James Clarke looking to steal the soul of Aaron La Farge in the CFFC 112 co-main event

James Clarke
James Clarke after his victory at B2 Fighting Series 134. (Credit: B2 Fighting Series)

Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) returns to Philadelphia Friday with another action-packed card on UFC Fight Pass.

In the co-main event Lindsay, Ont.’s James Clarke (6-3) faces the Californian Aaron La Farge (5-2) in a flyweight bout. It’ll be two incredibly explosive athletes squaring off in what could easily be the most exciting fight of the evening.

The social media banter started heating up heading into the bout, however Clarke doesn’t think too much of it. He said, if anything, it gets him more excited.

“He got a little fired up online, but I like it. I’m not a huge McGregor fan, but I do believe the mental game is very important, so it was good to see where his head was at. He sees himself as a very big underdog and, on paper, I think that’s true,” Clarke said in an interview with MMA Empire.

“I’ve fought the tougher, higher level competition, especially in my last two fights. Not to say that I’m underestimating him, I’m not taking him lightly; I know he can wrestle. He says he likes to box and mix it up, but I think ultimately he’s a wrestler. I wouldn’t say I’m not in any danger; the kid deserves to be in there, but in the same sense I think I’m going to be way too much for this guy. I’m going to do what I do. I’m going to take this kid’s soul.”

Since the tough start to his career, Clarke has made serious improvements, reeling off five straight wins across various promotions, even collecting a few titles in the process. He said a more focused approach has made all the difference.

“I’ve been fighting the right level of competition, definitely not taking any easy fights. I started my career 1-3. I just wasn’t making the right choices outside the cage. I was still smoking cigarettes and I was a little smaller compared to the guys I was fighting, but just having the right support system and the right coaches has been the biggest factor recently,” Clarke said.

“Obviously I still have my original coach, Joe Elliott. He’s always had my back. But since I started that streak I’ve had Justin Bruckman in my corner as well. He was always my jiu-jitsu coach, but once I actually started making the effort he put a little more effort into me as well. He took me under his wing and it’s changed my whole game, changed the way I think and it’s kept me out of trouble.”

Clarke has a certain amount of respect for anyone willing to stand across the cage from him, but feels his grappling is simply too good.

Known for being a fast starter, Clarke will look to come out and test the takedown defence of La Farge early on.

“I think, ultimately, his goal is obviously to try and block my wrestling and make me pay for trying to shoot too much,” Clarke explained.

“Everything has to be timed properly. Some of my past fights I’ve just used my strength to overpower guys, but the biggest thing is setting everything up. Ultimately, he knows what I want to do. I’m sure he’s done his homework and knows the shot is coming. I’m going to take him down every single round and if he gets back up, I’m prepared to take him down a hundred times if I have to. He talks all this shit about striking and that, but I think my jiu-jitsu and my ground game overall is levels ahead of him.”

Always looking to push the pace and make things exciting, Clarke will be looking to add another big finish to his resume and start catching the eye of some of MMA’s big promotions.

From his point of view, La Farge is the perfect opponent for him to make that happen.

“My number one goal is to get a statement win and make it to a big show. I’ve vacated both my titles and I truly believe that I can hang with the highest level fighters and it’s where I belong. I just want the chance to prove it,” Clarke said.

“I’ve dealt with more adversity and I feel like I’ve dealt with it better than this guy. Anyone who’s watched me can see my main route to win is to get it to the ground, but even in the fights I lost I still got it there. I’ve taken down every opponent I’ve faced and I’m the best version of myself going into this one. I think it’s my time.”

Clarke’s shoutouts

“All my coaches and sponsors, everyone at Big Country Lindsay MMA and the group down at Kalsamrit Martial Arts. Also B2 and BTC for letting me go on to bigger and better things.” Follow Clarke on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM