Stonnie (Ryan's skill coach, Pro MMA Fighter), Ryan and I relaxed backstage as we waited for the fight. We were confident as we knew we had done everything we could to prepare for the fight. Ryan is a coach's dream come true as he displays a warrior's work ethic and drive. He is an auto mechanic who works on cars 12-14 hours per day and trains 2-3 hours per day 6 days a week.
On top of all of this he has extraordinary athletic ability. His body awareness, quickness and ability to adapt to varying circumstances are as good as anyone's I have ever seen. He displays a strong confidence in himself as well. When an athlete knows he has put in the work and done everything his coaches have told him, he can be confident. Whether he wins or loses he can hold his head high.
Once all the fighters and their teams were gathered backstage the events took place in the following order: weigh ins, physicals, rules meeting and fight card lineup. We were the seventh fight on the card. In regards to our opponent he had already had a few fights, was very athletic and was a good grappler.
Everyone backstage was relaxed and quiet until the show began and the music started blurring. Once the adrenaline started pumping some guys began hitting the pads, some jumping rope, some grappling and one even break dancing (our opponent).
Ryan hit the mitts a couple of minutes and worked on some grappling. As fight time became closer Ryan's confidence seemed to grow. A few guys approached me and said your guy looks tough. I agreed as he appeared lean, muscular, possessed the stare of a stone cold killer and displayed cat-like quickness as he hit the mitts and grappled.
The countdown ended; it was time for war. Ryan went out aggressive, throwing a lead right hand that missed by a hair. He drove his opponent into the cage. They ended up on the ground with Ryan in his opponent's guard. This is exactly what his opponent was looking for. Ryan dropped a couple of blows (little effect) while they were on the ground. He wrapped up Ryan's right arm as he was attempting a shoulder lock.
Ryan was in danger of being submitted. He remained calm and lifted his opponent off the ground. Ryan pushed him into the cage and threw a couple of viscous body shots which were effective. These blows resulted in his opponent turning his back and extending his body. Ryan snatched his neck, took him to the ground and ended the fight with a rear-naked choke. The fight ended 92 seconds into the first round.
Backstage after the fight his opponent congratulated him and asked about his conditioning program. He told Ryan that he was amazingly quick and powerful. Ryan referred him to me in regards to questions about his conditioning regimen. I began explaining to him specific concepts of conditioning.
Next, he began to give me detailed information concerning his training regimen. His training efforts like so many athletes were detrimental to his performance. Another case of a kid with tremendous ability being led down the wrong pathway in regards to physical enhancement. Hopefully in the future I will be able to work with him and steer him the right way.
In the next few weeks I will give readers an in-depth look at Ryan's training regimen as he prepared for his debut cage fight.