Private school rugby star turned youth mentor closes in on MMA title shot – Stuff.co.nz


Ex King's old boy John Brewin now turned professional MMA fighter is back living on campus as he aims for a shot at the Brave lightweight title.

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Ex King’s old boy John Brewin now turned professional MMA fighter is back living on campus as he aims for a shot at the Brave lightweight title.

Rising Kiwi MMA star John ‘Trouble’ Brewin has come full circle in his pursuit of MMA glory.

Plenty of Kiwi kids grow up wanting to be pro rugby players, but few have the talent to actually get there.

Even fewer have the talent, but choose another path.

As a 1XV star at one of Auckland’s most prestigious rugby schools, Kings College, Brewin had plenty of options when he graduated.

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But as he ramps up preparations for his next clash in young MMA promotion Brave CF, the 26-year-old Aucklander has no regrets about choosing the gloves over the boots.

Brewin trains out of CKB, with the likes of UFC star Dan Hooker.

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Brewin trains out of CKB, with the likes of UFC star Dan Hooker.

“Playing 1XV rugby in Auckland was awesome, but honestly there’s nothing that compares to the feeling of winning a fight, for me the career choice was easy,” he said.

Brewin is quickly climbing the lightweight ranks in Brave CF and has his sights set on a match-up with fellow rising star Sam Patterson, in August.

His preparation for that fight is taking place in Auckland, where he trains at famed MMA gym City Kick-boxing (CKB).

CKB is home to the likes of UFC stars Kai Kara-France, Dan Hooker and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Brewin lives and breathes fighting, but hasn’t completely left the rugby world behind either.

Brewin says nothing, not even 1XV glory, can match the feeling of winning a pro fight.

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Brewin says nothing, not even 1XV glory, can match the feeling of winning a pro fight.

In fact, he’s still living and working on campus at Kings – and keeps a close eye on the 1XV side too.

“It’s a bit of a funny set up I suppose, I loved my time here as a student and it’s kind of cool to go full circle now,” he said.

“My old man works here as a teacher and I tutor some of the boys, open the gym up for them and that. It’s cool to still be connected to the school.”

After school Brewin attended Auckland University, undertaking a bachelor’s degree in Maori studies and Criminology before going on to work as a youth mentor.

But fighting always called to him.

Scrappy on the field during his playing days, Brewin was a rangy flanker who admittedly got by on effort rather than natural ability.

And it’s that work ethic that has paid off in the world of MMA, winning five of his last six fights and closing in on potentially bringing another world title belt into CKB.

Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker slugged it out in a five round war recently, in Las Vegas.

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Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker slugged it out in a five round war recently, in Las Vegas.

“It’s been a long time since I was last in there (November 2019), I moved home so there was a few delays and then obviously Covid-19 stalled everything,” he said.

“But I’m super keen to get back in there and show what I can do, against a guy the promotion clearly have pretty big wraps on. It’s time to do my thing.

“I’m obviously not looking past Sam Patterson at all, but I have my eyes on that title for sure and a win against him puts me right there.”

Last year Brewin derailed a similar hype train, beating Cian Cowley – one of Irish superstar Conor McGregor’s team-mates and sparring partners – with a decision win.

The fight against Patterson is understood to be close to be finalised, and though the Englishman poses plenty of threats, Brewin is confident in his Auckland training.

“I can finish the fight everywhere, and we have the best coaches in the world right here (Auckland) so I’m extremely confident of course,” he said.

Brave CF is the biggest MMA promotion in the Middle East.


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