Ready to fight: Former Central wrestler Quintana ready for his first MMA bout
Jack Quintana knows he can wrestle.
Now he’s out to see if he can fight.
The former Central High School three-time state champion wrestler (1996-98) will compete in his first Mixed Martial Arts bout this Saturday at Cage Wars 7 at Two Rivers Convention Center.
“You put yourself on the line going in there,” Quintana said. “I’ve been training really hard, and I’m excited.”
Quintana’s wrestling pedigree is impressive. He was a junior college All-American at Western Wyoming Community College and finished fifth in the nation. Quintana transferred to Western State College where he placed third and second in the nation.
“I trained from the time I was six years old until I was 25,” Quintana said. “So I have 19 years of training.”
Quintana’s route to the cage is because of some pressure from Impact Boxing manager Alex Trottier. The long-time trainer had been asking Quintana to fight, but didn’t get a yes until three months ago. “I’ve known Alex for a while and they kept asking me to fight,” Quintana said. “Right after I got out of college, I took some time off. When my body felt better, I started training and told them I would fight.”
The first hurdle Quintana had to get over was using his hands.
“I’d never boxed,” Quintana said. “But I’ve been sparring with Alex and it feels natural. I’m going to try and knock the guy out.”
Quintana said his first foray in an MMA is a test drive for him.
“If do lose, I probably won’t fight again,” Quintana said. “But if my skills are fine, I’m going to keep working and keep with it.”
Quintana is fighting Glenwood Springs’ Chantry West in a 170-pound bout. The Cage Wars 7 card is one of the strongest that’s been put together recently, with nine amateur fights and three professional fights.
The amateur fights include a heavyweight bout between Grand Junction’s Brandon Endriss and Denver’s Kenneth Atkison, and a female bout between Grand Junction’s Kiri Lichtenwalner and Wyoming’s Britany Nipper.
The professional fights are Grand Junction’s Mike Smith’s against Wyoming’s Orlando Rodriguez at 160 pounds, Grand Junction’s Zach Harvey against Denver’s John Sargent at 165 pounds and Grand Junction’s Jeff Barney against Montrose’s Sergio Lopez at 160 pounds.
“It’s one the best cards around,” Trottier said. “There are a lot of good fights on this card that should go the distance.”
Tickets are available at 8th Street Gym, Impact Boxing and Harley Davidson.