South African MMA fighter Jeremy Smith trains in Tampa for U.S. debut at XFC 11

"I know that American MMA fighters are much more well-rounded than the guys back at home," said Smith. "I realize that I will have to step up my game if I want to fight in the U.S. more than once."

After earning his way to Tampa by defeating XFC fighter Julio Gallegos at XFC Africa’s Fight Club 1 in South Africa last February he now has to beat Victor O'Donnel (8-1) from Cincinnati, Ohio at XFC 11 on Friday to ensure himself a spot on a future XFC card in the U.S.

Naturally, Smith has invested three weeks for an intensive training camp at the XFC Training Center in Brandon as well as Gracie Tampa in North Tampa to prepare for his upcoming bout which can catapult his MMA career to new heights.

See the complete XFC 11 fight card here. XFC 11 tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster (use promo code “XTREME” for a $10-discount). All fights will air live on HD Net at 8 p.m.

The quality of mixed martial arts training in Tampa, Fla. has not only produced several UFC fighters, but also attracted world class fighters who held their training camps at local schools in preparation for upcoming bouts.

The most recent example is South African MMA fighter, Jeremy "The Pitbull" Smith, who will make his U.S. debut at XFC 11 The Next Generation at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa July 3.

“I’m not worried about my stand-up,” said Smith. “But we have only ten guys in the whole country [South Africa] who are really good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. So my ground game is a lot weaker than my stand up. That’s why I came here, to work on my ground game.”

Smith has relied heavily on his already tried and proven Thai boxing skills after a successful career as professional kickboxer. In 2006 he made the switch to MMA which resulted in a perfect pro MMA record of 7-0 in South Africa.

Scroll to read more Sports & Recreation articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]