In order to be the best of the best, T.J. Laramie knows where he has to be.
Laramie (Twitter: @AOBLARAMIE) is a budding star from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Training since the age of 13, Laramie began learning primarily kickboxing at Mady’s Martial Arts, but made the switch to Maximum Training Centre in an effort to learn more of an all-around MMA game.
His accomplishments thus far are, but not limited to: 3X Grapplers Quest winner (No-Gi and Gi), Ontario Open (No-Gi and Gi), 2X runner up in All-Ontario Wrestling, runner up in Absolute Grappling, Under-17 153-pound IKF Kickboxing World Champion.
Now, at 16 years old, Laramie is on a meteoric rise to a professional MMA career and has a goal in mind.
“I put everything I have into this sport,” Laramie Jason Kelly (@JayMMADieHards) on MMA Cypher Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “Eventually (the UFC) is where i want to be.”
Laramie envisions his UFC career taking place in the bantamweight or featherweight division. He credits his shortness to his parents, who he said aren’t very tall either, which makes the Windsor native believe he grow past five-foot-eight.
It’s fitting that Laramie, with his size and stature, said he could see a camp like Team Alpha Male being a place he’d jive with. The Ontarian likens his fight style to Chad Mendes, a solid wrestling base with equally strong boxing skills, but looks up to other fighters for encouragement to gain something that can’t be taught.
“The biggest one for sure is Frankie Edgar,” Laramie said. “I think he was a great champion and his style is exciting and technical. He wasn’t wild, and I’m not much for the brawling style or anything like that. He was technical, he won fights and has an amazing heart too.
“Cain Velasquez, too. He has heart, a hard worker and he just shows that hard work beats natural ability. He came back off the knock out from Junior (dos Santos) and beat him twice. It’s people like that that are able to come back off losses that really inspire me.”
A large portion of teenagers today, especially ones training in MMA, are up to date on the stars of the UFC. Laramie, though, is such a student of the game that he studies greats from other combat sports.
“Boxing was a huge part of my style and how I fight,” Laramie said. “All the old fights, Muhammad Ali is one of my greatest inspirations, I have one of his quotes tattooed on me. The old boxing is huge, huge to me.”
Given his accomplishments so far, and Laramie’s dedication to coming a professional mixed martial artist, it’s only a matter of time before promotions start knocking on his door with a contract. Sure, he’s most likely compete in a regional circuit somewhere, but with success wherever those bouts may be, Laramie is bound to hear from the UFC or Bellator.
“If the opportunity (with Bellator) presents itself I’ll take it, but we all know the best fighters in the world come from the UFC.” Laramie said. “If you look at Bellator, the first pay-per-view was two UFC dropouts, so right there, that just proves the UFC is the Mecca where everyone wants to be. Those are where the best in the world are right now, and that’s where I want to be.
“I want to be known as the best of the best, and that’s where it happens. At the UFC.”