Brown belt middleweight Jimmy Harbison of Lloyd Irvin came to the 2011 Worlds with two goals in mind: get revenge on those who beat him in the past and become a world champion. He was able to achieve both.
Harbison’s first match was against Dan Schon. Schon beat Harbison at the 2009 Worlds when they were purple belts. This year, the tables were turned and Harbison took Schon out of contention with a kimura in about one minute.
His second match was against the UFC’s Nate Diaz. Harbison tapped him out with a bow and arrow choke. In his third fight, he faced Jose Carlos. “He beat me in Brazil,” Harbison said. This was a tough match for Harbison. He squeaked out a win by one advantage point.
In his fourth and final match he squared off against Eliezer Skaf of CIA Paulista. Once again, this was a rematch. “He beat me last year at the Worlds,” Harbison said. Not this year, although it was another close, tough match. Harbison won gold by one advantage point. “It was a big revenge day,” he said.
This was Harbison’s first Worlds win and he was speechless, which is not a usual occurrence for the extroverted and animated Harbison. “I don’t know how I feel yet,” he said, “but I do feel like I’ve come into my own.” It’s been a good year for him. He won the Europeans and came in first in his division and third in the absolute at the Pan and the Brazilian Nationals.
Harbison joined Lloyd Irvin’s team about 1 ½ years ago and it has changed his life. “Everything’s come together,” he said, “Master Lloyd Irvin is my life coach and my mentor. I just listen to him. It’s like I don’t even have to think, just work.”
Harbison said he rolls with him during training and he doesn’t stand a chance. “His skill is crazy,” he laughed, “He beats me and JT (Torres) like we’re little kids. He’s a great instructor. He breaks everything down perfectly. He means everything to me.”
Harbison said when he started training with Lloyd Irvin, he went underground to stay focused. He worked hard, deleted his Facebook page, and didn’t socialize with anyone. “I just stayed focused on Jiu-Jitsu. I worked hard and tried to improve. I just stayed in Master Lloyd’s system.”
Going underground seemed to help his game, along with all of his hard work and effort. At the Worlds Harbison said he took the day match by match, stayed focused, felt no pressure, and by the end of four difficult fights, he emerged victorious as a world champion. What’s next for him? “I’m bringing back my Facebook page!” he laughed.