Getting Real with the Real Deal Ryan Ford
Two and a half years ago, Ryan Ford started training in mixed martial arts. Two weeks later, the former football player recorded his first victory in his debut MMA fight. As a tough athletic fighter with tons of heart, Ford went on to win an impressive six consecutive fights in his first year of his MMA career including two wins over former UFC fighters.
After losing two of his next four fights, Ford had a well-publicized split with Maximum Fighting Championship and moved to cross-town rival The Fight Club. Not only did Ford change fight promotions, he also changed fight teams. His last fight was his second loss to submission fighter Pat Healy, so he moved his training camp to Zuma in Victoria where Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Adam Zugec would work out the kinks in Ford’s game.
“Adam has really tightened my game up in all areas,” claims Ford over the phone, “He’s a black belt under Carlson Gracie and has really good standup. Adam has helped me with all aspects of my mixed martial arts game.”
At TFC, Ryan Ford has returned to his winning ways; winning two fights including a victory over Markhaile “Showtime” Wedderburn for the TFC Interim Canadian Welterweight title. This was a fight that featured a long buildup over the Internet with tons of trash talk from both sides but quickly ended with Wedderburn tapping out to a Ford choke.
“Your question was longer than the fight,” jokes Ford. Its obvious that Ford still has no respect for his last opponent. “Showtime should have showed up! He wanted a way out as soon as he signed the contract. The only showtime he has is when he can run his mouth.”
Now Ford is fighting for a second belt at TFC 9 on December 5th – the TFC World Welterweight title (the TFC has three Welterweight belts with Claude Patrick holding the TFC Canadian Welterweight belt). His opponent is John Walsh, the fourth opponent that Ford has been forced to prepare for. Why so many opponent changes?
“JJ Ambrose was initially my opponent. He took the fight but had to pull out when his wife had pregnancy complications. Then The Ultimate Fighter 6 contestant Tommy Speer signed the contract to fight me. He went to the gym for a week then said he was not ready and pulled out of the fight. Now, I hear he is fighting in Brazil six days later. Tommy Speers must be afraid to fight me. Then Jesse Taylor (from The Ultimate Fighter and Strikeforce) was 99% certain he was going to take the fight, but he decided not to take it. Now John Walsh has stepped up on two weeks notice.”
John Walsh is a brown belt who has a 10-4-1 record, according to Ford. Ford expects Walsh to take their fight to the mat. “If he wants to take it to the ground, then we will have a bit of a Jiu-Jitsu match. He is a more of a Jiu-Jitsu Jiu-Jitsu guy on the ground and he will try for submissions. I am more of an MMA Jiu-Jitsu guy and I will punch you a lot in the face before I go for an arm bar. My Jiu-Jitsu has taken off with Adam Zugec and Walsh will not be able to do anything to me that Zugec does not do to me in the gym.”
Have all the changes in opponent taken a mental toll on The Real Deal? “It is a little tough,” Ford admits, “As soon as you get your mind set on one guy, then he pulls out. You just got to keep training because you know you are going to fight. It definitely hits me a little bit, but I know in my mind that they will find me someone and I will fight. I just got to keep on my training schedule.”
With a win on December 5th, Ford seems poised to make a move to Strikeforce or the UFC in 2010. “I want to fight top calibre opponents. Hopefully next year I get picked up by one of them (Strikeforce or UFC). I will fight anyone, including (Strikeforce fighters) Jay Hieron, Joe Riggs, I believe that I have the athletic ability and the fight in my heart to beat anyone.”
Ford needs to get by the relatively unknown John Walsh before he can think about any next steps. This is a fight with little reward and a lot of risk for the former BC Lions practise roster player. Ford should win this fight handily, but if Ford’s head is not focused on Walsh, he could get caught in a submission.