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From rags to riches: how martial arts helped shape BRAVE CF 81's Erko Jun into a superstar worldwide

Mar 11, 2024

The world of MMA is rich with men and women displaying a grand array of skills but for most, these talents are not given but rather the hard-earned product of the trials and tribulations they have had to endure in their life: The story of BRAVE CF 81 headliner Erko Jun is no different.
Born in 1990 amidst the chaos of war-torn Bosnia, Erko's life began on uncertain ground. Fleeing the ravages of conflict, he spent the early years of his life in a German refugee camp before settling in Belgium with his family. It was there that Erko Jun’s indomitable spirit first began to take shape.
While he was lucky enough to escape war-torn Bosnia with both his parents, Erko’s childhood and teenage years were not all about sunshine and rainbows. With things at home not going that well, he found himself constantly in scuffles in the streets. 
Amidst all this chaos, Jun found solace in one thing – Martial Arts. He started with Taekwondo and Kickboxing and martial arts training presented itself as a saving outlet for Erko to channel his pent-up frustration with life. When everything started to settle down for Erko, tragedy struck again.
He suffered a devastating leg-injury which paralysed his leg from the knee down and the doctor's recommendation pushed him to bodybuilding out of necessity.
Young Erko trained to overcome his injuries and, in the process, “fell in love with the iron” in his own words. Having already had his life uprooted once at a young age, he was compelled to undergo that experience again following the divorce of his parents.
He went on to live with his mother in a small rat-infested apartment with scarce furniture and during the rehab of his leg injury, another turning point of his life happened: he found the mentor he needed in Bill Richardson, an old-school legend who played a crucial role in his future.
Under Bill's tutelage, Erko learned the basics of transforming his body, leaving him stunned at the quick and magnificent physical progression. Bill pushed Jun to take his long-standing reputation as the ‘big bad boy’ from out in the world and channel it into the gym which was a humbling and key turning point.
“Everybody has tough moments in their life, I think these tough moments were the moments that made me the person who I am now, made me build my character,” Erko Jun said when recalling the tough phase that he had to go through.
Erko credits his mother for bringing structure to his life when she found a job for him in the fitness industry, Eventually, he started earning more through personal training and along with his mother moved to a new house with furniture and no rats.
“I wanna make my mother proud,” says Erko. 
With his mother's unwavering support and a newfound sense of purpose, Erko embarked on a journey that would take him from the world of bodybuilding to the glitz and glamour of the modelling industry. Yet, amidst the bright lights and celebrity status, his heart yearned for something more—a return to his roots, a rekindling of his passion for combat sports.
A trip to Germany to meetup with his friend back in 2018 proved to be the tipping point. Erko ended up making his MMA debut in front of a huge crowd and after this, there was no turning back.
“You know everything in life, there will be ups and downs. Doors will close but there will be new doors that open as long as you are open to it. You need to believe it because if you put negative energy on you, you will have a negative life.”
Since then, he has amassed a very impressive 7-2 record in MMA and has established himself as one of the biggest names in European MMA. Eyes from around the world were on him at BRAVE CF 70 as well when he knocked out Marko Drmonjic to announce his arrival in the organization. And now, Erko is all set to write the next chapter in his journey with BRAVE Combat Federation at BRAVE CF 81 where he will fight Mohammed Said Maalem in the main event. 
This new opportunity could very well be another turning point for Jun, who could be on the path to greatness in yet another field. A win over former title contender Said Maalem makes him a strong candidate for a world title shot. A championship title under the most global MMA organization in the world would be the achievement of his lifetime. 
For Erko, the journey has been long and arduous, filled with trials and tribulations. But through it all, Erko Jun has emerged victorious, a true testament to the spirit of martial arts. 

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