Justin Robbins, a Sacred Heart-Griffin wrestler turned mixed-martial arts fighter who appeared on the cover of IT last June, has punched up efforts to supply Springfield with a new brand of competitors.
On April 15 he opened Robbins Mixed Martial Arts at the corner of Jefferson and
Veterans Parkway. The new gym, which specializes in wrestling, jiu-jitsu,
boxing and kickboxing, has attracted nearly 40 members. A few are amateur
fighters, but Robbins says he doesn’t just run a fight school.
He teaches wrestling and MMA classes, while his other coaches, Mark Commean and Ryan Molohon, focus on jiu-jitsu and strength and conditioning for both adults and children. The gym also offers personal training sessions and a morning Cardio Kick Mix class for women. A summer wrestling camp, for kids in first through the 12th grade, starts in June.
“Not everyone wants to come to a gym to get punched in the face,” Robbins quips.
Robbins lives in Springfield with his wife and two young daughters, but used to travel to Granite City five days a week to train with world-famous ultimate fighter Matt Hughes at the Hughes Intensive Training Squad [see “Blood, sweat and cheers,” June 19, 2008]. He decided, after losing three fights in a row and missing his family, that he needed to spend more time at home.
He left the H.I.T. Squad and decided to open his own gym. A group of fellow fighters had been training in his basement for a couple of months, so he recruited an immediate member base. His 13-7-1 fight record and MMA reputation have also helped draw new members.
“You definitely have to have the credentials,” Robbins says. “You can’t just be a guy who opens a gym. You have to be a guy that has a good background
in the sport and has the name to bring people to train at the gym.”
Robbins’ next fight is on June 20 in Indianapolis. He’ll move down a weight class, debuting in the 125-pound, or flyweight, division.
“I think it’s going to be really good for me,” he says.
Contact Amanda Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org.