CFFC Lightweight Contender Joe Lowry is a no nonsense kind of guy with a Philadelphia attitude and he is looking forward to showcasing his talents at the 2300 Arena on May 20th at CFFC 65 when he takes on Cage Fury lightweight champion Mike Pope.
Lowry is undefeated through his first five bouts and got his wish of a title shot following his TKO victory over Daisuke Yamaji at CFFC 63. It was a memorable night for Joe as he got to put on a show for the CFFC fans, and UFC President Dana White.
Fighting in front of the Boss Man himself can be a daunting task, but Lowry says he stayed in the moment.
"I went into that fight just like I go into every other fight. I wasn’t trying to make it a big deal. I just wanted to go out there and fight so I can show off my skills. I knew I had to go out there and impress Dana White and all of the other people watching because I wanted that title fight. I needed to get the finish and I guess if there was ever a time to get a big TKO it was then."
Looking back at his finish it seemed unwise for Lowry's opponent Daisuke Yamaji to stand and strike with him seeing as Yamaji is a Renzo Gracie black belt and a wizard on the mat. However Lowry thinks it wasn't by choice, but rather his own ability to steer clear of any traps set by Yamaji.
"I don’t really think he was wanting to stand with me, I think he was just trying to bait me. He was trying to get me to go to the ground. He knows you have to strike with me at some point, all fights start standing up. I think he was under the impression that I was gonna come out and wrestle with him after watching my last fight, which was a war that I won with wrestling. His thing was trying to get me to the ground so he could use his BJJ, but I knew what he was trying to do and I tried to be smart with that fight. He fell to the mat a couple times and I wasn’t trying to go down there until that last time when I knew he was rocked and pounced on him."
Fighter intelligence is an integral part of MMA and Lowry keeps that in mind every time he steps into the cage. When he makes his walk in front of his hometown crowd at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Lowry acknowledges that he must keep his eyes on the prize no matter how much the crowd is pumping him up.
"I love fighting at home in front of that home crowd. Having everyone backing me gives me a little bit of an advantages having all of my friends and family there. I feel the energy from all of them, but I still try to stay focused. I don’t wanna ever get myself out of my own game plan. I just try to stay calm, follow my instincts and fight smart. I don’t want to get out there and expend all of my energy in the first round, so I see it as a big plus, but I can’t let that all get to me too much."
Philadelphia loves a hard worker. It's a city that raves about it's "Come from nothing" mentality that has been a part of their persona for as long as anyone can remember. The city is crazy about sports, and crazy about the success of their fellow Philadelphians. It makes for a perfect storm at CFFC 65 as Lowry (who is a sheet metal worker in the city), alongside two other Philly "phighters" Sean Brady and Anton Berzin will be fueled by 205 pride on May 20th. When asked why he thinks Philadelphia loves guys like him Lowry simply said it's because many of those folks where the same color shirt as him.
"It’s a blue collar town. I’ve worked hard and nothing was ever given to me and Philly appreciates that. I never had parents that just threw money at me and paid for me to go to the best facilities around. I just went to the gym that I found. I’ve had to adapt and overcome and I think fighting for everything I have has made me a better athlete and a better person. I never forget where I came from. Looking back I remember when I was a little kid and I sucked at wrestling. I kept at it, my coaches helped me achieve my goals and I became better at it. My freshman year I was either getting pinned or getting my ass kicked, then I was in state tournaments by my senior year. That just shows you that you don’t have to be this elite athlete to be successful. As long as you bust your ass, listen to your coaches and work hard you can get there."
His willingness to hang onto values like hard work and heritage are what give Lowry such a strong grip on the mental aspect of the fight game. Fighting flows through Lowry's Irish heart and stems from a family bloodline of boxers. Lowry's father was an amateur boxer, and both his uncle and grandfather were professional boxers who all instilled the warrior's mentality on Lowry. Some would say he's sticking with the family business as an MMA fighter, but Lowry views it as something he chooses to do because he loves the challenge.
"It’s not so much carrying on family tradition as it is just something I wanted to do. It’s in my blood ya know? I always loved competing and that drive of winning matches even if you lose some along the way. Even the losses, you learn from them and fix the things you need to improve. The feeling of winning is just such a high for me, to look into the crowd with people cheering after you just beat someone up, it’s enlightening."
With a couple inches in height and three years of aging on his side, one would think size and age would play a factor in his fight against Mike Pope, but Lowry dismissed that notion and backed it up with the real advantages he see going into this bout.
"I don’t think age or size are much of a factor in this fight. He’s only a few years older than me, and we’ve both been competing for a long time so I don’t really see an experience advantage there. I’ve fought guys as an amateur at 170 that were much bigger than me and won, so I don’t really think size plays a part all that much either. It’s about fighting smarter and with better technique. I think my advantage lies with my wittiness and ability to adapt inside the cage.
I respect Mike Pope as a fighter. He had to fight his way to the top and I can’t take nothin’ away from the guy. But what I’m bringing in with me into this fight, I don’t see him being able to handle it. I don’t see any kind of game plan he may have against me that’s gonna work. I feel like my wrestling is better, I feel like my striking is better, I’ve been in battles—I feel like I have a stronger heart than him, and that I’m willing to go to war and take those punches. I don’t think he’s willing to take that step. I think he’s scared to get hit and I guess we’ll find out on May 20th."
Lowry has been a professional MMA fighter since 2014 and unfortunately, he has only fought 5 times over that span. Most athletes that are looking to make their way up the regional rankings fight as much as possible in hopes of building up their record and getting the call from a premier promotion. For Lowry, he has had to settle for 1-2 fights per year.
"I would love to fight every 3-4 months, but I’ve had some injuries. I broke my hand in a fight, I broke my foot in a wrestling tourney I did, and I tore my shoulder labrum in my fight against Bradly Desir. Sometimes you just gotta let yourself heal. I’d love to fight as much as possible, but when your body says you can’t do it, you just gotta listen and take it easy before you go out and compete."
A Pennsylvania Sheet Metal Worker and member of the Local 19 Worker's Union, Lowry wants to continue his career even if he does make it to the big stage. Most pro fighters are one hundred-percent committed to nothing but fighting and that works for a lot of people. However we've seen fighters like Eddie Wineland, Stipe Miocic, and Shane Carwin all hold down their other careers and still experience high levels of success in MMA. If it comes down to it, Lowry hopes to fall under the latter category and stick with his union boys, even if he's fighting for the UFC.
"I’ll keep my day job. It really depends on what the fight is, and what kind of show it is. I’ll always be a union man because I’m not just gonna throw all of my eggs in one basket. I love the brothers that I have there, they always look after me. If I get up there with the UFC I can take some time off. I’ll still keep my union ticket and pay my card and everything, but I’m willing to take a layoff for 6 months or so to make a run through the UFC rankings and try to get to the top."
I love my day job man, It’s a family working with my union brothers. They take care of me, they sponsor me, and we all look out for each other. It’s not all about work inside the union. We have get-togethers, family picnics, Christmas parties, and all of our own families are involved. I'm able to stay focused with my training too because they all support my fight career."
Lowry had some shoutouts to make prior to stepping into the CFFC cage on May 20th.
"I wanna thank Nick Catone, Bob Peach, my brother Danny, Brad Daddis, Jerry my strength and conditioning coach, Matt, Jackson, all my guys I train with, my friends and family, and my union brothers."
"It’s going down May 20th you’re either gonna make it or break it, and I’m gonna make it."