Joshua 'Zeus' Ignjatovic, journey to Last Fighter Standing

Picture by LFS

I had the pleasure of meeting Joshua Ignjatovic for coffee and an interview. Keeping everything cool and settling in, I was soon able to get to know the guy behind the fighter. All this before the actual interview started. Though a ring name as Zeus is enough to make any opponent shake in their boots, (or gloves since MMA fighters don't wear boots), Josh is one of the nicest guys I've met in a long time.

A dedicated fighter in MMA and K1, Joshua 'Zeus' Ignjatovic knows what it takes to be at the top of his game and working hard to stay there.

Starting out with Kickboxing in school as a way of self-defence, he soon fell in love with the sport. He later on, with the motivation of his girlfriend, joined Panther Fighter Arts and under the guidance of Anthony Kettle, Josh soon got set for his first fight. Since that first fight, he went from strength to strength. Though he has suffered his share of defeats, the pain of a loss was taken away by the support from family and friends. 
"I've been getting a lot of support from them, especially my dad. He recently got very involved in Martial Arts, driving me and pushing me a lot. He's getting very invested in it. My mom also supports me but you know moms, they don’t enjoy having their boys smacked around. My girlfriend has also been supporting me and helping me a lot, especially on those days where i just couldn’t anymore. She’s definitely one of my number one supporters."

He faced a tough as nails opponent in Juan Lagrotteria at CFL 10 in a MMA bout for the vacant Lightweight title. A fight that went the distance with neither one of them giving up an inch. He described this as one of his best and toughest MMA opponents to date, 
"I faced him for the CFL Lightweight title that was vacant at the time. We were standing and trading for all five rounds...We left there battered. That was my greatest MMA fight." with Rafial Wozniak being his toughest K1 opponent, "...I faced Rafial from Thaiholics. He's also tough as nails, refused to go down. He just stood and traded, He was like a terminator that night...He was definitely my toughest stand up fighter."

Josh was set to face Christian Kamona Alvatar from G Force in a title defence at CFL 15 on the 21st of May but decided to focus on his inclusion in Last Fighter Standing. A new promotion where martial artist of all backgrounds face each other for a coveted LFS title and will also stand a chance to compete for their share of R500 000. The winner in each division will also have the opportunity to be crowned the South African Champion. 
"LFS when it kicks off will be huge and it’s a platform growing before it even started. LFS is going international...with the basis starting at provincial then going national and then international. So definitely sticking to LFS. So with it being seasonal, I don’t want to stop fighting...maybe join EFC, have a contract long enough just to keep me busy till LFS starts again. Once i become a champ at LFS, that's where i want to stay."

Fighting out of a gym that has already seen a former EFC Heavyweight Champion in Brandon Groenewald and former Title Contender in Sibusiso Mdoko, the dream of taking the LFS Championship belt is everything but just a dream. 
"We all as fighters drive each other...We know where we want to go and we all pushing for that and having each other’s back...being in the same gym as former contenders is definitely inspirational. Sibusiso is a dedicated fighter, he fights hard and he's tough as nails and trains a lot...being in the same gym as former contenders is definitely inspirational"

Just like his idol, UFC fighter Conor McGregor, Josh is a flashy guy when it comes to his fighting style. Trying to match the style of McGregor, he started experimenting with other forms of Martial Arts. 
"...I try to bring something new, I’m a very flashy kind of fighter. I like to do the spinning and flying stuff. So I don't have anything specific. I feel out my opponent, see where he's going to. When he is comfortable with something, I want to make him uncomfortable. I will give him something he doesn't expect. A lot of guys don't learn to defend against the flashy things. So if I can perfect those things, it would benefit me and put my opponent on the back foot. Even if it doesn't connect, I will end up being in his head because now he has to think about will I do it again."

"I recently started Capoeira, it's a great movement game and will help me with my Jits, my core game and all round conditioning. The techniques are disguised by your movements so a lot of the stuff is sneaky, which I love. I do Tae Kwondo as well. That's where a lot of my flashy stuff comes from. With it being 90% legs and 10% hands, it’s perfect to get my kicks where I want it to be. I also do boxing, I love it. I love to keep my distance but when it comes down to throwing hands, I throw hands. I do Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling. Wrestling has a very controlling aspect. Look at the wrestlers in the UFC, they dominate the sport because it’s very overwhelming thing to do. It breaks them down. Jiu-Jitsu for all its open minded way on the game. There's an endless cycle. Anything you think you can defend, there’s always an offensive move for it. For every offence there’s a defence, for every defence there’s an offence. Soon I'll start doing Judo for the throws"

If this isn't the definition of a complete and dedicated fighter, then I don't know what is. To close of this article, I will leave you with some more words from Joshua.

"...I know exactly where I’m headed, where I want to be and when I want to make it..."

Be sure to follow MMAFundi as we will take you on the journey with Joshua 'Zeus' Ignjatovic on his road to Last Fighter Standing.

Article by: Darren McLean

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