Ryan Kelly 0-1-0 is an English amateur Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Featherweight division, representing Team Crossface. He has competed for Battle Arena and is set to make his debut for Ambition Fight Series on October 22nd.
I’d like to kick things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today Ryan, and also to congratulate you on your inclusion to the Ambition Fight Series card.
“Thank you very much.”
I hope training has been going well in the build-up to your scheduled return to the cage?
“Yeah, training’s been going really well. I’ve been training as much as possible since my last outing. Working on new things and improving on things as much as I can on a whole, as a Martial Artist. I did a Jiu-jitsu competition recently for the first time in a Gi, I’m not really a Gi person, I only got into it when joining Team Crossface under my coach David Lee. Got offered this fight by my coach literally out of the blue and fought fuck it, why not.”
It’s a great organisation to be a part of, they’ve had some great names compete under their banner.
“It’ll be good to be part of it to be fair.”
A great card is definitely in the works, I’m hoping to be in attendance.
“I’ll definitely keep an eye out for you mate.”
Team Crossface has solidified itself to be a force to be reckoned with on the UK fight scene and beyond, so many exceptional warriors call it the home of their fight-camps, it must be a tremendous feeling to be able to represent them on your Mixed Martial Arts journey?
“Yeah, it really is, Shout-out to Team Crossface. Me and a teammate of mine who’s been with me for a while, moved to Crossface to pursue our amateur Martial Arts career. Dave is a genius, he has been there, done that in regards to everything in the game. 3rd degree Jiu-jitsu black belt I believe, Judo black belt, Karate black belt and has fought over twenty times professionally. My other coach Reece Stocker is a Jiu-jitsu black belt, fought over ten amateur bouts as well as professionally I MMA, great guys. The other Pro fighters there are Sam Patterson who will be competing on Dana White’s Contender series. Charlie Leary who fights at Bellator, Martin Hudson, Aaron Gray, Also amateurs such as Jazz Singh. even the guys that just train Jiu-jitsu there around their jobs, everyone at the gym is great, it’s amazing to represent them all.”
“Team Crossface, Icon Jiu-jitsu and the other gyms I stop by when I’m not there. Everyone’s a great help in my pursuit within Mixed Martial Arts.”
I’ve heard nothing but great things, recently interviewed Bryony Tyrell who has trained there recently. Also Charlie Leary and Aaron Gray, I spoke to Aaron after his Co-Main-Event victory at Road to Contenders 5. Nothing but admiration from them all in regards to the team.
“Aaron I’ve trained quite a lot with, Aaron’s a funny one. Before we knew each other I messaged him saying we’d train together some day, then we ended up becoming teammates. We were in the same class one evening and actually partnered up together. I love Aaron, a great fighter, a great guy, who helps me a lot. Charlie is a legend, he coaches classes, training constantly, doing one to one’s. He’s a proper veteran of the game, seen everything, recently got robbed by Søren Bak who beat Paddy Pimblett back in the day at Cage Warriors. Bryony is great as well, on my first trip to Crossface I trained with Bryony and Mitchell Johnson out of Team Crossface. Bryony has got Cage Warriors coming up, I’m sure she’s gonna smash it upon her return.”
She really is going hammer and tongs in the build-up to her return, visiting you guys, SBG Ireland as well as her own team at New Generation Martial Arts in Southampton.
“Yeah, she’s a legend man. I can’t wait to see her do well in Cage Warriors, and it’s in Italy I believe so it’s gonna be pretty good.”
Definitely gonna be one hell of a night.
Looking forward, what does it mean to you to be included on Ambition Fight Series’s upcoming event?
“It’s pretty cool for me, fighting near home. Brentford’s not far from where a lot of my friends live and grew up. I live in west London most of the time, I grew up in Harrow and Ruislip, Northolt kind of area not far from west London. Growing up, I’ve always wanted to compete on a stage in London doing what I do. I played football at West Ham’s Boleyn ground back in the day, obviously now they are at quite a fancy stadium. I got to play there as a kid being watched by coaches, those sort of moments like that even as an adult I love and Martial Arts gives me the opportunity. To be able to perform in front of friends and family in Brentford will be cool, as well as being not too far for me to travel either is nice.”
I completely get that, most amateur’s on the starts of their careers travel quite far out for their respective bouts.
“It also holds a special place for me, as the first regional MMA show that I watched was at Brentford Leisure Centre. It’s really been a 360 turn around from where it started to where it is now.”
This will be your second walk to the cage as you venture forth on your amateur journey, your first being back in July at Battle Arena Dunstable vs Mike Witherspoon. Unfortunately the night was not yours, but as many in the fight game will know, many lessons are learned from a first encounter.
What did you take from your first walk to the lion’s den?
“It was honestly the worst I’ve performed in Martial Arts, or any sport I have ever competed in. The preparation for it went fantastically, in the warm up I didn’t really feel nervous, I felt really in the zone. Heard my walk out song, walked out with Dave and Reece and felt ready to rock and roll. Took a shot, couldn’t see too well after, and the shots after. As an amateur you can’t take too many shots and that much punishment before the ref intervenes, especially when you’re in your first couple of fights as an amateur. They’re definitely looking to step in early as soon as anyone gets dropped or they’re not responding or countering, whereas being pro would have gone on a bit longer. These things happen, a loss is a learning lesson. I was back in the gym on the Monday after but I couldn’t spar or anything because of my eye, but as soon as it healed I was back to normal. Training as much as I can, and just been focused on becoming a more well rounded Martial Artist, taking in all the knowledge I can from the pro’s.”
That’s very commendable to hear, I mean as you said, these are your amateur days, it’s all a learning curve really.
A new chapter will unfold on October 22nd, as you set your sights on the Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre at what’s shaping up to be an explosive night of pure unadulterated organised violence at Ambition Fight Series. You are set to take on New Wave Academy’s Sam Castillo, what do you make of your Sam in the build-up to your scheduled meeting?
“All respect towards my opponent, I know a little bit about him from watching a little bit of his fight that I could find, also information I’ve learned about him. New Waves is a good gym out of South London, it’ll be a good fight so I look forward to it really. I’ve seen his style, he’s a good fighter, he’s fought Bantamweight before, I think this is his first time fighting at Featherweight. We’ll see how it goes for us both, I think it will be a good fight.”
Agreed, I think it’s a great compliment to the matchmaking of Ambition. Two exceptional gyms going head to head, I’ve had the privilege of watching many from both gyms compete, definitely recommend the fans in attendance keep an eye out for this one.
For the fans that will be in attendance, what can they come to expect from you fight night?
“On the night they can expect me to come out and be very clinical in all areas of MMA. From the striking to the grappling, clinch to being against the cage. Offensively, defencely I’m going to be on point and perfect on the night. Put on the performance that I should have put on in my debut, and to just go out there and have fun, Entertain and give people a good good fight. People are spending their money before Christmas and during an energy crisis where a lot of people can’t afford their bills. They are doing this so amateurs like myself can persist in our dreams of Mixed Martial Arts, so we’re gonna give them a good fight.”
I highly admire you guys, I’ve spoken to a lot of amateurs recently and tk be honest, you really are the roots of the sport. And fully deservent of as much of the spotlight as possible.
“Thank you man.”
Ambition Fight Series has laid down the foundations and are building a card that will no doubt keep fans on the edge of their seats. Only a couple bouts have been confirmed for what’s set to be a night of pure unadulterated organised violence in the capital. Other than your inclusion on the night, are there any particular combatants that have yet to have their bouts confirmed that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
“Shout-out to my teammate Elias Kane Boston, he’s fighting at Bantamweight. He’s a nasty foe, whoever is going to face him is gonna have a hard night out. Crossface out there getting the W’s, that’s the plan.”
It has been a great pleasure speaking with you today Ryan, and I look forward to witnessing you out there.
“No worries, thank you Aaron.”
Last but not least do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“To those who are coming to watch, enjoy. Shout-out to Team Crossface, Dave Lee, Reece Stocker my coaches, Glenn my Muay-Thai coach at Crossface. everyone at Crossface that has helped me train from the Pro’s to the amateurs to the guys that are just in the gym coming to train. Shout-out to Luke Robinson at Harrow Boxing Club they do great things in the community.”
The matchmaking has only just begun, so be on the lookout for more additions to the card that is set to blow the roof off the Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre. Tickets are available through the fighters and also available via the Ambition Fight Series website here.
A night of MMA and K1 action.
Also featuring the Train Alta (formerly Wimp2Warrior) London Finale.
Also available via PPV with Fight ticket for only £9.99 here.