"Shine 2" Fighter Profile: Brian Fuery

I’ve never seen Brian Fuery’s desk, nor do I even know if he has one, but I assume that the nameplate sitting atop would read Brian Fuery: Athlete.  He’s at an early point in his career, so he probably hasn’t made time to get the promotional business cards, coffee mugs or t-shirts, however, the people will know soon enough.

Fuery started out as a defensive back for the Miami Hurricanes during their heyday in the 1990’s.  Although some former football players let the fame go to their heads, Fuery would say of his football career, “The thing about being a football player at Miami is that there is a huge brotherhood.” No bragging about how good he was or dreams about how his football career could parlay into a lush insurance job where he could get clients based on his name.  Instead of accepting the cushy office jobs that were offered to him post-graduation, Fuery opted to serve his country by joining the U.S. Air Force.

Upon his return from duty, gone were those cushy job offers.   Intuition, however, prevailed careening him towards entrepreneurship as a personal trainer in the Miami area. It was fate for his endeavor as a personal trainer provided Fuery the opportunity to find what he was really supposed to do: train for professional fighting.

“I was actually lifting weights in the gym, and a guy from Team [Pablo] Popovitch was actually doing Russian kettle bells, and I walked into the gym, and he was asking me about Russian kettle bells. He was wearing a pair of Team Popovitch shorts, and I asked him where I could buy a pair. So I stopped by the school and sat down with Pablo, and I was pretty much a wrap. He told me to try a class, because he knew I was a really good high school wrestler. And from the very first class, I loved it.”

And now, Fuery is a two-time world jiu-jitsu champion, a Pan-Am Games champion, a North American Grappling Association (NAGA) champion, and a Grappler’s Quest champion. Now he is a fighter, and he’s a natural, not only because of his athleticism, but because he learned early in his life that there were a lot of people who could help him, and that he would go far if only he allowed himself to be molded into a bad-ass dude.

Perhaps Fuery even learned some of his humility from his coach, world champion Pablo Popovitch, who reigns as one of the most decorated players in the history of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “The guy is super knowledgeable,” says Fuery, “he has an answer for everything. He’s very humble, and he’s the epitome of the martial way. I won’t train with anybody else. When he’s preparing you for a fight, the guy is so humble, and the great thing is that he’ll stop the entire class if you have a question in order to help you.”

Fuery is set to make his professional debut in mixed martial arts at Shine Fights II: American Top Team vs. The World, and he realizes that he’s already behind the game. “I saw that some guys that I beat in amateur went pro, and I decided that it was time for me too…the other thing is age…I don’t plan on doing this forever.”

This fighting thing may only be the next step in his life, but there is little doubt from the people around him that he will yet again be successful. It’s not every day that some former college football player becomes a jiu-jitsu world champion without ever trying to go out and make a name for himself.

Xtreme Couture heavyweight Phil Friedman will provide stiff competition for Fuery in his debut on September 4, but he isn’t worried.  “I’m looking to take him down, and try to get the match over as soon as I can.”

The world is set to see the next step in the evolution of Brian Fuery: Athlete.  Once again, we find he isn’t thinking about himself, “Being able to fight in front of my home crowd is a good opportunity for me, not only for me but for my family and my team. I want to make sure that my team gets the recognition that they deserve.”

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