Green River Star -

By David Martin

Salas returns to octagon Sat.


For Justin “J-Bomb” Salas, Saturday’s fight at UFC 196 in Las Vegas is a return to form and a return to the sport he loves.

He takes on Jason Saggo in one of the most exciting fight cards in recent memory. The headlining fights feature Holly Holm defending her women’s bantam weight title against Miesha Tate and Conor McGregor battling Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title.

His last fight took place July 16, 2014, a fight that resulted in a loss to Joe Proctor as a result of a second-round TKO. Since then, Salas has worked on improving his knee after an injury took him out of competition, along with building a business and spending time with his son.

“I’m real excited to get back out there,” he said Monday afternoon.

While Salas admits fighting at UFC 196 is a great opportunity, he said he’s only focusing on what he can control and not make the fight a bigger deal than it is. Salas said he’s more concerned with maximizing his potential as a fighter, saying the fight itself doesn’t mean the whole world to him.

“You either win or you learn,” Salas said. “I feel like that’s a healthy way to do it.”

Salas has developed a love for fighting over the past several years, admiring the art and higher level of thinking involved in many fights.

Salas said there are counters to counters and said the higher level of thinking involves a hypnotic rhythm where the body simply reacts to the situation a fighter is in. While some fighters see success through brutal exhibitions of strength, Salas said the skills and techniques displayed by technical fighters keeps him interested in the sport.

“That’s what fascinates me about martial arts,” Salas said.

Looking at his bout, Salas described Saggo as a world-class submission grappler and jiu jitsu practitioner, saying he will have to keep Saggo guessing throughout the fight to gain the upper hand.

Advice to the wrestlers

Salas said he is proud of the Green River High School wrestling team after taking state last weekend. His advice to wrestlers returning to the mat is to surround themselves with people who can help them improve and stressed the importance of not making fast decisions. He said rational thinking about how to improve will allow a competitor to find solutions to help build them. Salas said rationally-thinking people will often move themselves into championships or great things.

“I’ve seen a lot of champs always rationally thinking about improving themselves,” Salas said. “Stake more claim in your thoughts.”


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