Sunday, June 26, 2022

Jordan Leavitt Reveals Context To “The Monkey King” Moniker

UFC lightweight prospect Jordan Leavitt has detailed the context that led to his fighter nickname being “The Monkey King.”

Leavitt has certainly made an impact in his short stint in the Octagon to date, first by earning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, and then by recording a slam knockout on debut.

Having gone 2-1 since, the 27-year-old has been thrust into a big opportunity in a notable matchup with fellow rising 155lber Paddy Pimblett. The pair are set to collide at UFC London on July 23.

While the fight perhaps doesn’t present a big chance for Leavitt to climb the lightweight ladder given Pimblett’s own brief tenure in the UFC so far, it has placed the Las Vegas native in a featured position against a Liverpudlian who has taken the fanbase by storm since arriving on MMA’s biggest stage last September.

With Leavitt’s latest booking will come a host of eyeballs and an increased level attention, something the elite wrestler is already experiencing in the aftermath of the bout confirmation.

One question that newly intrigued fans may want answered about the man who’s become a hot topic in recent days is: why “The Monkey King” moniker? Well, Leavitt gave the answer during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.

While you’d perhaps expect the nickname to come down to an obvious link between monkeys and Leavitt’s ability to climb all over his opponents on the ground, the context actually derives from a Jackie Chan film and a post-match celebration (something Leavitt loves nothing more than).

“That (nickname) actually came up twice. So, in middle school, I went to see The Forbidden Kingdom with my friends and they were watching it like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s you!’ Then that kind of fizzled out after a few years,” recalled Leavitt.

“But then I was wrestling and my mum was videotaping it. After I beat the kid, I kind of like, walked on my knuckles and put the wristband in the center of the circle, and I walked off on my knuckles as a joke, and then they’re like, ‘You’re like a monkey,'” added Leavitt. “And I’m like, ‘No, the king of monkeys,’ (and they said), ‘Yeah, you’re like the monkey king.’ Then it’s been there since high school.”

For Leavitt, the nickname suits both his personality and in-cage actions.

“I don’t mind it. I think the imagery for like, eastern philosophy and religious thought, and like, kung fu history, the monkey king is the archetype in that part of the world. And I think it fits, I’m playful, I take things seriously, and there’s a little bit of arrogance in my style, and flamboyance. If feel like it matches the whole ‘Monkey King’ moniker.”

Leavitt hinted that he’s got a unique celebration in mind for The O2 crowd should he defeat England’s own Pimblett on July 23. Perhaps he’ll be bringing back the move that cemented himself as “The Monkey King.”

Do you think “The Monkey King” can defeat “The Baddy” at UFC London?

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