Monday, February 20, 2012

Ryan Madigan Interview


If you attend NAAFS fights you have surely see Ryan Madigan in the corner of the Evolve fighters. But did you know that Ryan is not only an excellent coach, but is a very accomplished kickboxer boasting a 26-6 record, and also has some MMA experience including NAAFS gold and has fought in the UFC? On March 16th Ryan will have a kickboxing fight against Rigel Balsamico at Madison Square Garden. A bus trip is being organized to go to the fight, to find out more email Ryan, at ryan@ryanthelion.com

Q: What initially got you interested in Muay Thai?
A: It's a pretty funny story. Ever since second grade, the biggest influence is movies, Bruce Lee, Jean Claude Van Damm movies. Pretty much since second grade, I always said I was gonna grow up and be a professional kickboxer.

Q: You have accomplished a lot in the sport, including a 26-6 record. Looking back at it all, is there something you would call a career highlight?
A: I would have to say as far as kickboxing and Muay Thai, my career highlight is when I fought for the Chuck Norris World Combat League. They were some of the biggest crowds, over six thousand people, and getting to meet and talk to and have dinner with Chuck Norris is a pretty great honor. Its pretty hard to top that.

Q: You also have done MMA. Usually when I ask a kickboxer they say they tried MMA because there is more money to make. Is that the case with you?
A: Yeah, I would have to say there is definitely more money in MMA and just the activity level. There is not much kickboxing and Muay Thai, its hard to stay busy. When I really jumped into MMA, the Chuck Norris league had just started, they had the first event and then put us on hold for a while. So I jumped into MMA to stay busy and liked it at first. I was never real fond of the ground game, but I did it to stay active and don't have any regrets.

Q: Coming from kickboxing, how hard was it to adjust to the ground game?
A: It was different. The wear and tear on your body is different, getting everything twisted and stretched. But in MMA it is very important.

Q: Would another MMA fight ever interest you?
A: Probably not. At my age and where I am...I thought about it fro awhile and got active in the gym, but its a lot of juggling, training all aspects of it, and it takes a lot of time training. I was losing focus on my guys. I can still kickbox and train a lot, and still have time to focus on my guys at the gym. That is becoming more important in my life, making sure they do well and succeed.

Q: Is it hard to balance training for your own fight and working with people to get them ready for fights?
A: Yeah it somewhat is. In preparation for my fights, I take time away and travel to go train. This weekend is a good example. Three of my guys fight this weekend, and usually I am there to corner them. I have been there for their training but unfortunately will miss cornering my guys. But I am lucky I can put my coach Lorenzo Scott in my place, and who better to have hen they guy who coached me. So they get the best of both worlds, but yeah it can be tough.

Q: Whats bigger for you, your own success in a fight or someone you coach winning a fight doing something you have taught them?
A: You know, it is definitely different, both aspects for sure. It is a different experience. You get the thrill of riding the roller coaster when you are competing as opposed to watching someone ride the roller coaster. Its two different thrills. I love the training aspect up to a fight, feeling good about everything, and the thrill of walking out and fighting. Of course when I get a win I feel proud. On the other hand, when my guys win, its more like a proud parent. You are glad he succeeded and how hard he worked. Its two different things, but feel great on both ends for sure.

Q: March 16h you are fighting Rigel Balsamico. Do you know a lot about him?
A: Not a ton. I know he has trained in Thailand and fought over seas. He is originally from Pittsburgh. He is from Cool Hearts Muay Thai, and I believe they have an affiliate in Pittsburgh. Very traditional Muay Thai. We were supposed to fight one other time. It was after a knee surgery and the organization didn't let me fight with knee supports, so we didn't fight. I feel that I owe him the fight. He is a tough guy, very traditional style. I expect him to come forward and try and press the action. It will be an interesting fight for sure.

Q: Do you like to do a lot of studying on an opponent?
A: I do just enough to see what they do most often, so I am ready to counter or defend that. But I believe people switch their game plan so much, and its hard to tell what fighter you will get, so its hard to do a lot, but you need the basic idea of how he moves and what he does most often. I don't like to over analyze or study.

Q: For this fight, is their a key for you to winning?
A: I think I have to be prepared for him coming forward. I am sure he will throw a lot of leg kicks. Its the first event at Madison Square Garden, so for an event of that magnitude, keeping myself relaxed and ready is probably the key element.

Q: How exciting is it to fight at Madison Square Garden?
A: It's definitely very exciting. I am interested to see the crowd, if it will be a bigger crowd than the Chuck Norris World Combat League crowd. Just being at the first event at a venue like that is awesome and I appreciate them making me part of it and as of now having me listed as the main event.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: Its tough to say a prediction. I definitely see me winning the fight and probably getting the better of it before the end of the fight. He is a tough guy and might be hard to take out, but I see me getting my way as the fight goes on.

Q: For an MMA fan reading this who may not have watched kickboxing before, why would they enjoy it?
A: Well, I would say especially if they are an upcoming fighter, the level of striking, and I think a lot of Mauy Thai guys will say, most MMA fighters need to work on their striking. You can do that by watching the top Muay Thai fighters. Promotions like It's Showtime, K-1, which doesn't seem to be around too much anymore, but overseas promotions, and guys like Andy Sower, John Wayne Parr, Giorgio Petrosyan, those are the guys they should be watching to help their striking skills.

Q: For an amateur MMA fighter, would you recommend they at least one try kickboxing?
A: Yeah totally. I am sure its not a secret about Evolve, but all our guys, we really push them to do not only kickboxing but grappling as well before they get in the cage. So some of our guys before they ever get in the cage have done several kickboxing fights or grappling tournaments and build up experience. Learning the techniques and getting rid of the jitters helps to.

Q: Before we finish, anyone youw ant to thank?
A: Yeah, my whole team at Evolve MMA, John Cook for giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do, my assistant instructor here, Steve Traczyk, and my mentor and coach Lorenzo Scott.

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