American Top Team (ATT) is one of the premier MMA training centers in the United States. Based out of Coconut Creek, Florida, the gym has produced numerous champions in a variety of promotions. Amanda Nunes (UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion) and Tyron Woodley (UFC Welterweight Champion) are two current champs based out of the storied gym. It’s a staple training center in the MMA game, and the list of prominent mixed martial artists associated with the gym is endless.
But did you know that Atlanta has its very own ATT? American Top Team – Atlanta is located at 2110 Faulkner Rd NE, Atlanta.
Just like ATT in Florida, Atlanta’s center produces its own group of talented fighters for the southwest of the United States and beyond. For example, Devorious Tubbs, a top-five fighter in Georgia, who fights in the main event at NFC 87 in a couple weeks, is the Muay Thai instructor for ATT Atlanta.
In addition to producing upper echelon talent in the area, ATT Atlanta is the home gym for, Roan “Jucao” Carneiro. “Jucao” is a current UFC fighter and owner of the Atlanta-based ATT franchise. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carneiro is a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He started his MMA career back in 2000.
Carneiro is currently in his second stint in the UFC and has had 7 fights inside the Octagon with a 3-4 record. His biggest win is arguably a submission victory against Mark Munoz. The 38 year BJJ specialist, will be taking on Kenny Robertson in a welterweight fight on the main card of UFC Fight Night 94 in Hidalgo, Texas this weekend. Robertson is coming off of a loss as well, so fans should expect a hard fought bout between both opponents. The Brazilian fighter most recently lost to Derek Brunson in February, so Saturday night will be a critical fight in his UFC career.
UFC Fight Night 94 will take place on September 17th, and will broadcast on Fox Sports 1. Fight Pass starts at 7 pm, prelims start at 8pm and the main card goes live at 10 pm.
Although Carneiro is in South Texas preparing for his fight, I had a chance to visit ATT Atlanta this week while interviewing Vee Johnson (Corporate Fight Night 12 headliner). Look for that interview in the next couple weeks. I had a great experience meeting the team and was extremely impressed with the gym and the team that they have put together. I had the good fortune to meet a couple of their coaches including Devorious Tubbs (Muay Thai Coach) and Jake Jo (BJJ Coach). Overall, I think Carneiro and team have created a great environment for beginners and wanna-be pros to find success.
I’m more than certain that ATT – ATL will be watching UFC Fight Night 94 very closely this Saturday to root for their head coach and mentor.
It’s been over six years since Heisman-trophy-winning Georgia-native, Herschel Walker, stepped into the cage for the very first time. Back in January of 2010, at the age of 47 years old, the UGA Heisman Trophy winner, fought Greg Nagy on the main card of a Strikeforce event. Walker went on to win this fight and one more bout the following January.
His ascension into MMA popularity reminds me a little bit of what is happening with CM Punk. Although, you really can’t compare the athleticism of a high-level professional football player to a professional wrestler, but both of them are elite in their respective professions. And the two have little or no need to get punched in the face, as they are doing quite well financially. Instead, both Walker and Punk had an interest in MMA and desire to compete in the sport from more of a hobbyist’s perspective. I don’t take exception to either fighter attempting to follow their dreams, especially if they have the notoriety and resources to make it happen. And of course their names attract a significant amount of attention and hype; good and bad.
Back in 2010, there were a fair share of MMA fans and pundits that questioned Walker’s intentions and the fairness in putting an 0-0 fighter on the main card above career-MMA professionals. I totally get that side of the argument, but what I’ve learned over the years in following mixed martial arts, is that fairness does not always come first. More often than not, it’s hype that drives the matchmaking.
You can argue back and forth whether Conor McGregor deserves his place at the top of the rankings, but early on, it was his hype that brought him to the forefront, not his record. Hype is a big deal in this sport, and Dana White (UFC President) is a BIG fan of going where the hype takes him.
Brock Lesnar and Kimbo Slice are two good examples of MMA fighters, that previously had little or no MMA experience before they were introduced to the biggest promotions in the world. Heck you could even throw, former boxer, James Toney’s one-time appearance in the UFC against Randy Couture into the equation as well. The majority of the most watched MMA fights were not for a championship belt or for contender status. To this day a fight between Kimbo Slice & James Thompson (a non-title bout) ranks as the most viewed MMA fight in history (with over 7.2 million viewers). People don’t always wan’t to see the two “best” fighters. At the end of the day, promoting MMA is about providing the fans with unique and intriguing experiences, not just a fight between the two top contenders.
That’s why I liked having Herschel Walker jumping into the cage back in 2010. At the time, it was big news. All the media outlets reported on his debut. A Heisman trophy-winning Dallas Cowboy in a cage fight is a bid deal. An in my opinion, every bit of the coverage was good for the sport. At the time, I wasn’t necessarily thrilled that Walker was so far up the fight card, but I’ve warmed up to the strategy these days.
As you observe CM Punk making his debut (on the main card) on Saturday at UFC 203, don’t think of Punk as jumping in front of the line or disrespecting the sport. Think of him has providing the fans with a unique opportunity to see if “anybody” can be an MMA professional. Is he all hype? Or does he have what it takes? And hopefully, the CM Punk experiment, brings a few more fans into the sport.
Oh by the way, Herschel Walker (who’s now 54) hinted that he would like to make a return to MMA this year. He’s a beast!
Here’s some previous coverage I did on Herschel Walker via ESPN back in the day.
Georgia-native, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, took care of business at UFC 202 with a one-punch KO of Glover Teixeira in 13 seconds of the very first round.
With the win, Johnson is 7-1 in his most recent run in the UFC, which has been at light heavyweight. His only loss coming via a submission loss to Daniel Cormier in a LHW title fight.
If all goes to plan, it looks like Rumble will get an opportunity to avenge that loss against Cormier sooner than later. Of course, that’s as long as Jon Jones doesn’t re-infect the division early than expected. There have been indications that Jones may be working a deal with USADA to return to the Octagon earlier than the expected 2 year suspension. Stay tuned on that one.
A day after asking the media to stop talking about Jones and DC, Georgia native, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson gets into it with a fan that starts yelling during a question and answer session with the press. Clearly, Johnson’s got his game face on for Saturday night.
Here’s the video from MMAFighting.com (jump to 7:00)