New Mexico’s Josh Lanier takes on NAGA by Genieve Sanchez

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Lovato Total Fitness Fighters and Coaches Eric McElroy, Josh Lanier, Lenny Lovato and Matt Gurule

New Mexico’s Josh Lanier takes on NAGA

This weekend, decorated jujitsu champion, Josh Lanier of Lovato Total Fitness will be representing New Mexico at The North American Grappling Association (NAGA) Tournament in Dallas Texas.   He will be competing in America’s largest mixed grappling tournament circuit with over 160,000 competitors worldwide. The nationally ranked tournament hosts No-Gi & Gi events.

I caught up with coach and fighter Josh Lanier this week after an intense grapple session at fight gym, Lovato Total Fitness.   Taking a few moments, Josh Lanier sat down with KNUXX for a quick interview on his thoughts and intentions for the battle coming his way this weekend in Texas.

GS:  Josh, can you tell me what types of fighters and techniques will be represented at this nationally ranked tournament. 

JL:  Well the tournament host both No-Gi and Gi events.  Basically you will find the best of the best the world had to offer demonstrating jujitsu, grappling, sambo, as well as mma-style grappling.

GS:  How long have you been planning on fighting

JL:  I had planned on training and competing in this tournament several months ago but was setback with a major unexpected knee injury which resulted in surgery.  This occurred about 4 weeks back, and I thought the tournament was of the question this year.  But thanks to quick recovery, effective rehab, years of experiences, and talented coaching I am confident that I am ready to go and do some work.

GS:  Can you tell us about your fighting and jujitsu background: 

JL:  Although I have professional MMA and boxing fight experience, my true talents and expertise are in my ground game.  I started Japanese jujitsu when I was 13 years old and have been training and competing in judo, Brazilian jujitsu, and grappling all my life.  I like to PLAY jujitsu; it is my ultimate passion.

GS:  What events are you competing in at the tournament?

JL:  I will be competing in the Expert Heavy Weight Division, Black Belt Expert Division, and Absolute Division (First one No-Gi and then Gi jujitsu).

GS:  I understand that you have taken first or top honors in just about any jujitsu tournament you have competed in except for NAGA.  Is there unfinished business here? 

JL:  NAGA my unicorn, I keep going after it but can’t quite get the take on it.  Every time I have competed in the tournament I have come up short by a point or something gets caught up and I can’t quite pull the win out.  But this time there is a different element to my fight game and I feel like it is going to serve me well.  I will finally catch my “Unicorn” and get that championship.

GS:  What is the added ammunition you are bringing to the tournament?

JL:  Wrestling experience.  I moved back to New Mexico in January and knew that wrestling was an element that was missing in my fight game and I wanted it be near the level of my jujitsu skills.  Knowing this I knew that I had to go and train with the best of the best wrestlers here in town and that’s when I turned to Coach Lenny Lovato of Lovato Total Fitness to help me progress as a fighter and mastering this missing link.  We have been working together since January to help me become a more aggressive wrestler and fighter on the mats.   I am using this tournament to bring out the new Josh Lanier, the floor fighter that has it all, not just jujitsu but now wrestling.

GS:  Any shout-outs to coaches and sponsors?

JL:  Of course, those are the ones that have everything to do with me getting to this tournament.  At the top of the list I want to thank my sponsors and coaches:  ABQ Health Partners Orthopedics Department and Summit Medical, Elite-OSM, Lenny Lovato of Lovato total fitness.  I also want to thank all my training partners that have stepped up their efforts in helping me prepare for my fight and that is Eric McElroy, Matt Gurule, Kasey Yates and the rest of the fight team at Lovato’s.

GS:  Any last words?

JL:  I am bringing home the WIN!

On behalf of everyone here at KNUXX, I want to congratulate Josh on his journey to the tournament and wish him the best of luck with catching his “Unicorn”.

Until next time….

Genieve Sanchez

Athlete’s Angle

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