From Uber driver to an Extreme Fighting Championship fighter, Faeez “Troublemaker” Jacobs, 24, is in the driving seat to become an EFC bantamweight title shot contender.
Following his first round win via technical knockout against Billy “The Kid” Oosthuizen during an EFC79 bantamweight bout in Johannesburg at the weekend, Jacobs called out the unified champion, JP Buys, to give him a shot at title glory.
Although notified only a day earlier to take on the fight, Jacobs says he took it without hesitation, because he was preparing for it as if he knew it was coming.
Saturday’s win has now boosted his professional EFC career to six wins and two defeats.
The kickboxer, fighting out of Fighterz Inc. MMA and Wellness Academy, in the heart of Ottery, possesses a sharp tongue, a powerful punch and an aggressive kickboxing style, which put The Kid to sleep, at the weekend.
Jacobs says after the fight, they went on to a restaurant, where he met champion, Buys, and exchanged some complimentary words.
He says during the salutations, Buys congratulated him on the victory, and he complimented Buys on his win against Luthando Biko at last month’s EFC78 at GrandWest, where Buys was crowned the unified bantamweight champ.
Jacobs says he playfully asked when they would be meeting to sign contracts, to which Buys responded, “hopefully soon”.
“He said that he enjoyed my fight and performance.”
Jacobs, who went from being unemployed to holding down three different jobs at the same time and then driving an Uber, says EFC has been a dream come true for him.
“When I was in high school I was very self-centred. I got suspended in my final year and some people were saying I would end up in prison,” he said.
He credits martial arts for helping him to improve his self-esteem and to relate better to those around him.
“I started training in 2014 and when I was 16, I had already made up my mind that this is the sport I want to do. But you know life does not always go where you want it to go.
“I made some cash in 2014 and I started boxing again. I met coach Fidaah Edries in 2015 while I was working several jobs and he helped me.
“When I received the letter from EFC I was on my way back from dropping a client. I quit that very same day. I called the car owner and told him to come and fetch his car,” says Jacobs.
Coach Edries says Jacobs is still young and has been training towards meeting Buys, they just need a date to when they will meet.
“After the win (on Saturday) I felt ecstatic. We had a game plan, this fight gave him more experience for his title fight.
“He was practising for more movement, on the floor work and finding a weakness and grabbing the advantage,” says Edries.
He says Jacobs is the first one to arrive and the last one to leave at the gym. When he took him under his gloves a couple of years ago, Jacobs had three amateur boxing fights and he said he wanted to take mixed martials arts professionally.
Edries says naturally Jacobs is very tenacious, determined, will fight for the love of the sport and is always hungry for glory.