Ep. #109 – Nico Echeverry

Nico Echeverry is a mixed martial artist fighter out of American Combative Systems who competes for Fury FC as a lightweight. The Texas native is 8-3 as a professional which includes six stoppage victories.


Nico Echeverry: Ah, boom we are back with another edition of the quarantine cast. I’M really excited for this one, i’m going to be speaking with nico eschevery. I think i’m pronouncing that name right, i’m probably butchering it. I see him smiling in the waiting room, so i definitely butchered it um, but i’m really excited for this. One he’s got a big title: fight coming up so uh without further ado, i’m gon na bring him on. I butchered that, didn’t i no dude, you actually did really really well. That was really good. I would say not ash. It’S etch like etch-a-sketch, okay, perfect, all right man, so he’s how you doing. Oh man, things are good. Things are really really good. I’M really looking forward to this fight. I was actually i’m looking forward to this interview. It’S got me kind of excited man, you’re uh, you’re a little over a month out, i mean the long layoff with the pandemic and everything. So so, how have you been doing throughout the the pandemic and how’s the family? Uh everything’s actually been going really well through the pandemic right whenever it hit uh our gym was right. On top of things, we made sure we converted a lot of our classes to zoom and i was still still exercising. I was still training and doing my own training in that time and we started to slowly implement more classes as time went on and as uh. The policies kind of you know told us what we could and could not do, and eventually we got back to training. You know with person-to-person training a pretty like sooner than i thought, and i actually, if i feel like i haven’t, missed a step i feel like. I haven’t really taken any time off. It’S uh, it’s crazy! I mean the amount of i mean you max. Holloway took a title fight with just zoom training. So obviously it’s effective, i guess um, how hard was it to to adapt that? Well it i’ll? Well, i was leading most the zoom classes, so i was participating in them, but uh i’ll say it’s kind of hard because without having a partner, that’s a big thing, because you don’t have a body to help. You uh do the techniques with you, because you’re gon na it’s basically kind of how in karate you’re doing kadas most of the time. So it’s i’m not saying it’s not realistic, but it’s definitely something different. I had to get used to it. I had to push myself more because you don’t have a coach there or another person there to push you, because that’s something that you have to kind of find yourself. You have to find that discipline, which is something that i’ve had to do uh throughout this whole uh throughout this whole pandemic, just finding the discipline just to sit down and train and to push myself just throughout the whole thing. You had a yeah you’re, a very busy 2019 was it five fights you had in 2019 um, not including the buns, the pullouts and the cancellations, and all that was fine. Wasn’T it i believe it was. It was four: it was four flights yeah. There was four 2019., so how so? How crazy was it to coming into 2020? You had some momentum staying busy now you’re on 10-month layoff. How different is it? Oh man, it felt weird it like i was. The thing is: whenever um 2020 rolled around uh, my coach drew a tie check and i we decided that 2020 to 2022 would be a season we would be. We would be fighting possibly if we could every two to three months and we would try to get 10, maybe even 12 fights within that time period. Maybe even go ufc or heck win a few titles who knows, but with the whole pandemic it just there’s the monkey wrench and then boom through it they’re renting all the gears. But with that time it’s because i had a really busy 2019. You know i had a lot of lingering injuries yeah and it gave me, even though i did have that fight in february between february and now i’ve had a lot of time to recover and to kind of just give me some breathing room, which is something that I definitely i definitely appreciate having i i look back on like okay yeah. I definitely needed that, but now that it’s getting back into the fight game in december, i am i’ve been more than eager to do that. I’Ve been looking forward to it just ever since i saw the ufc doing fights on you know, fight island in vegas, i’m just like. Okay, i need to get back into it. I need to get back to doing uh what i love yeah. This is definitely the i guess the best year for for people outside the ufc and bellator, because people are getting calls on on last minute notice, guys with like five and three records, doesn’t even have to be the best of records yeah competing in like alaska fc And all these other not really well-known organizations, so i think now is a great time. Is that do you think that this title fight uh is really like you? You won a title. You could be on the doorstep of a ufc and a bellator yeah uh. I i mean i see, i could see it as that yeah. I would. I would really like it. To be honest, i mean with the ufc it’s good name, recognition uh the month. The pay will be better. So that way i can focus solely on just training. I don’t have to worry about okay, so how my finances this month, okay, can i i can pay for rent? Will i be able to pay for all this other stuff, though so that’s gon na be something that i would definitely really like. But if that’s, if the title fight leads to that, then i am i i will be more than happy to take that. But if not, then it’s just all i know is that it’s gon na lead to just more fights down the line, and even that is just gon na, be something that i i’m gon na. Definitely uh, i’m gon na definitely be happy with. Do you feel a little extra uh pressure knowing that there’s a belt at stake? Uh i mean there’s. I will say there is pressure. Of course, i would say the pressure isn’t from anybody else, but myself, because you know it’s the fact that okay, it’s a five-run fight, it’s co-main event and the guy i’m fighting against is definitely no slouch. I’Ve been looking up a lot of uh, not a lot of footage, but i’ve been i’ve. Look: i’ve looked him up on uh on sure dog, on topology and everything looked up his record and with him being a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but he’s got like tons of knockouts from what i’ve seen and that’s something that you know. I i take into account, and i’m just there is a lot of pressure, but regardless of that, i tend to do very well under that pressure. It makes me work harder. I perform better and i just have a it. It makes the fight that much more fun for me whenever i had that little bit of pressure on me, because that way i work like i said i work harder and i just have a lot more fun. Do you uh? Are you someone who likes to watch film and try to dissect your opponent, or are you someone who can tend to just focus on your own game plan? I mean i hear you like guys. Like chael sonnen said they never watched film in their entire careers which, to me is crazy. Uh, if someone’s telling me i’m fighting someone, i am going to know everything about them, so uh. So what do you like? Do you? Do you like to watch film or not? I would say that i do watch film, but i try not to watch too much, because the thing is is that it’s kind of the way that the way i look at it is. If i watch too much film, then i learn to respect them in a way. I’M not saying oh yeah, i don’t respect them as a fighter. I respect everybody that i go against. I respect him as a fighter, but what i mean is i don’t want to fear what they can do like. If i see someone that has a really good ground game, i don’t want to be like well. I can’t go to the ground with him because he’s just gon na he’s gon na tool me that way or oh, he has a really. He has a really good left hook. I i have to be aware: the left hook. I can’t move to his left. No, the thing is that i can’t, if i’m too, if i respect what they do too much, then i’m not gon na be able to implement my own game plan because i focus on theirs. So what i have to do is i’m aware of the things that they like, but what the main thing is just i just want to make sure they don’t do it. I mean that’s the main: that’s what any any person’s game plan is, make sure that they can’t do what they like best yeah you’ve had a you’ve had another chance at this at this title a little while ago, and it didn’t it didn’t, go your way. What is the biggest lesson you learned from that fight? Uh, keep your left hand up whenever they they like to throw the right hand. That would be the biggest lesson um but um. You know i would say that my biggest lesson is man. Don’T make sure that the the rest? It knows what he’s doing. I would say: that’s a big one. You know i i i there’s that i will be honest that that that fight did, you know, leave a sore spot with me, but i do have a it. Also left me with a lot of uh it made me it made me realize how how uh, how many people you know, support me and how many people love me, and that left me with that. You know, even though i might not have a title. I do have a lot of people that love and care about me. So that’s something that i learned and i i take with me now, wherever i go, so that’s something that kind of reinforced with me yeah. I think that’s uh, that’s key to to so many guys. I mean you hear about people like losing a fight, and then their camp like turns on them or loses, and i think it’s really important to have a have a strong camp. Um speaking on your camp, a lot of people tend to go to a bigger team, or you know, move to an att or one of these other large large gyms. You see you stay committed. What’S the reason to uh to being loyal to that gym and have you thought of maybe going to a to a bigger gym? I i have thought about going to you know possibly going out to att, or you know aka anywhere really, but my main thing with uh staying at acs. Mma is uh. First thing: uh: it’s a lot of money to go out and i don’t make a lot of money being a local fighter. That’S you know one thing uh, especially during this whole quarantine and pandemic. It’S like you, don’t you can’t make a lot of money with it, and number two drew is one of those one of those guys, one of those coaches that he’s never stopped. Learning he’s never set in his ways. He’S constantly learning he’s constantly learning new techniques, learning new uh, uh learning, new methods of getting to different, doing different moves and he’s just learning new game plans he’s also learning different ways of cutting dieting. He’S he’s a student of the entire of the entire of all of mma, whether it comes to the fighting or the fight prep and the guy i’ve been training with him. Ever since i started training, i’ve been with him for more than 10 years now, and he knows my game more than anybody else. He knows exactly how i fight. He knows exactly how to talk to me and he knows exactly how to you know, pull back and to encourage or not discourage, but to tell me hey or to critique. He knows how to critique me correctly, so he just it’s just that it’s a lot to do with him, but it’s also to do with you know. I have a lot of good training partners here that that can and that not that don’t just whenever i spar with them, they don’t just stick with what they do best. They start to use the things that my opponent uses so like they either start to. Do lots of wrestling, or they start to do lots of you know just lots of striking it depending on who the who the my my opponent is so i have like. I said it’s like. I said the previous from your previous question about how i have this great support system. It’S all comes back to that same great support system that that i have here at acs with the coaches and my teammates. That has kept me here for so long yeah. You hear about it so many times a guy’s moving away and and whatnot. You said you’ve been there, your entire career. What was it that ultimately led you to this crazy sport? We called mixed martial arts, but to a lot of people. It’S fighting yeah. Ah man uh, my first exposure, was whenever i watched was like 2007 2008 and i watched a rerun of uh anderson silva knocking out uh chris evan in his first ever fight in like 38 seconds. I was like it just it just blew me away and after that i became like i was a casual fan of the sport. I hope, but i always watch anderson silva fight because he was like the first guy i watched and i was like he’s pretty awesome. Uh then, in 2010 i uh i get a phone call. Oh no phone. I get a message from a buddy of mine, saying, hey nico, come to my gym and you should totally come train, i’m just like all right, yeah, you’re, right and uh. At the time. I was going through a really tough breakup and i needed something out of an outlet and i was like i said i was already a fan, so i started doing that and it became not it. You know most people, some people like kind of see, mma or any sort of combat sort of way to just get your anger out, but i see it as a way to control it, because whenever you’re training, if you train angry, then you tend to either hurt Yourself or you hurt your teammates and if you hurt yourself, you can’t train anymore. If you hurt your teammates, then they don’t want to train with you so either way, you’re not training. So i alert help me learn to just take the anger and not not get not just you know, push it down but to focus on my training for just two hours and then after i leave then i can you know kind of then the anger might come Back or i’ll be i’ll, be i’ll feel probably better honestly, but for those over two hours, i’m in the there and then i’m i’m right there in the here now of uh of training because, like i said, if i focus on anything else, uh something bad might Happen so that’s my that’s what that’s what drew me into that’s what got me into it and that’s what kept me there for so long and then eventually just became the friends i made and all the experiences i’ve had, and just i mean it’s now. It really is my my entire life now. So that’s what’s kept me here, you uh, you mentioned anderson, silva and obviously uh. You know he lost a couple weeks ago and that could be the end of it um for him, and i, i honestly hope he’s done too personally but uh. That being said, who do you have as the greatest of all time? Obviously, i’m canadian uh, if you can’t tell from the accent i’m canadian and uh, so i tend to lean towards gsb yeah, but no no bias there at all none whatsoever, but but who do you have is the the greatest of all time? Oh god i mean. I can give favorites, but if it go, if it’s to the goat i’ll honestly have to side with you with gsp, just like you know, i’m not i’m not trying to i’m not trying to pander to my to my interviewer. I swear but um, but no it’s just the fact that so number one the guy was just so dominant as a champion like so you know we can. We can let’s let let’s kind of put the johnny hendricks fight to the side. Let’S look at his entire career as a whole, so, as a whole, you know he had two losses: he lost to matt sarah and matt hughes, both fights he came back and he demolished both of them and and every single other person he’s fought. He is beaten. Quite handily, but aside from, like i said, johnny hendrix and you could possibly argue michael bisping whenever, like michael bisping in his last fight, but throughout all of his career, he’s constantly he’s gotten better he’s he’s changed his style from being just a wrestler to a guy That became a had a guy who became a really good boxer. He has just been just completely just decimating everybody, and i say i see him as probably the greatest of all time for for that reason, and also just the fact that he’s just a very chill and down-to-earth kind of guy, like from all the interviews that i’ve Seen he seems to be just genuinely nice and he genuinely loves training and martial arts, so yeah i give that to gsp all day. Yeah, i i mean on the same boat i mean khabib for me – is also equal in terms of dominance, but i just don’t think his uh legacy. I guess he doesn’t have as many defenses. He hasn’t beaten the same caliber opponents what’s going on, but i mean when you go 29-0 without losing a round. It’S oh man, it’s yeah, so i mean there’s so many great guys there and yeah. I have george because of, like you, said his character and whatnot, but jon jones, uh, mighty mouse, etcetera, etcetera man. It’S it’s crazy, this to to see that that being said, which fighter uh, whether it’s current or former, do you think that you’ve either uh emulated in your game or uh, someone that you’ve idolized um to the extent that you can compare yourself to them? I would i i would like to compare myself to khabib, because a lot of my fighting the way that i started fighting was like him. He was a wrestler and i i’ll say this right now. Most people have asked me nico. Have you probably wrestled in high school or college? No, i haven’t. I didn’t wrestle a day in my life until i started training and i just kind of i latched on to wrestling and the whole mentality of wrestling. I love it because you take a person down. You keep them down, no matter how hard they get up and you just hit them in the head until they say, stop, stop stop stop, which is something i really like, because it’s all about control – and i love that, but lately i’ve just. I feel i’ve been i’ve been trying to not grow away from that, but i’m trying to expand my game more. So i would, i would say that grappling wise. Definitely, i would say i feel like khabib in a way, but overall i i would. I honestly would rather be more compared to gsp one at one point or another, because i feel like i’m constantly adding more to my skill set as i as i go on, because i’m not just uh a grappler anymore, i’m not just a guy who’s won by My submissions, i’m a guy who strikes now, i won by knockout yeah. I do grapple but at the same time that it’s, you can’t just be afraid of okay. I can’t just go to the ground with him. Okay, now i have to be aware of the things that he can do while he’s standing. So that’s i would that’s that’s who i would say i’d be compared to. I want to ask you one last one and then i’ll then let you go um for people who haven’t seen you fight uh. Maybe they aren’t familiar with you or haven’t watched any of your performances there at fury fc. What can you say, uh about your fighting style and uh, and i guess what can they expect on december 12th, for my fighting style, it’s going to be a it’s going to be a fun time, there’s going to be striking, there will be grappling and there will More than likely be a little bit of blood regardless i’ll, just i’ll say that i don’t want to give away too much stuff. But if you’ve seen enough, if people have seen film on me, they know that i i have the i have the hands. I have the legs, i have the knees and i have the grappling chops for it, so it doesn’t matter where the fight will go. It’S gon na be fireworks and, as far as december 12th comes along, i am really looking forward to fighting mr uh. Mr, i believe it’s freight us. I hope i i i hope, i’m pronouncing that correctly, but i’m i’m so he’s not he’s not he’s not in the broadcast room. Is he yeah? No he’s like he’s next? Actually, oh god, no, but i’m uh, but regardless of how the fight goes, it’s going to be a lot of fun. The guy is a black belt. He’S got some good hands, so i think it’s going to lead to a really good fight, whether it goes to the ground or whether it’s a standing, because i think that the fight it’s it’s not gon na. I don’t think it’s gon na see it. I don’t think it’s gon na go to the fifth round. I think it’s gon na. I think it’s gon na end by a finish and i’m and by for me i think it’s probably gon na be a ko and i’m that’s i’m hoping for all right man. I appreciate you taking the time oh you’re over a month out. So all the best man stay safe, don’t catch anything and uh man. I can’t wait to watch fight, yeah, appreciate it sergio looking forward to you know talking to you again soon. Man, yeah we’ll have to do this again. Yeah, please, please, all right man, all the best you’ll do all right there, you have it nico, etch, a very like a sketch like he said, uh man. I can’t wait for his fight december 12th. Um, if you haven’t yet make sure you donate to prostate cancer, that’s why i’m growing this. This whole thing out, and i will see you guys next time –

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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