We caught up with MMA star Luke "Cool Hand" Sanders. Although he is a Nashville native, he trains right here in our neck of the woods, at the MMA lab in Glendale AZ, just a few miles away from our warehouse. He stopped by before his most recent RFA fight on AXS tv, picked out some shades and chatted with us about fighting, Nashville and more. He's a great guy, is still undefeated professionally, and is going to go far in this sport!
JS: What got you started in MMA?
I've always been a fighter; my whole life. In high school, I took up wrestling to help keep me focused and on the straight and narrow. After high school, I got into boxing and then did some Tough Man contests, at the urging of friends. I watched a lot of Mma on TV and knew I could beat these guys, so I decided to do just that. Instead of being the guy sitting on his coach talking about how I could beat these guys, I decided to show everyone.
JS: You’re from Nashville, but train out of MMALab in Glendale for fight prep. What did they bring to the table for you, and will you be back there for your next fight?
Nashville Mma is where I started training. They're a great gym and they have really gave me the solid base and foundation it took to be successful. Those guys have been great to me and that's why I still call that home. The Lab, however, brings a level of professionalism to training that is hard to come by. Training and fight camps become so much easier when everything and everybody you need, is under one roof. It really makes a huge difference. Not to mention, the extra push you get from all the studs at The Lab. It's a true team that pushes you to your limits. Right now, there is no reason for me to go anywhere else.
(Luke sporting the "Johnny" Polarized sunglasses from Johnnyshades)
JS: Who’s your favorite fighter in the sport today?
I'm a southpaw, so I really enjoy watching Robbie Lawler. Conor McGregor is a character, so I really like watching the show he puts on.
JS: You have dominated the sport so far with a 10-0 record, undefeated in the RFA bantamweight. What can we expect from Luke Sanders in the year ahead?
I'm undefeated as a featherweight and Bantamweight. 7-0 at 145 and 3-0 at 135. I've fought in the RFA at both weightclasses. I've fought live on AXS TV six times, two of which were World Title fights for the RFA. I plan on riding the success Ive had, straight to becoming the face of one of the larger promotions. I plan on taking over wherever I'm fighting; whether that be Spike TV, Fox Sports, or Pay Per View! People who have seen me fight, always walk away wanting to see me fight again. I'm savage in there! Me with more gold belts, thats what you're gonna see.
JS: You are known for wearing some cool shades during your weigh-ins, and are nicknamed “Cool Hand” How did you get the nickname, and what’s the story with the shades?
My parents are major hippies and they called me Cool Hand Luke as a boy; along their friends and other family members. Over the last couple years, other people started calling me that again; like Benson Henderson's wife Maria (who is a beast BJJ World Champ!). The shades are just dope. I love my Johnny Shades! Normally I wouldn't wear them indoors, but when we're fist fighting, it's MY house, so I'll do what I want!
JS: Anything else you would like to share with fight fans about “Cool Hand” Luke Sanders?
If you think I'm good now, just wait. You haven't seen my full potential. I'm just getting started!
(Luke with Johnnyshades owner Jeff Wittmeier)
We hope to see a lot more of Luke in the coming months and years, and wish him the best in his MMA journey!
Keep rocking the JohnnyShades!