Andrew McInnes: “I Want a War, but I Can Finish Everywhere”
Andrew McInnes is nothing if not confident in his grappling.
For McInnes’ money, he’s the most skilled — and the most decorated — jiu-jitsu practitioner in Canada, with only his former coach Mark Bocek being able to hang when push comes to shove on the mat.
“He’s very good,” says Robert Drysdale, who awarded McInnes his black belt about six months ago, adding, “There are a lot of good grapplers in Canada, don’t get me wrong, but Andrew is certainly amongst the best.”
The former IBJJF World Championship medalist has the track record — and some pretty amazing YouTube videos — to back up his claim to the top spot.
It takes more than a few minutes to peruse the Toronto product’s grappling resume. His MMA record — 3-1, with three super-quick first-round submissions since 2011 — admittedly through no fault of its own, is dwarfed in comparison.
“How did jiu-jitsu lead to MMA?” is a question McInnes has probably gotten quite a bit in recent years. But McInnes, unbeknownst to many, has been training as a mixed martial artist for nearly a decade.
Ten years in March, actually.
“Everyone has always thought that I’m a pure Brazilian jiu-jitsu guy,” the 28-year-old lightweight says. “But I was lucky enough to have a really good jiu-jitsu coach (Bocek), so I took advantage of that and went down that pathway right away.”
“I think he’s a well-rounded fighter,” Drysdale adds. “Of course, we all have to make improvements — nobody is ever done improving — but I think he’s there, man. I think he can give a hard time to pretty much anyone in the business.
“I think he’s ready to compete against the best.”
McInnes, until moving to Edmonton less than two years ago, was based largely out of Ontario — a local MMA desert — and had serious trouble finding fights, especially considering his background.
He has fought twice since moving west and is to make his Maximum Fighting Championship debut against four-time MFC veteran Dan Ring at MFC 39 in Edmonton on Jan. 17.
McInnes began training immediately after retiring from junior hockey at age 19 in pursuit of the ultimate challenge. There’s no better test than a big fight, he says — and he’s certainly in for the fight of his career in Edmonton.
As it turns out, the former goaltender — and two-time team leader in penalty minutes in minor hockey — is similarly confident going into his fight with Ring.
“I want a war, but I can finish everywhere,” McInnes says of his upcoming MFC debut. “I can tap guys standing, I believe I can knock people out standing. That war that I’m looking for, honestly, I’d probably be fairly surprised if it did happen.
“But, no matter what, I’m going to get my hand raised. I’m going to move up that ladder and hopefully get that MFC belt coming real soon.”
The 155-pound title, according to Drysdale, may ultimately come sooner rather than later for McInnes.
“It really is up to him how far he wants to take it,” the legendary grappler says. “So long as he maintains his commitment, as he has, and so long as he stays on the right track, as he has, I see a very bright future for him.”