Ep. #7 – Ty Gwerder

Ty Gwerder is a mixed martial artist who competes in Bellator’s middleweight division. The Hawaii native picked up four first round finishes to start his pro career before getting signed by Bellator.


Ty Gwerder: what’s going on here we go however it looks like it froze there for a second. So, however, how are things are with the the coronavirus, all rights? I mean I’m assuming it’s the same as it is everywhere. It’S just kind of quiet. You know you know: grocery stores is all empty and or starting to slowly fill back up, but it’s kind of famous. It is everywhere. I’M assuming everyone saying the same thing about it. Yeah I mean I’m in Canada and same sort of thing, we’re all along lockdown and everything’s closed, but the grocery stores so yeah even worse, there huh well the they locked down pretty soon laid it pretty early, like the Prime Minister, locked it down pretty much. The second in the first case, hit North America, so we uh we lucked out there, where you close the borders pretty early on, but yeah. They take it seriously like we get fined for on the street with more than five people, so like they’re, they’re cracking down on it. So I think that’s the properties, that’s how it is in Hawaii. My mom was just telling me about it. She’S, like they’re they’re. Finding people like five grand first just for being on the beach geez, I mean how can you be in Hawaii and not be on the beach yeah, exactly yeah you’re, so you’re not you’re, not in Hawaii. Now, right, you’re, uh, California, yeah. California is crazy. Right now, yeah, it’s pretty bad, like I’ve heard some people telling me stories about, like maybe it was actually told me. The other day shoes and like some guy broke up, broke a bottle in there fighting over some groceries and stabbed the dude. That’S crazy, though, welcome to America crazy times so you’re uh, you’re, you’re, training out of Vegas right at Xtreme Couture. Is that, like I’m, actually training out of CSA combats, I mean in Dublin right now, so I’m kind of back and forth. I train it over in Vegas and extreme kind of like I’m, probably there every two months or so, I’m trying to I’m trying to make way between both it’s just I’ve been trying to get a little more technique. Work that si si focuses on more than um. That extreme extreme is really good for my live rounds and I got a lot of push from the guys there. So I just been trying to pick different coaches brains. You know yeah yeah. I find them more more people, the more you can learn from right. So yeah yeah, that’s the rule of thumb, being a martial artist. You know, as he was he stopped learning. You can’t be great yeah. How was a so? How was competing in Hawaii? I think that is that the first time you’ve competed there yeah, oh well, I I did my amateur career, most of my amateur career out there and then yeah and I, since I moved away, I haven’t fought in Hawaii since that that Bellis work hard. So it was like there’s a homecoming for me. It was really cool. I wish I got to fight on the night that uh all like my friends were on. Like the big de Lima card. You know I got to fight the first night, so it wasn’t as packed house with Hawaii people, as I hoped it would be like I would have probably at least sold close to. You know five, six, seven hundred tickets, at least you know if it was the second night yeah, because it was yeah. There were two two cards right, one on like was it Friday and Saturday or Saturday, yeah Friday, Friday Saturday. So I was on the support our troops card. How did you what would you say to like cuz? The UFC has been like, for example, UFC’s been hesitant to go to Hawaii. Obviously, like guys like Holloway and Tavares have been like yeah I go, you got to go what what we’re like, if you had to give a pitch to these big organizations like Bellator UFC, what would the pitch be I’ll, just sell them on the fans shoot I Mean like it’s fighting pride in hey, it’s like iron man. You know we’re, obviously we’re much smaller, but you’re gon na expect the crowd. That’S gon na go crazy and they’re, especially if you get someone like Max and and Brad Suarez and Maki P Tolo, like all guys that I’m close with and I trained with that will pack the house and like people like oi supports their their athletes like like How a nation would support their athlete like Kylie, would support Connor. You know it’s. You can’t expect a an environment, that’s not gon. Na light up, yeah yeah I mean Hawaii’s, I mean there’s also a dream destination like I’d. It’S always been their bucket list for me. Never made the move, but yeah I mean it. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before these big work I mean obviously belt or just went, but things only a matter of time before a UFC cuz ufc’s got a handful of them right, so they could easily easily put on the coracoid like it’ll. Be like those New Zealand and Australia cards, you know like they they’re they’re, not gon na, have to spend a lot of money to fly a bunch of Hawaii fighters into Hawaii to fight an outside guy. You know, like you got. You already got Maki patola max Holloway, both already there. So that’s two flights or two travels to guys that you don’t have to pay for travels. You know yeah and I think it’s really cheap they’re from California to Hawaii. It’S not far either. So it’s not like. It’S actually quite expensive to go to Hawaii. I think that’s. That was one of the one of the issues with me fighting I wanted to do get on the belt work hard not last year, but the year before, when they did it and part of it was cuz they didn’t. They were kind of hesitant with paying for a bunch of the athletes. You know, like they kind of try to stack the card with a bunch of Hawaii guys so, and I was a Hawaii guy – that kind of didn’t make my meme for myself. Yet you know so I have to pay to fly me home, so it was like. Ah, it could be a win-lose situation, but I understand it. You know you got to make money either way: yeah yeah, what term so you’ve had I’m looking here. You only have the one amateur fight. I’Ve had multiple a lot of them wish it wasn’t sanctioned like. So I had a bunch of kickboxing matches and then like, like the only one that was sanctioned. Was I my king of the cage fight back in Vegas and it happened to be a draw, so it was hard for me to actually make my pro debut because they’re like oh, this guy has no amateur record. You know, but it’s it took me almost a year and that maybe a year and a half at least to make my pro tip you but a lot of a lot of sparring video. I came up on me and that’s what I used to kind of get. My pro debut, I mean four four wins in a row all by first-round finish, not not a bad way to start your your pro career yeah, I mean it’s. I had to kind of make a bang. You know I was waiting for it for a long time to really make that first, my debut – and I I made sure that I you know I got paid for what I was worth. You know I was like 10 and MMA you’re gon na get a good fight, so it’s worth painting yeah, you know! What’S what’s next, for you, do you uh? Do you have an idea of what, when your return is, do you have any nagging injuries that are need to be healed up, or no, I mean like any fighter. We all got injuries, but just right now, especially with the whole lockdown. It’S kind of it’s like a given in a curse. You know it’s giving me a chance to let those little bumps and bruises that hasn’t fully healed. Kind of you know take that extra 20 % to real arm to heal up or whatever it isn’t. I’M hope. I was really hoping to get on the San Jose car that they had me was in May, ninth, or something like that here. It was here in San Jose, so that wasn’t gon na happen. Since out sauce told ya. I got cancelled yeah yeah that got pushed and I was looking at end of May, but in Temecula May 29th I think they had, but they announced the the Chandler Bank Ben had Ben Henderson card June 6th in Chicago and I was like ooh. I really want to get on that, so I was really pushing for that and since this whole thing came up with the pandemic – and I was just like ah do I hear something then yeah from from a fighter’s perspective. I mean obviously a lot of guys have been saying I’ll fight. It doesn’t matter from a fighter’s perspective water. What some of the things you have to consider I mean obviously the paydays online, like anyone would take it to payday, but training is not gonna be as great as it would be. What would it take? I guess from a fighter’s perspective to say you know what yeah I’ll fight or is it just I’m a fighter I’ll? Do it doesn’t matter it’s? It goes both ways like I’m one of those guys as well. That I’d be like. Oh, like I made my for my four fights of my since I started Pro like, I haven’t, had a full camp. Yet you know all my fights were on three and a half four and a half weeks notice, and I like to start at six weeks, but I’m also one of those people. I stay ready as much as I can year-round so that if something comes up and they’re like hey, you want to fight next weekend, I’m like yeah we’re good. Let’S go like I’m down, I’m always down, I’m always down for a paycheck and I’m always on first ground. I’M not gon na really back down. But that’s it’s also one of those things where you got ta, listen to your coaches and your management, like they tell you. That’S you shouldn’t take this white first. Whatever reason it is, you should listen, you know because they care about you, yeah. Absolutely. If you had one fight, I mean obviously you’ve had four fights that were all impressive. I watched the one against Marco Sanchez that head kick was beautiful. Is there one that you’re like if you’re looking at like? If someone said I, you know, I’m not really familiar with them. What what fight should you well fight? Would you recommend they watch? Take it an idea of your style, the way you fight, I would say it was my last fight that body kick against. She forgot name re like Mike Jones, Mike Mike Jones yeah. I would say that would be the fight that if you really want to watch me, that would be the one because it will one that was my longest fight to date. I thought I was gon na going there and probably finish to fight a lot quicker. To be honest, I remember probably after I landed the first couple good shots actually, when I rocked him with that Superman punch in the beginning that hard one too and then he he didn’t go down. I was like like hey, I might actually be in for a scrap today. You know like he my whole facial expression. If you was there to see the fight like up close, like my corner there, they see my look on my face. Go from Lulu. It actually might have a scrap tonight, you know, and that was one of those I was actually happy because I kind of went in there. I was like I’m gon na finish this quick and then sure enough, like I think it was about a minute after I thought that I was. I finished the fight, but it it’s. You can see a difference in how I can change tempo and bombs to just peppering there and finding my openings and sure enough. I found opening as soon as I got patient. I think that’s the the one. The one thing I like most about Hawaiian fighters, like guys, for example, like you like max Holloway, like Brad Tavares like Yancey. It’S always just tough. You know, anytime. If you know, if your fighter and any of the you have a Hawaiian fight or opposite you, you know you’re in for a rough night, it’s not gon na and that’s if you’re selling Hawaii, if you’re trying to sell Hawaii to a big organization. It’S like you know: you’re gon na have a full night of bang banging fights it’s not gon na, be you know, they’re not tapping out they’re, not gon na you’re in fur for Wars. Every time you see a Hawaiian fight, BJ Penn is a great example of it. Like yeah, you know he said that he set the tone and I think all Hawaiian fighters have kind of picked up and kind of trying to make him proud and that in that sense, where they’re all tough, I have yet to see Hawaiian fighter. Not that’s, not tough yeah, so it’s it’s like it’s that warrior mindset. We all have. You know like growing up. It was like our parents, didn’t I wouldn’t say most parents or any parents. I came across never was like you better, not get into fights or like like calling us was easy, it would be out, then we got called was ease if, if we didn’t want to fight you know like and to us, it was the one thing about. Hoyt is every once everybody wants to be chief, so it’s like it was you you scrap or you’re, not you’re, not down you’re, not a warrior. You know, and but I’ve had a lot of street fights because I always kind of in the back. Oh man, I was like I’m not gonna bow down to this guy. You know, and we kind of grew up with that mentality, so going into the cage and actually being able to do it professionally and get paid for it. It’S like it’s. It’S like a whole, a boy’s dream come true. You get to get paid to be the chief. You know it’s it’s you get paid to. Do you you’d, be doing the exact same thing, even without a paycheck so may as well get yeah yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t say, being a street fighter. If I have kids, I’m like hey stay away from street fights, please you know, but it’s it’s kind of how we grew up. It’S the mentality we kind of you got. We want to be strong. We want to represent Hawaii in with that fighter mindset and that’s kind of how we do it. First BJ, you know yeah what um, I guess, what kind of went through your parents mind when you’re like you know, I want to be a cage fighter. I can’t imagine I mean as a Canadian, you know I mean I have Spanish parents, but I can’t imagine if I up to them saying you know what I think, I’m just gon na fight I feel like I’d be kicked out like I don’t think so. I guess how did they take it and what would you recommend are like parents, I guess whose kids have an interest in in martial arts um, I would say like well my mom. She kind of she didn’t approve of me. Wait back that up. Actually, I started training with my cousin’s a couple of times and I came home with the black black eye, maybe two or three times in the first month. You know like as soon as it came, went away. It came back. My mom was like, oh, why are you training with your friends and what do you want to do this? Like? I didn’t even ask, I actually just started training and it was kind of fun. It was one of those things I did on the side of football and I was shaping stuff, and so my mom really kind of never said no or she said you know she didn’t really support, or whatever was it was like she’s like I don’t know, I Feel but never send anything you know like. I was always a good kid. I I did what I had to do around the house and she. So she never really told me what to do. You know, but it’s like if I was a parent, if it was, if I had a young kid, you know that I wanted to do it at seven. Eight, nine years old I’d be like no like you’re too young, to be getting punched in the head. You know it’s it’s! It’S not safe on your brain, but that’s the same time. You kind of got to support your kid. You know, if you don’t support your kids that’s a year. How do you start resenting, you a little bit or whatever it is yeah? I do feel like if I feel like, if your kid wants to be a fighter, regardless of whether or not they have your approval, they’re gon na find a way to do it. Yeah some point: you do it and at some point you turn 18 and they can do it every day, one anyway yeah it’s it’s kind of one of those things where I appreciate that my mom kind of never said told me what to do cuz. I kind of found my way on my own to where I was like fighting found me. Actually me too, so it was one of those things where I I only did it just to stay in shape. I never thought I was gon na be a pro fighter at one point, I really think about it. I that really, I wouldn’t say there was a time where I was like. I want to be a pro fighter, it kind of just happened. You know, and I grew up playing football, so I always had to feel like I had to cede my competitive edge. Somehow and fighting ended up being being the thing that found me um, I mean I’ve, seen videos and I’ve heard people talk about it, guys like max Holloway and guys like BJ Penn. Are they like legends on the island? There is it on the islands or is it just like, like? Did you grow up idolizing BJ Penn? Is that someone that you know if everyone grew up, admiring it that’s kind of tough, I would say like well cuz for me, I’m not really one of those where oh, I don’t. I someone just because they’re on TV or whatever it is, but you do give them the respect. Like Hawaii Hawaii people really pride themselves on respecting others. You know it’s our culture and um. You know like into BJ like we would go out of her. Ladies shaker and shake their hand and be like hey right on man and you know walk away and that’s it that’s paying our respects. So you know I see Max and I’ve come across BJ. It’S like. I give him the respect to deserve and I acknowledge them. Just because that’s just how I was raised, you know, and some people, maybe maybe do kind of idolize and get all starstruck you know, but you know for me it was always they they deserve respect, and I always gave him that whenever I did come across him, Yeah I have a couple of Hawaiian friends and that’s one of the things they said and I’m Spanish, you don’t really find it in Canada and United States as much where you know that that level of respect is carried out to no matter who you speak. Unless, obviously, they ruin it but, for example, someone who’s older than me always has my respect, and I find people places like Hawaii places like Spain, and I find this smaller the place of Hawaii, the more respect that they instill in their kids and and the more They practice it and that’s one of the big things I I’ve. Always I’ve always wanted you to Hawaii, not just because of the beaches, and you know all that it was always about getting to meet the people and getting to embrace myself in their culture and Hawaii’s. Always been on top of my list, for that reason, yeah yeah and I guess some for some non MMA content for what? What are you doing in your your free time here, like any Netflix suggestions or you watching movies? What’S yeah so me and Jesse, we’ve been you’ve been just trying to find stuff. So lately we’ve been kind of on like on the Disney process. We’Ve been watching a whole bunch of like Oh old, Pixar, movies and stuff, like we just got done, watching our small soldiers and like we watch Finding Nemo and stuff like just finding old stuff that we haven’t really watched. It’S not stuff. You watch over and over again, but we’ve just been watching a whole bunch of old movies at Toy Story and all that’s the but um. We just got done watching a Dracula that three-part series that just came out. That was good. I actually enjoyed that we’re trying to find a TV sort of watch. The movie we’ll have you watched Tiger King, yet Oh actually yeah. We just finished that she finished that yesterday I got bored about three episodes like it. Kind of just ended up feeling like it was a lot of back and forth stuff cause. I got more virtus rated, but she’s one of those where she’s like yeah. Yes, it’s not for everybody, I loved it but yeah it’s it’s a hundred percent, not for anybody. Everybody it wasn’t good like it was. It was good good to wear that when I did watch it. I’M stuck on a TV like blocking out she’s talking to me, I’m like what like, but I it was one of those where his background background noise. For me – and I was watching it and watching looking stuff, I’m on my phone at the same time, so it was cool. I liked it – and I guess, since there’s not a whole lot of MMA going on right now, but there is one card that potentially could happen. What do you if it does happen and the main event stays intact? Who do you got Kabir it or Tony? I don’t know it’s kind of one of those: don’t care who wins cuz, I’m like khabib, sick man, he his his wrestling is unreal and Tony Tony’s fun to watch he’s a scrapper. You know I’m not a fan of either, but it’s like if I had to really choose in my heart. I want good Tony to win like really sick at big wins, because I kiss and he’s he ends up. Mauling people he’s strong in that division and I know Tony has sick Jets, but it’s one of those things where man could be gets on. You you wrapped those legs up and unless Tony can keep him away and you know, do his awkward striking and that he beats everybody with man. I think Oh demons, that way, but it’s it’ll be a good fight. It’Ll be it’ll, be good to see and I’ll. Ask I’ll ask one more, I think I know the answer: Holloway Volkov ski, if that were to happen again, obviously know who you’re rooting for. Do you think it plays out differently than the first fight now? I actually think that Vulcan Oskie wins again Maks kind of guy. I feel like over the last couple fights he got complacent with his style, where he’s kind of came out almost the same way against everybody, honestly in the first fight. Of course, I wanted max to win because he’s the Hawaii boy, but a part of me was rooting for Vulcan offski just because it became one of those things where I I became a fan of him too. You know he and he’s a great she’d, be a great champion for you know years down the road if he can keep winning, because mamak boots he’s unreal too and he’s fun to watch. So I think second fight broken off ski wins again, all right perfect! Thank you for the UH. Thank you for the time in and best of luck, I’ll keep I’ll keep an eye on you, and hopefully you get back in there in June 6 creation thanks yeah. I appreciate you taking the time I just got. This started a couple weeks ago and had a few UFC fighters couple Bellator fighters. So it means a lot that each at the time yeah sorry about yesterday – I totally spaced on it yeah yeah for sure, maybe after your next fight I’ll reach out again and talk about your your win, your knock first round knockout looking forward to that, then keep Washing your hands ha try to grow.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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