A little older, a little wiser, Myles Jury has learned to block out the noise.
Jury turned 31 in October. Since making his amateur MMA debut over 14 years ago, he’s been in almost nothing but high pressure situations, first competing for King of the Cage—one of North America’s longest-running regional organizations—and then moving on to The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC, and now Bellator.
Over that time, he’s watched as the sport has evolved (and in some areas devolved) into a massive entity on the global stage, complete with larger-than-life personas and the kind of trash talk that ranges from provocative to juvenile to downright deplorable.
Jury made it clear in the past that hyping a fight through mudslinging is not something he’s ever been interested in, but over time he’s come to accept that it’s a necessary evil.
“As I’ve kind of grown up over the last couple of years and really matured and just grown, I actually don’t look at trash talk that much anymore as a bad thing,” Jury told MMA Fighting. “I look at it as fighters are just trying to put more food on the table for themselves, fighters are trying to promote fights, basically a lot of them are just acting to a certain standpoint nowadays.
“It’s no different than somebody getting on the screen and acting for a movie and then going back to real life. So I’m open to it, I definitely see why people do it and to each his own. If that’s what people want to do and that’s the angle they want to take, then that’s cool.”
Jury next meets Brandon Girtz in the lightweight co-main event of Bellator 239 in Thackerville, Okla., on Friday, and while Girtz is known for his explosive brawls, he’s typically of the same mindset as Jury as far as saving the majority of the aggression for fight night. Should the situation call for it though, Jury is more than willing to give his two cents on a situation.
“I feel compelled to speak my mind on certain topics and to not really care what people think,” Jury said. “That’s basically where I stand. Just being confident in myself and speaking my thoughts 100 percent, being genuine and true on whichever topic it is and I’m happy with that at the end of the day.”
Heading into pro bout No. 23, Jury isn’t looking ahead and hasn’t even thought about a possible end date for his career. He’s already shared the cage with names like Benson Henderson, Donald Cerrone, Takanori Gomi, and Diego Sanchez, and the thought of more challenges along those lines excites him.
He is able to look back though and one of his greatest regrets so far is how his UFC run ended, despite leaving the promotion with an 8-4 record.
“The big one is not getting that world title with the UFC when I was with them,” Jury said. “That’s a big regret for me. I’ve got to wake up every day and I didn’t get that title and that’s something I have to live with. Looking back, that’s probably the biggest regret that I have.”
It’s clear that Jury remains his own harshest critic, which may explain why he doesn’t care to engage in the usual cycle of trash talk and how he’s remained so singularly focused since stepping into the cage for the first time at the age of 16. It’s also helped him to keep his mind off of the career worst three-fight losing streak he’s currently on.
If he could step into a time machine and give his younger self advice, Jury says he’d remind himself to enjoy the ups and downs, enjoy the process, and stay in the moment.
And most of all, don’t sweat the extracurriculars.
“The biggest thing is that no matter what happens to me, I’m still here and I’m still pushing forward,” Jury said. “It doesn’t matter what people think, it doesn’t matter about people’s opinions, it doesn’t matter a win or a loss at the end of the day, I’m doing what I was born to do and nothing can stop me.”