One of the good things about the continued rise of mixed martial arts in Maryland is the increased awareness of the talent that's present here in the state. While better-known MMA camps nationwide like Greg Jackson in New Mexico or American Kickboxing Academy in California churn out some of the best the sport has ever seen, Maryland is coming into its own as a breeding ground for exciting young fighters eager to make their mark in the sport.
One of those guys is Jacob Kirwan, who trains out of Clinch Academy in Frederick. I have seen Jacob compete at previous events and if memory serves, he has great stand-up and is always eager to finish fights. Jacob was recently profiled in the local Frederick newspaper (catchy headline by the way; I wish I was that creative) and it's interesting to read in the article that he actually went to Jackson's camp in New Mexico and trained with some of the most exciting fighters out there, including Melvin Guillard, Donald Cerrone and Leonard Garcia from the UFC.
It was also interesting to read that if he wins his next fight he could receive a call-up to UFC, which would be great not only for himself but for MMA in Maryland overall. While trainers like Lloyd Irvin, who has worked with fighters like UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz and former UFC fighter Brandon Vera, base their operations in Maryland, the state appears to still be somewhat of a mystery in terms of its visibility in turning out competitive fighters. But hopefully through the efforts of people like Irvin and Jacob, that perception will soon change.
Jacob's fight that might land him in the UFC is actually schedule to take place tonight in Pennsylvania, with more information available here and here.
I will be sure to follow-up on the event and find out how Jacob fared, and in the meantime you can follow his blog here.