatever they want,” said Bull.
“No one in my community has gotten as far as I have. I’m an inspiration and a role model to a lot of the youth males out here. I want that title to solidify my inspiration to these youth.”
Bull first got his start in MMA at 20 years old after another local favourite, Jason Zorthian, hosted an MMA training program at their community recreation centre.
After excelling throughout the program, Bull and his cousins continued on with their own training by watching videos on Youtube and looking up tips on Google.
In addition to learning many of his skills and techniques online, Bull completed all of his training without a formal gym to call home.
Since then, Bull and a few other local athletes have worked to turn a portion of their community recreation centre into their own private gym called Wellness Warriors.
“We’ve modified it with some padded walls, a matted area, and we’ve hung some heavy bags,” said Bull.
“We just basically modified it to our specific needs. That’s all we have right now; that’s all we’re working with.”
Bull’s MMA career didn’t start out quite as he had hoped as he would go winless in his first three amateur fights, a situation that may have discouraged many other amateur fighters from pressing on.
Since then, Bull has rattled off three straight wins, and said one of the biggest reasons he was able to push through the tough start to his career was because of his uncle, coach and mentor, Taylor Bull.
“I didn’t want to let my uncle’s belief in me go to waste. He’s trained with me from the beginning, and moulded me into the fighter I am today,” said Bull.
“A lot of his encouraging words were that the first three fights weren’t losses, they were learning lessons.”
Taylor said he’s always enforced that same motto on all of his students, to not dwell on losses, but instead use them as tools to become stronger next time around.
He said Bull fully bought into his philosophy on amateur fighting being the time to learn and take losses, and his determination and motivation has really propelled him through the rough patches.
“There was no giving up, and no quit. He just stuck through it,” said Taylor in an interview.
“He walked the walk, and this is where it got him. It’s paying off.”
With every win, Bull continues to gain more and more attention around Maskwacis.
Through his MMA career and day-time job as a community coordinator, Taylor said his nephew is fulfilling the role model title admirably.
“He’s always in the spotlight, and he’s always very respectful,” said Taylor.
“He’s coming into his own little celebrity status around Maskwacis, and he’s bringing the hype too.”