Ep. #97 – Andrew Richardson

Andrew Richardson is a mixed martial artist fighting out of Team Alpha Male who competes as a Flyweight. He is 3-0 as a professional with all of his sanctioned pro and amateur wins coming in the first round, which earned him a Flyweight title shot against Pablo Caballero at Global Legion FC 16.


Andrew Richardson: So how has your uh, your training, been throughout the entire pandemic, i’m up in canada so, like we’re still kind of shut down like we can’t get proper training or anything like that, but uh, but what’s it been like i mean. Obviously, a lot of people have been doing training like cardio and garage training. So what was your training like? So it’s definitely been like a different like, depending on what rules are happening at any given time. Things have changed um, so back in like march, when the gm closed down, there was like, probably a two month period where we had. I had no access to gym, so i was just doing a lot of um like home workouts and i was riding my bike. A lot and then uh my uh, my one friend, is like a nationally ranked climber, so i would go out with her and rock climb um. Just you know out the work and whatnot you know that was that was different. Um definitely came back into like the gym, a little heavier, but since the middle of may i want to say um, my gm to the team at least has been uh pretty functional. So what was the the rock climbing leg? I mean. I i’m not a big rock climber myself, but how has that helped you in terms of fighting laser? Is there any overlap there like things that you can learn apply from climbing to to your fight game? There absolutely is um. I i i rock climb at a gym – that’s unfortunately, still close too um, so i have a lot more experience more climbing than outdoor but um. I think the carryover between pulling yourself up a wall um and having to really cling is very applicable to like wrestling and grappling strength, just because it’s just your body holding on to something you have to be able to hold that tension for an extended period of Time and like if i’m on your back and you stand up, i feel like that’s a pretty direct parallel. Almost so, you’ve got a uh. You’Ve got a big fight coming up for the global legion flyweight title. How are you feeling? I mean it’s only five days away. You took it on shortish notice, so uh. How are you feeling are you? I mean biggest fight of your life. Arguably, so how are you feeling five days out? I feel good honestly um, i’m not like. I don’t get too high or too low on fights like i stay pretty calm, while i’m fighting and ahead of the fight, even um like there’s, definitely anxiousness, there’s definitely excitement um, which i think is the reality of any competition. You know, but i feel really good. My weight’s, just where i want it, um i’ve kind of been training with a short notice opportunity in mind. So when they came to me like 14 days out and i got a flight offer, you know i googled the guy said yes and then i got a call a few hours later, when i was out, i ride my bike and i said oh it’s five rounds And for a title with you – and i was like that’s even cooler like: let’s do it so it’s you know, i’m in a good place mentally. I feel ready to go. I’Ve been whether it was you know lfa. I was in talks with at one point, or you know, there’s only like seven or eight promotions running. It seems like so i’ve just been keeping in mind that at some point i’m gon na get like two weeks or three weeks. I honestly even would have been a little sad if they would have gotten a call and, like hey, do you wan na play in eight weeks six weeks into camp like i don’t like i’m ready now, so it really did work out well for me, is there Any added pressure i mean you mentioned the two, the two extra rounds and you like the thought of that. You obviously don’t like to to make things go late, but uh, but is there any added pressure knowing that there’s an extra two rounds? Training hasn’t been ideal for anybody. I guess um and there’s a title on the line. Do you feel any added pressure? Pressure was um? No, not really because to me like i’m about that’s, just really cool but ultimately like. For me, the mma is me, testing myself and seeing my abilities and that’s true, regardless of all of their circumstances like win bonus, and you know opponent and this and that, like i’m, just gon na go and try to you know really do my best and put All my hard work and dedication all that, like on display and show you know what i’ve been doing with my time for all these years, um. So for me it doesn’t trip me up too much pressure wise, but the two rounds is definitely interesting. I don’t view it as a negative, because i i figure i i know i’m in pretty good shape. So i know if i’m tired, he’s tired too so the way i look at it. If you know, if we’re in round four, it’s uncharted territory for both of us, and i i think just given my grappling background that i’m more likely to end up in top position. So that means he’ll be more tired than me. It’S a little easier if you’re on top, and secondly, it’s just that means. I have five rounds to catch a submission of some kind or you know slip a high kick through or something like that um. I look at it as opportunity. Another big thing is there: is that long layoff i mean people, you train with it’s, no stranger to them, so they’ve taken long layoffs, come back and look absolutely spectacular. Cody garbrandt’s a great example with his knockout, but i guess how are you changing your outlook, knowing that you haven’t fought in a little while do you feel, like maybe you’re, going to take some it’s going to take some time to feel things out a bit to See how you feel in there honestly uh after my my last layoff was longer because i fought, i guess 10 months 10 months ago in november um. But before that i had. I don’t know if you read about it, but i had a brain surgery for a brain tumor that kept me out of the cage, for i want to say like 15 months. Ultimately, so you know, obviously i went into this year and i was like i really want to travel a lot and i want to fight a lot and two things that are a little more difficult than they probably should have been. But ultimately, like 10 months. Just doesn’t feel as bad comparatively and i’ve been in the gym so much sparring every week that i don’t think the layoff is going to be that significant. I want to get to a point in my life, where i can find every three or four months. That’D be really nice, i think that would be like make it feel more routine and uh. You know just make everything start to flow. A bit feel a little more professional when it’s a more consistent timeline, but all the same, i don’t think it’s going to have a major impact on whether i start fast or slow um. I think i’ll be ready to go. I want to touch on that. A little bit i don’t want to go into too much detail. People can look into it, but at any point, obviously this is your passion. This is something you wanted to do. Was there any point where you were worried that maybe this was going to slip away and something that you couldn’t do long term yeah? Absolutely i mean they tell you they’re going to take a chunk, your skull out. You don’t know the uh, the the end dynamics, all that, and i knew i was gon na – have to uh as a consequence of the surgery i was gon na have to like relearn. I had to get my brain to rewire itself so that i could balance correctly again, um, so yeah there’s definitely like. Typically the the acoustic neuroma, which is the type of tumor i had typically tends to pop up in older people um. So, there’s not a lot of guidelines on like oh you’re, a 22 year old professional athlete. This is what your recovery will look like, like. I think i’m the only pro fighter that had this specifically that at least that i’ve heard about, i might not be. Who knows, but it’s pretty rare um so yeah it was unchartered territory and uh for me, you’re talking about like. Is this the biggest fight in my life a little bit earlier and for me i still kind of feel like this is a bigger opportunity, but my last one coming back from that surgery to me that one i felt more pressure just because it was like i’ve Done all this work, i didn’t know if it was possible like for this to be a good story. I have to win, you know otherwise, like i, you know it’s no fun to go through a bunch of adversity and overcome obstacles and then get socked up and lose like that’s. Not. No one wants to hear that. I want to talk a bit about your uh. I want to talk a little bit about your training camp. I mean you’re working with one of the best fighters of all time, one of the best gyms in the world. How does it uh, how does it feel working with them and how have they been supportive throughout this entire process? Um? So, honestly, i think the number benefit about training at alpha male is just a confidence thing because, like i i i was still recovering from surgery, but i was around and worked with him a little bit when davis and figuereto was visiting us um, i’m obviously i’ve Been training with cody garbrandt for years um and then just over the years we’ve had so many guys, ufc risen one championship, you know all levels, high levels of fly and bantamweight guys visit for a week or two or stay for a month and so like. I know where i stand in the world um at least in the gym, so i’m i just i have that confidence that you know. If i can take down this guy who’s top 10 or whatever, then i can probably take down someone else. Um or you know it’s just that, i’m on the right path in general um, you know if you track like track your improvement over the years like this dude used to be way way better than me. Now we have competitive rounds and he’s a compliment to that and uh. So i think that’s the primary benefit of just i’ve trained with so many elite, guys that i know that i’m not gon na go out there and be like wow. I’Ve never seen anything like this before you’re, not going to throw punches at me faster than cody like it’s just quick like it’s kids, it’s an experience. I’Ve had, and you know whether it’s directly applicable or not. It’S helpful, but uh. The only other part of that question, um tam, was super supportive. I was lucky enough that my insurance covered most of the the cost and whatnot. So i didn’t need to like fundraise or anything like that, but um they. You know the second. I was able to start doing things. I had coaches working with me one-on-one and i got a lot of like you know. Before i was allowed to spar, do contact. I got like soft drilling. I got to work with uh lee kemp who’s, a legendary wrestler like world gold medalist times three, i think um. I got to work in one on one, a lot um and then uriah as well um. So it was a good experience to definitely have them, and both coaches – and my just my friends to you know help me get through it. I mean you hear so many good things about uriah, what he’s done for guys like cody and tj, and the list goes on and on uh holdsworth um? How? How significant has he been and and how big of a factor has he been to your career? So i’d say it’s more of a recent thing that i’ve worked with uriah like kind of closely so right now i teach her class with him twice a week, actually on like the fundamentals of mma um, which i think is kind of his way to start integrate Me into like helping the team as a whole. You know i’ve done scouting for guys in the past, just based on my experience with mma mania and writing and stuff um. So that’s obviously a really really good path. For me, i would like to eventually help the team as much as possible. I think i have a good mind for it um, but uh. In addition, uriah is just always there that sounds like kind of dumb, but like into your eyes business. He owns the gym and he’s in there most days from 8 a.m until like three or four he might like run out because he forgot that he made an appointment. You know he’s. Oh he’s always got a million things going on, but he’s in and out all day long, so it helps to have whether he’s running class or another coach is he’s there watching. Um advising you know telling you do this or that or get more focused and get higher quality reps in whatever it is your eyes very hands-on, which i think just uplifts the team as a whole and keeps everyone you know on their game. I want to talk a little bit about your uh. Your last loss, a lot of guys when they get interviewed. They questions always seem to be about their wins. Your loss was the only fight that you’ve had that has gone outside the first round. What was the biggest lesson you learned from that fight that you’ve applied to the flights following that? So i actually um there’s no way. You would know this, but i did have a fight go off three rounds as an amateur um. It was just uh. It was on a military base, so it wasn’t, like california, stayed sanctioned yeah but uh by decision in a three by three minute fight um. It was a pretty crazy, goofy fight on its own, but regardless of that um, it’s a good question, because i think you do learn a lot more from your losses. Um in that fight, i didn’t feel like. I got tired or anything like that. Like i didn’t gas out, she had a tough guy. He was ranked third in the state when i fought him um and i think i won the first round again competitive though um and then in the second, when he just like kind of started swinging real wide. I don’t think i had the right intensity. I was too relaxed. I wasn’t that worried about. I was like moving my feet rolling my head, but i didn’t react with the like urgency. I think the situation desired, okay and then, secondly, what i kind of learned from it is that as i’ve gotten a little older um, i’m 24. Now i think i was 20 or maybe 21 when i lost that fight. I just think back to like how much physically stronger i am how much more developed as an athlete i am or like a couple times when he was swinging wide. I would like try to go for like a clinch and he would just kind of shuck me off, whereas, like hey, i think i’m a lot stronger, so that’d be a little harder to do now. Um. I know it was at 1 35. Now i fight at 25 and b uh. I really remember wishing after that fight – and this is something i’ve worked in this camp in this week. Even um is that, like, if i’m on the fence or if i’m like in a questionable situation like i’m, not a wrestler but drop levels, you have a good double leg, shoot it. You know worst case you fall to your back and end up in guard like i’ve been doing jiu jitsu a long long time. I think i can you can start my guard you’re not going to beat me up like it’s better than like kind of getting stuck in that halfway zone, where you’re on the fence and you’re kind of standing and kind of clinching, but ultimately in danger. So, just you know, be decisive and, and take that shot, that’s kind of what i took from it. So as a as a flyweight, you have to imagine a record if you win this fight, uh you’re four. Now that is a very good record as a flyweight and that’s on the doorstep of a contender series or ufc. Do you look at this as a fight that could maybe swing you into the ufc? You could really attract the ufc to to you or or are you just trying to slow it down? Sorry about that um, but that’s another benefit of uh kind of alpha male, is that we have like you, know sean chubby’s here, basically um and again the benefit of having your eye on on the corners that if you write a favorite text won the matchmakers and Said this guy’s ready, like that’s a pretty good feather in your cap, you know um so realistically, with like the weird situation that is right now, there’s a lot of contender series opportunities, a lot of short opportunities. Um, like i’ve, been told that if i win this fight – and i win one more – i can almost certainly get a shot on contender series um. As far as me. Personally, like my big goal, is i’ve always wanted to get paid to fly around the world and fight that’s stupid right now, um. So, for me like this is a big moment and obviously, if i were to get a contender opportunity or a short notice, ufc fight like i would jump on that – that’s not even a question, but for me uh it’s never been like a rush. I’Ve never been like. I have to make it to the ufc. I i you know i do. My life is fine, as it is, i’m quite happy training and writing and working um, and so i’m just working towards whatever opportunities come. I see it as if i get a fight in japan, like that’s the coolest thing ever so like. If i get sidetracked – and it takes me – 15 fights to get to the ufc. But i get to do some cool things in that interim. That doesn’t really matter to me, i’m happy with wherever it goes. I just want to be competing and making a little money from it and having cool experiences, because that’s that’s really what the fight game’s about. There are easier ways to make the five and five grand you get on contender series than you know: 10 years of hard professional mma training. It’S all about the experience to me. So we’ve mentioned his name a few times in this interview. I can’t ask: i can’t go throughout this without asking cody garbrandt dropping down to flyweight facing davis and figuero, who looks, looks like a killer right now. We all know what cody garbrandt is capable of doing. We saw his last fight as someone who’s trained with uh with cody. What’S your prediction for that fight, i think cody’s gon na be a lot quicker and i think so long as he keeps that in mind and plays like an avoid the pocket game. I think he could make this a relatively easy fight for yourself. Um figure. Eight is super powerful, but also somewhat stationary um, whereas cody when he’s on his bike, he’ll, kick you and move and be in and out so quickly that it’s going to be hard to land. And if you watch a fight like when figuereto lost to um, formiga formiga did just that of hang back low, kick jab whenever the guy over committed level change and shoot and honestly for amiga made. It look like almost not easy, but it was a very clean victory where there was like all three rounds. A lot of top control time was never any danger and i think cody has all the skills to replicate that game plan he’s just you know a lot. Scarier offensively than formiga is so it could be like, instead of stuck in him with a takedown. It’S that right hand that finds an opening when he opens up so uh, i’m excited for it. I i think cody i like cody by decision um, would be my official prediction but uh i like the matchup for cody. I like the move for cody, because i i’ve worked out with cody for a long time and he’s never been that big, like i know, bantamweights like, for example, that routinely are 15 or 20 pounds heavier than cody in the gym um so like when. I would see online people like there’s cody’s gon na look like tj and like be, you know, exhausted and drained it’s like. No, those guys are different sizes, like i, i’ve worked with both of them. I know that you know, i just know the walk around weights. I know how much weight they move around in the gym. Um, it’s cody is definitely a smaller band on weight and, i think, would be like just the kind of average sized fly weight um. So i don’t think it’ll be a problem for him to make the weight as well so last question and then i’ll. Let you go for people who haven’t seen you fight i’ll, be the first to say it. He likes to get things done really early, but i’ll i’ll give you here a chance, an opportunity to to just kind of describe your fighting style and what they can expect to see from you on saturday, okay, so my fighting style, i mean first and foremost um Of my total of step wins now amateur and pro um six are in the first round and come from either mount or back mount uh. So i think realistically, that’s what you can expect. Um i’ve been doing jiu jitsu for 11 years and i feel like i have my handful of positions where i get there and it’s done and it’s a checkmate um, but i’ve also uh been working full-time mma for six years. I’Ve been sparring and kickboxing and went to thailand to train muay thai for six weeks or three weeks um. I was in thailand for six weeks. I won’t pretend all of it was training but um. I feel very comfortable on my feet and i uh. I think that you can expect range control and just patient smart kickboxing until that take down slash back. Take opportunity opens up. That’S really. I always kick the leg. Real hard establish the ability and then, when that opportunity opens up to jump on the back and stretch them out. That’S that’s what i do trap the arm um, so yeah, that’s pretty much! My fighting style is to give my opponent very few opportunities. As i move her into that checkmate position, all right man, thank you very much for taking the time i’m rooting for you. I’Ve been a fan of you and all of team alpha male i’ve, always loved uriah, and i love that team. I think it’s one of the best in the world, so i really appreciate you uh, taking the time wishing you all the best, and hopefully we can see big things from you soon. I much appreciate it. Man uh no problem happy to talk all right man, all the best stay safe thanks.

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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