Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nick Halkides Interview

Photo Credit: Hex Linc Photography

My list of favorite fighters to watch would not be complete without Nick Halkides. Although young in his career, he has show himself to be well-rounded and entertaining. On October 20th he will step into the cage at NAAFS Caged Vengeance 12 in the semi-finals for the 185 pound title against Tony DiPiero, an experienced fighter with some legit skill. This will be Halkides toughest test to date and a win will definitely make a statement.

Q: I wanna start out with a little background, can you talk about how you got interested in training for the sport?
A: I played football since I was a little kid. After high school I was going to play college ball for my school but decided to focus on my grades. Eventually I needed something in my life again. I took up Jiu-Jitsu at Dudu Barros Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Fairlawn, Ohio. Eventually after a couple years I felt I needed something else. I stumbled upon an advertisement for Evolve, one of their first commercials. I tried it out and fell in love instantly and it has been a work in progress.

Q: When you started training was there any intention to fight?
A: There was some intention. I wasn't so sure, but always had a feeling I would get involved in it. Especially after meeting all the fighters at Evolve and dealing with them everyday, I felt I had to. After my first fight, I was like "this is for me, I wanna do this" haha.

Q: You are coming off a first round win over Kevin Bailey, how happy were you with your performance?
A: I was ecstatic. In my first fight I demonstrated I had boxing ability but never had an opportunity to use my ground game. After the second fight, which I fought injured, and my luck, I fought a great wrestler, I felt I had to prove myself by my third fight that I do have a ground game to show the world, that my Jiu-Jitsu is here and is always gonna be there.

Q: This fight is with Tony DiPiero, what do you know about him?
A: I know his entire coaching staff and teammates very well, they cross-train a lot with Evolve, I have nothing but respect for Rising Dragon. He is a tough fighter, very experienced. I have to bring my "A" game, mix it up, giving him a little bit of everything I got.

Q: His last fight was the same night as yours, he beat John Burbol, did you see that fight?
A: I did.

Q: What did you think of his performance?
A: I thought he did well. I figured he would be more of a kick-boxer, but from what I saw from his fight, if anything he relies on grappling and standing against the cage. He has heavy hands. Nothing I shouldn't be able to handle.

Q: You mentioned his experience, he has thirteen fights, does that experience worry you in any way?
A: No, it doesn't worry me. Once the cage door shuts, everything changes. Like Mike Tyson used to say, "Everyone has a game-plan till they get punched in the face".

Q: He has a win over your teammate Steve Burton, has Steve helped you get ready for him?
A: Oh yeah! I've been doing a lot of rolling, grappling, cage work, with Steve Burton. His insight helps and I truly respect and thank him for all the help he has given me leading up to this fight.

Q: You have several teammates fighting that night, does it help you to have several teammates getting ready at the same time?
A: Of course it does! When you train as much as I train, every day, you start to get tired, feel weak, you really tax your body. Having six other teammates fighting on the same day, everyone is there every day pushing each other, helping you get through whatever obstacle is in your way. I love having so many teammates preparing with me and it benefits me a lot.

Q: With so many people from Evolve fighting, you will have a big crowd support, does that motivate you?
A: Oh Yeah! A lot of tickets we sell are a lot of members, not necessarily fighters, just people there training every day and see you every day. It motivates me, they see how hard I work every day. I have to go out there and show them what I am made of.

Q: What does it say about Evolve that so many guys are in the semi-finals?
A: It shows that we have a world class staff. We have every aspect covered. Kickboxing we have Ryan Madigan there, we have Mike Riedel for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and recently we added Dave Rella an Ohio State champion wrestler to the mix. It benefits all of us, it really makes a difference.

Q: Not to look past Tony, but what would the title mean to you?
A: It would be another step forward in hopefully a long illustrious career for me. The way I look at it, it is step one to success. You gotta get through step one to continue.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I don't like to make predictions, but I will say there is gonna be fireworks. You are gonna see me at my best.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I want to thank all my family and friends for their support. My coaches at Evolve, Ryan Madigan, John Cook, Dave Rella and Mike Riedel, and a very big thank you to Steve Traczyk for the countless hours of help with my boxing, and Dudu Barros Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy and Eduardo Barros.

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