Kickboxer Jauncey pursuing MMA, inspired by Adesanya
James Law, Glory Sports International

One of the best kickboxers on the planet wants to break into mixed martial arts.

Josh Jauncey, the No. 1-ranked lightweight in GLORY Kickboxing, called his plans to move to MMA a "fairly big possibility," as told to theScore.

"It's always been in the back of my mind, but I've always wanted to accomplish so much more in kickboxing," Jauncey said earlier this week. "But with the landscape of kickboxing at the moment, and as I get older, it's not looking like the best option financially.

"At this age, I could potentially switch over to MMA and start making a lot more money. And instead of accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish in kickboxing, I could do it in MMA."

Jauncey has competed under the GLORY banner since 2014 and challenged for the lightweight title in 2018 but lost a decision to then-champion Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong.

The 27-year-old recently became a free agent after failing to come to terms on a new deal with GLORY.

Jauncey claims he wants to cross over because he's making "entry-level UFC money" while competing at the highest level in kickboxing. The coronavirus pandemic has also forced him to consider a new path since few kickboxing organizations are putting on events. He hasn't competed in 2020.

The Vancouver resident, who was born in London, England, said his inspiration is UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, a former GLORY standout who took the MMA world by storm in 2018. Adesanya won the belt less than two years after signing with the UFC and is currently ranked No. 3 on the pound-for-pound list.

"I know I can do something similar," Jauncey said.

The Canadian says in addition to his kickboxing training - he hasn't closed the door on that career entirely - he's been training MMA three days a week since September. Jauncey has been working with Bibiano Fernandes, the ONE Championship bantamweight titleholder, to focus on jiu-jitsu and wrestling.

"At first, I didn't enjoy it too much, because I'm a sore person," Jauncey said. "I expect a lot of myself, so if I don't meet my own expectations, I get frustrated with myself.

"But as the weeks have gone on, Bibiano has been (talking about) my improvements, and he's not a guy that's easily impressed. I can see he's having a harder time doing certain things, and he's getting frustrated trying to submit me. Obviously, every time he will submit me if he wants to, but I can see him having a slightly harder time."

"Night Crawler" has said he's already talked to some promotions, but he isn't in a rush to step into the cage. The timing of his MMA debut will depend on COVID-19 restrictions in British Columbia, but the fighter believes he could be ready by March 2021.

While he sees himself reaching a big stage like the UFC, Bellator, or ONE Championship, Jauncey wants to take his MMA career one step at a time - which likely means getting in a few fights on the local circuit in his home province first.

"I've seen some high-level kickboxers jump directly into a big organization and it not go very well for them," Jauncey said.

Jauncey doesn't have his heart set on the UFC but simply wants to be considered one of the best fighters in the world.

"Going by what Bibiano said, he said I could fight in the UFC right now," Jauncey said. "I think he's being a bit generous, but that's because I'm hard on myself.

"He didn't say against who, but he said I could win in the UFC right now."

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Kickboxer Jauncey pursuing MMA, inspired by Adesanya
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