From victim of schoolyard bullying to undefeated MMA fighter, Joshua “Flash” Langley has come a long way in a short amount of time. Having just turned 18 less than a month ago, Langley has already accumulated a 4-0 record in MMA and a 2-0 record in kickboxing. Trying to deter his bullies, Langley began Brazilian jiu jitsu in the sixth grade, and he was a purple belt by 17.
Still fighting as an amateur, Langley has been bestowed the honor of an invitation to train with Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, and he’ll be heading there this summer to study with some of the best fighters in the world. But, first Langley must get through Lachlan Kritsonis this Saturday, March 30th, at Empire Fighting Championship 1, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Follow along as I share my conversation with Joshua, and he will tell his story about how he has been able to accomplish so much at such a young age.
Joshua, let me ask you, where are you from, and what got you into fighting?
I’m from Walker, Louisiana, and I’ve been here my entire life, really. The reason I started fighting is because I was bullied as a kid, and I tried to do everything that I could to stop being picked on. I was shorter, and didn’t weigh as much as the others. I just wasn’t up to par, I guess. I started doing jiu jitsu in the sixth grade, and ever since then, I’ve expanded, doing MMA and striking. Really, fighting was never in the plans, but when I started doing jiu jitsu, I fell in love with the sport, and it turned into something great.
“Really, fighting was never in the plans, but when I started doing jiu jitsu, I fell in love with the sport, and it turned into something great.”Langley on how he began fighting.
What’s a typical week like for you? How often are you training and what do you typically train and when?
I train quite a bit. Even when I’m not in fight camp, I still train seven days a week. This morning I did a circuit and jiu jitsu, and I have another circuit to do. On Mondays, it’s usually no-gi. I do a lot of jiu jitsu; four days a week. And the other three days, I do some stand up, you know, mix it up. I do circuits throughout the week. I don’t like to miss time in the gym. Even when I don’t have a fight lined up, I still love to get in there.
Where are you training out of?
My main gym is Gracie United in Walker, but I do venture out to Slidell, Hammond, I’ve been to Biloxi to train with Alan Belcher and Brandon Davis. I really try to get as much training in as possible. I have to rely on my parents to bring me to training, which I don’t mind. I love spending time with them. But, if I had my own car, I would definitely expand more.
Wait, how old are you?
I just turned 18 on February 27th of this year.
So, I’m assuming of the six fights that you’ve had, you typically come in as the younger opponent? How does that affect you preparing for the fight, if at all?
I’ve never fought anyone my age. It really doesn’t affect me. I’ve always been younger and smaller than everyone else, but I use that as a strength. I have quickness, and I know that I’m technically sound. The main people that I train with are older and bigger than me, so the age gap and size gap really doesn’t make a huge difference to me.
“I’ve never fought anyone my age. It really doesn’t affect me. I’ve always been younger and smaller than everyone else, but I use that as a strength.”Langley on fighting at such a young age.
How do your parents feel about you fighting?
My parents are all for it! They are the ones who pushed me to do it. Well, it was really more of a guided hand than a push. They were all for seeing me become the great athletic fighter that they knew I could become. My parents have definitely been super supportive. They’ve got a cage set up at my house. I’ve got weights, a speed bag, and they allow me to have private coaches, and they drive me places to train. They’ve been by my side for the entire journey, and I don’t plan on them ever not being at my side.
Are you still in school?
Yes sir! I’m in high school until May 18h. I could have graduated mid-term, but I turned it down. I cant wait to get out of school though, because then I can use that time for training.
What all do you have planned for when you finish high school?
Just to train more, go to different places, get my driver’s license and go everywhere that I possibly can. My parents said that they would financially support me and let me build on my dream, and of course the dream is to get to a higher place in this sport, turn pro, see where it goes from there. I don’t have plans on going to college yet.
Is there any time frame as to when you might turn pro?
Honestly, I will turn pro when my coaches say that I’m ready to. But, that probably won’t be until another year or two, until I’m 19 or 20. I just want to get the most experience that I can before I turn pro, because it’s a big jump. When you’re at a show, you can tell the difference between the last amateur fight and when the first pro fight comes on. I feel like this is something that you just have to build up to.
What do you like most about fighting?
Honestly, that’s a pretty good question, because I love it all. I used to not like the cameras, and all that, but it’s definitely grown on me a lot. I like being able to go out there and give the people a show. I really love everything about this sport, seeing myself grow. But, it’s hard to see myself sometimes, because it’s hard to step back and let everything soak in.
What do you feel is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is probably my jiu jitsu. I’m pretty slick on the ground, as people have told me. Everybody says that my jiu jitsu is my biggest strength, but I’ve improved my stand-up a lot since my first MMA fight. My stand-up has gotten freakishly better. Honestly, now I think my stand-up and ground game are pretty close to being even.
Any favorite submissions?
I tend to get people in triangles a lot. I’ve tapped a couple people with Von Flue chokes. I’ve gotten some crucifixes, they are something that I just have fun with. I don’t really see myself going for one in a fight, but I mean, if it’s there, I’ll take it.
“I’ve gotten some crucifixes, they are something that I just have fun with. I don’t really see myself going for one in a fight, but I mean, if it’s there, I’ll take it.”Langley on his favorite submissions.
What was it like the first time that you stepped into the cage? What was going through your mind?
I was a lot more calm than I would have thought. I don’t get nervous when I fight, and my coaches and other people have said that that is a blessing on its own. I’m cool, calm and collected. The first time that I stepped in, I wasn’t nervous, but I did have that butterfly feeling; like, this is my first time doing this, and I don’t know what to expect. I did kickboxing before, but MMA is different. You don’t have headgear or shin pads, and the gloves are smaller. But, I wasn’t too nervous.
Are there any notable fights that you’ve had thus far that you’d like to tell me about?
Yea, I’d say my first TKO! I believe it was my third fight, and it was against Justin Hoda. That fight, I just felt like it was when I started getting my groove going in fighting. Starting off, I was kind of tight, but now I’m more bouncy, more myself, more loose. That fight is when I first started getting that feeling, feeling more like myself. The TKO started with a big body kick, then an overhand right coming off the kick that landed flush. Then, I landed a pretty good leg kick, and he was definitely stunned, and after that I jumped in with a flying knee that dropped him.
What are your short-term goals, and what are you doing to help you get there?
I definitely want to take this next fight this weekend. I want to bring the belt home. That’s goal number one. After that, I’m pretty sure my next fight will be either in June or July. I’ll keep training, getting more tattoos, that’s another one of my goals, finishing my sleeve and getting a side piece. After that, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be out in California training over the summer. It’s the furthest that I’ve ever been from home and away from my parents. That’s a little scary, honestly.
“I definitely want to take this next fight this weekend. I want to bring the belt home. That’s goal number one.”Langley on his short-term goals.
Where will you be training in California?
I’ll be training in Sacramento at Team Alpha Male. I got invited to go there. The offer definitely means a lot, because I’m an amateur, and that’s not a normal thing for amateurs to get.
Who are you most excited about getting to train with out there?
Uriah Faber, he’s an entertaining fighter. He does some crazy stuff, maybe getting to see that in person. I’ve never met a big-time UFC fighter, but Uriah Faber is a pretty big name. Maybe Cody Garbrandt, too!
Let’s say it’s fight day. How does it begin for you? What do you do leading up to the fight, and what’s going through your mind?
I guess I’ll start in the morning. I wake up, eat breakfast, all that normal stuff. I go about my day, watch videos on my phone, basically just chill. I don’t get nervous. I’m not stressing or anything, I snack, I eat. I usually go to the arcade and play around there a few hours beforehand. I like to go and see the kids who are coming to watch me fight, interact with them and their parents.
Whenever I arrive, I watch a couple of the fights when the event starts. I get my hands wrapped about five fights before mine. After I get my hands wrapped, I go out there, watch a few more fights. And, about three fights before mine, I go to the back and start loosening up, warming up. I do all of the normal routines, and my coaches tell me everything that I need to be doing. After that, I’m warmed up, and ready to go out there and have some fun.
What has been the highest point of your career thus far?
Honestly, I don’t know how to answer this. I guess, whenever I won the belt, that was the highest point in my career. I mean, winning your first belt, there’s a feeling to that. It was amazing. It was unreal. It kind of felt like a dream. I never thought that, being a kid that was bullied in school, always doing something wrong, having someone hating on me, that I would become a champion. It’s crazy!
“I never thought that, being a kid that was bullied in school, always doing something wrong, having someone hating on me, that I would become a champion. It’s crazy!”
How about the lowest?
The night before my last fight was definitely the lowest point in my career. I had the flu before the week of my weight cut with a 103 degree fever. So, I broke the fever, and started feeling better. But, when I started cutting all that weight, I guess the flu never really left my body, and when I started replenishing my body, I threw everything up, food, water, I couldn’t hold anything in my body. I started getting stomach cramps and literally felt like I was going to die.
That was the lowest point for me. Especially knowing all of the people who bought tickets to come and see me fight, I kind of felt like a bad guy for doing that. But, everybody that came out for the fight was very supportive. Knowing that there are people out there that love me, not just as a fighter, but as someone to look up to, it made me feel so much better.
Obviously you’ve got a big fight coming up this weekend. Do you have anything else that you’d like to plug? Would you like to shout-out your school or coaches?
I’d like to shout-out Chris Pham and Rami Patin for just being my main coaches, pushing me to be a better person and a better fighter. Not only just being my coaches, but the relationship that I’ve built with those people over my years of training has grown past the training aspect. These guys would do anything for me, and they care about me and they love me, and I love them too! I’ve made a bond with my coaches, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better.
Also, I’d like to shout-out my sponsors, AllTech Services and Solutions, Destiny Tattoos, Professional Dental Partners and Dr. Michael Lala.
And, of course I’d like to shout-out my parents for always having my back, and driving me everywhere that I’ve needed to go and for being supportive. They’ve done so much for my training, and they do everything that they can to keep me happy.
Make sure to catch Joshua “Flash” Langley take on Lachlan Kritsonis this Saturday, March 30th, at Empire Fighting Championship 1, in Biloxi, Mississippi. I’ll be there covering the event, and I will have photographs and a full fight recap published shortly after.