MICHAEL HEINS

Assistant Instructor

 

Michael started training at Stafford MMA in October of  2012 at the age of 13.​ In 2016 Michael started to help instruct kids classes  Micahel received his Blue belt in BJJ under Professor Fernando Sarmento in 2016.  In February of 2017 Michael received his Black belt in MMA under Liam Kerrigan, chief instructor at Stafford MMA. Michael is constantly competing in local BJJ tournaments representing our team!


FERNANDO "Cabeca" SARMENTO JR

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor

4th Degree BJJ Black Belt

 

Fernando Sarmento began his training in 1987 in Salvador Bahia, Brazil. In 1990, he moved to Rio where he trained in many Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Judo schools. In 1997, Fernando came to the United States and taught at the Machado academy under the tutelage of Rigan Machado. He was awarded his Brown Belt in 1998 from Nilton Ferreira and his Black Belt in November of 2001. Nilton Ferreira's Academy is located in Salvador, Brazil.  Fernando is both a Brazilian State and National Champion.  Fernando also won the 2005 NAGA Instructor of the Year award. 


LIAM KERRIGAN

Owner & Chief Instructor

 BJJ 1st Degree Black Belt under Fernando 'Cabeca' Sarmento Jr.

 ​Senior Full Instructor under the International Martial Arts & Boxing Academy (IMB)


Liam Kerrigan began his training at Tong Dragon MMA in Bayville in 1995. His training began with and continues to be in submission grappling,    Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Doce Pares Escrima.   In 1999 is when he began competing in submission grappling tournaments throughout the Northeast.  Liam has never stopped competing since. He has competed countless times in all of the events for the North American Grappling Association (NAGA), Grapplers Quest, and any other tournament he can get too. In 2003 Liam competed in the First Annual No Gi Pan Am Tournament in California. He placed first and became a Pan Am Champion at age 14! Liam began to train with BJJ instructor Fernando "Cabeça" Sarmento Jr. in 2002 when Fernando came to Tong Dragon.  In April of 2005 Liam traveled back out to California to compete in the 2005

BJJ Pan American Games. He won the Gold for his dvision at age 16!


 In 2007 Liam began his amateur fighting career. He ended his amateur career where he finished at 5-1-1 in amateur MMA, 1-1 amateur boxing, and 2-0 amateur Muay Thai. He also has won 2 Amateur MMA 159lb Championship titles. Liam received his purple belt in September of 2007 from Professor Sarmento. Liam has also traveled to Brasil with the academy to train in our Annual Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Summer Camp at Nilton Ferreira's Gracie Baha Academy in Salvador, Bahia.  In September 2009 Mr. Kerrigan went Pro for MMA in Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat. He currently holds a  pro MMA record of 3-2-1.  Mr. Kerrigan has changed his role playing from being the fighter to a referee.  Mr. Kerrigan is a Referee for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.  In 2010 he received his brown belt in BJJ in Professor Nilton Ferrierra's Academy in Salvador, Brasil from Professor Sarmento.  2 years later, Liam opened Stafford Mixed Martial Arts! On October 18, 2014, Liam was promoted to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt under Professor Fernando Sarmento Jr. 


MELISSA KERRIGAN

Co-Owner & Instructor

BJJ Brown Belt

 

Melissa began her training in September of 2001 at her parents school, Fatjo's Mixed Martial Arts.  In 2005 is when Melissa starting helping out with kids classes.  Melissa received her 1st Degree Black Belt in Mixed Martial Arts from Jerry Fatjo is August of 2006.  In September of 2007 Melissa received her Blue belt in BJJ under Professor Fernando Sarmento Jr.   Melissa has competed in many grappling tournaments on the east coast from the time she began her training.  In February of 2013, Melissa received her Purple belt in BJJ.  In October of 2015 Melissa received her 2nd Degree Black Belt in MMA under Liam Kerrigan. At the July 2016 IBJJF NY International Open, Melissa placed 2nd in her light feather weight Purple belt  division.  In December of 2016, Melissa was able to attend the teams annual BJJ training camp at Nilton Ferreira's school in Salvador, Brasil.  The following year, Melissa earned her Brown belt in BJJ in October of 2017. 


Stafford Mixed Martial Arts began in September of 2012. Stafford MMA began with the strict guidelines and curriculum provided by the International Martial Arts & Boxing Academy. The I.M.B. academy originated with former Bruce Lee student, Sifu Richard Bustillo in 1975. The curriculum of the I.M.B. that continued at Stafford MMA includes Muay Thai Kickboxing, Western Boxing, Doces Pares Escrima, and Jeet Kune Do.  Also Stafford MMA instructor and founder Liam Kerrigan was and still is a student of Ajarn Phil Nurse. With these legendary pillars of the martial arts community as mentors, Liam Kerrigan followed their guidelines for his students at Stafford MMA.    Stafford MMA offers three primary programs; Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts.   With the great history and traditions of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the modern approach of Mixed Martial Arts, Stafford MMA is a premier academy in New Jersey. We are committed to providing quality martial arts instruction to each and every student.  We place a strong emphasis on discipline and respect.  Learning is the key to all our work.  Our teaching is done as if we were working with our own family! 


NICK STECKLER

Assistant Instructor

 

Nick started training at Stafford MMA in January of  2013 at the age of 15. Starting out in our teen program, Nick quickly advanced into our adult program.  He has competed at various NAGA and NJBJJF tournaments in the tri-state area.  In 2015 Nick started to help instruct kids classes. Nick also received his Blue belt in BJJ under Professor Fernando Sarmento in 2015. In December of 2015, Nick was able to attend the teams annual BJJ training camp at Nilton Ferreira's academy in Salvador, Brasil. In 2016 Nick gained stand up martial arts experience as he sparred in an exhibition match. In February of 2017 Nick received his Black belt in MMA under Liam Kerrigan, chief instructor at Stafford MMA. 

Meet Our Instructors

About Our History

JEREMY RAYMOND

Assistant Instructor

 

Jeremy started training at Stafford MMA in July of  2014 at the age of 13.​ In 2016 Jeremy started to help instruct kids classes  Jeremy is a 2nd degree Brown belt in our MMA program and a 3 stripe White belt under Professor Fernando Sarmento Jr.  Jeremy is constantly representing his team at local BJJ tournaments.