The Future of UK Grappling

Tyreeze Cunliffe

Age: 16

Started Training: 2016

Fighting out of Henshall BJJ

Under: Steven Henshall, Brown belt under Andy Aspinall

“What made you want to get into BJJ?” – Sean

“I got punched when I was out in the streets with some mates and I was shocked at what had happened because at that point I didn’t know how to fight. So I looked online at some MMA gyms and my mother knew the coaches mother and that directed me towards Steven and I started training in MMA, to begin with.” – Tyreeze

“So how did you make the transition into full-on grappling?” – Sean

“I preferred the grappling side of it and Steven was superior at grappling, so I made the transition to a more grappling orientated training regime and abandoned the MMA training completely.” – Tyreeze

“So how did you find the transition in competition level at such a young age?” – Sean

“As my 14th birthday was approaching I was still competing in the juvenile divisions but I started competing with the adults, however, I wasn’t taking that as serious and that was viewed as an opportunity to grow and I started flirting with more advanced techniques to see if they could operate on larger and more skilled grappling competitors. With the adults, I was found in the novice divisions and smashed everyone, 6 fights, 6 submissions. In May 2019 I got my blue belt but at the time I was competing as an orange belt.” – Tyreeze

“A lot of people don’t know this but you actually managed to have a grappling match with ADCC European Trials winner Ross Nicholls, how did that come about?” – Sean

“I was with Grappling Industries at the time. I was staying with Ben Hodgeskin and Josh Mensah at the time. I did the Gi day and won the majority of my matches, so Ben asked if I wanted to face Ross and I jumped at the opportunity to face the World’s number 5 NoGi grappler.” – Tyreeze

“So who are your favourite grapplers to watch compete?” – Sean

“Ross Nicholls, Renato Canuto, Gordon Ryan, JT Torres and Kaynan Duarte, Vagner Rocha, Garry Tonon, Craig Jones, Ash Williams and Mike Perez.” – Tyreeze

“Any nicknames that you have?” – Sean

“The Wonder Kid” – Tyreeze

“Anything else you’d like to say” – Sean

“F**k the haters, I’ll beat you all too. Shout out to my sponsors Tatami Fightwear, Hempguard and Empire Grappling and my team at Henshall BJJ. Also a big thanks to my mother for always believing in me” – Tyreeze

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