“I always said that if I’m fighting I wanted it to be for fun and everything. I was always trying to be that guy that never was too serious, but it’s definitely a business when that bell rings.”—Jarrett “The Legacy” Rouse
For fighter Jarrett “The Legacy” Rouse, it isn’t a matter of whether or not he’s one of a kind, rather is he the only kind. This is essentially the motto at Team Rouse Kick Boxing Gym in Bartlesville, OK. Speaking with his father & trainer, Randy Rouse, it became clear that Jarrett was destined for something great from the beginning. “Jarrett started out in amateur boxing when he was around 11 years old. He was 5-0 as an amateur and then he just got an itch to do kickboxing. He started working out in the gym for kickboxing and he went 23-0 in amateur kickboxing. Then the mixed martial arts (MMA) stuff got pretty big for a while, and he went 11-0 in amateur MMA”, said Randy.
This is not only telling of individual who loves competition, but an individual who loves combatant competition. These are the traits of the modern day gladiators where expertise extends beyond all formats of combat. In fact, Jarrett first turned pro in the MMA ranks where he went 5-0 before being offered a contract to sign with Legacy Fighting Championships, which he turned down in order to turn professional as a boxer. He spent a few months training at Freddie Roach’s famed Wild Card Gym and ultimately amassed a record of 10-0-1, 4 KO’s, before going back to kickboxing.
“By the time Jarrett turned 27 years old he already had 61 fights. He’s 58-2-1 overall. He’s got the experience. I’ve had a gym since 1985, so I’ve got 33 years in the gym, myself. He grew up watching his mother fight. She was a world champion kickboxer, she was undefeated in professional kickboxing and had four world titles. Tommy Morrison was a friend of mine and he had a good promoter named Tony Holden and he talked us into doing some boxing. We went into boxing with his mother and he watched her win a world title in professional boxing and he hasn’t stopped since stated Randy.”
And with that, the legend continues. He has a kickboxing match coming up against Jamice Taylor, a veteran of the sport who poses to be a tough challenge. This will be one of the featured fights for Extreme Fight Night 347 (XFN 347) in Tulsa, OK. That said, Jarrett was essentially built for this. I had the opportunity to speak with him on his mindset, future fights, and life in general.
JB: You’re a boxer, kickboxer, I even saw that you’re in Mixed Martial Arts. I guess you just like to fight, period! What’s driven you to participate in all of these combat sports?
I started out in kickboxing and then MMA became such a big thing and, I don’t know, the small gloves and things made it appealing, so I tried it out. I figured out quickly that you have to develop a pretty good wrestling game because if you don’t, people won’t want to stand up with a striker and they’ll just want to take you down. Most of my MMA fights went to the ground. I haven’t lost in MMA, but I’ve had a few close ones at the beginning due to my lack of ground game.
I actually got to where I’m pretty good on the ground and want to do that again. I’m just so busy training right now and would have to take on another training session during my day just to focus on ground work. Hopefully that’s something I can do in the near future. I just have to find some time. Whenever I kickboxed I relied on my hands. I tried boxing out and it came more natural than the MMA did due to me being more of a stand up fighter.
JB: Is there a particular combat sport you prefer over the others?
Ah, it’s hard. Whichever one I’m doing at the time is my favorite. I like the kickboxing, probably the most. Boxing is more professional I guess you can say, all business as far as the politics. With kickboxing it just feels more natural. It’s hard to explain. Kickboxing, definitely, it’s been my favorite out of all of them.
JB: Which do you find to be the most challenging?
The boxing is probably the most challenging and demanding. In MMA you have strikes, takedowns, takedown defense, submissions, and everything. But, in MMA, there are only a handful of people even at the elite level that are great at all of those aspects. If you have an opponent you can kind of see what their strengths are going to be. In boxing, you’ve pretty much got your two hands.
People have been boxing since they were eight years old so they develop skills. It’s more of a chess game. The cardio is insanely demanding, you’re fighting 10 plus rounds. You only have two weapons. If your arms are getting tired in a kickboxing fight you can kick some, in boxing you have your two weapons and your brain. That’s it. I thought boxing was little more challenging than the other sports.
JB: Do you go about training any different for what sport you’re participating in or are you just training in each year round regardless of the fight that’s scheduled?
I have so many fights. I had a dry spell. The boxing promoter that I worth with had to cut back on fights, so I went over a year without boxing, but I still train. Now that I’m kickboxing I train pretty much everyday. My day off is me running four miles and doing some bag work. It’s pretty much a day off. I stay pretty busy just trying to get training, as much in as I can without overtraining and I think that’s what I’m doing right now. The last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling like I’m out of shape, but I know I’m not. I’ve just overtrained. I’m trying to cut back some on that.
JB: There are many father and son, fighter/trainer relationship in combat sports. As far as my knowledge, I don’t recall whether there’s such a combo across multiple sports. Does your father train you in each?
Yes, for the most part, my dad does train me. Kickboxing and MMA were easy to train. We’d go back and forth. Boxing is what I had trouble with because your stance is more different in boxing. You’re more on your front leg and you can stand square in boxing. In kickboxing you have to check kicks and kick, but if you’re standing square in boxing they’ll pick you apart like crazy. If I’m training to do fights in boxing then that’s all I’m going to do, I’m not even going to throw a kick. In kickboxing you can go back and forth between the MMA and kickboxing because they kind of flow together.
If I get the chance and it’s on then I’m definitely watching. Manny Pacquiao has always been one of my favorite fighters. Floyd Mayweather, JR., definitely wasn’t, I wasn’t a fan of his at all until I started boxing and then I gained a respect for how he does what he does when he’s in the ring. It’s definitely a lot harder than being a bull-headed fighter and just going in there to go to war. Trying to outsmart someone without getting touched, I grew to become of a fan of his.
I’m a real big fan of Vasyl Lomachenko. He’s insane inside the ring. Anytime he’s fighting I definitely try to watch him. If I don’t you can’ pretty much see anything on the internet now, so I’ll go and YouTube his fights. I stay decently active and keep up with the sport as best I can. My days are so busy that I don’t have time to do anything but get through the day and try to sleep.
JB: You have a fight coming up. Do you have the date set and everything? Publisher’s Note: (The fight with Jamice Taylor has been called off due to Jarrett suffering a hand injury in training.)
Yes, April 6th. It’s definitely going to be a tough fight. He’s 6’2 and fights at 145 pounds. He fought in the Pan American Games for the United States whenever the last event was. I don’t know how often they do those. He went to Mexico, and I believe he got silver. If you get on a team like that then you have to be pretty legit. I think he has a pretty big MMA background as well. I believe he’s primarily a striker. I have a training partner that I train with who’s 6’1, and very awkward. I should be used to sparring someone who has a greater reach than me. I think it helps having the partner that I have.
JB: When it’s all said and done and your career is over, how do you want to be remembered? Like I said, you are a different breed.
That’s a tough question. I mean, I don’t know. It’s at that point where it’s almost like a career. I always said that if I’m fighting I wanted it to be for fun and everything. I was always trying to be that guy that never was too serious, but it’s definitely a business when that bell rings. But, outside of the ring everyone always says I’m different. My dad says I’m way too nice. He’s been trying to get me to be a lot meaner.
JB: You seem to have the right mindset from an overall perspective. On top of all of that, your dad mentioned that you’re currently taking classes. What’s that about?
I’m doing EMT classes right now. I probably have more on my plate than I should be doing. I work 48 hours a week when I’m not in school. Monday & Tuesday I’m in school from 7:00AM to 4:30PM, and it’s an hour away so I have just enough time to get home and train. I do my kickboxing and leave there and go straight to the gym to try and do conditioning. That’s not the ideal way of doing it, that way I feel I overtrained a bit.
I have full custody of my son. Next month, he’s going to be eight and I have him every single day. He’s in school and he has soccer practice, so I’m doing a lot of things. I’m doing some fire training also and hopefully will be getting on with the Tulsa, OK, Fire Department. I’ve passed the written test and will just have to do the physical test next month. That will free up some time. Their work hours are 24 hours on, 48 hours off, so that would be nice versus just going at it every single day. That’ll give me more time to train. I think I’m going to get back into MMA because I’ll have more time on my hands.