In the MMA world, changing the home of your fight camps for any athlete can be one of the biggest and most difficult decisions of their lives.
I took a trip down to GB Top Team today and caught up with possibly the UK’s highest level amateur Shanelle Dyer. To gain some insight into her decision to make Brad Pickett’s Great Britain Top Team the new home of sharpening her proverbial tools for war.
Shanelle ‘Nightmare’ Dyer 8-3-0 is an English amateur Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Flyweight division, representing Great Britain Top Team. She has competed for ECMMA, Golden Ticket Fight Promotions, Cage Legacy, Retribution Fighting Championship, the EMMAA Four Nations Championships and Cage Warriors South-East Academy.
I’d like to kick things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today Shanelle, and speaking with me in regards to your recent teaming up with Great Britain Top Team.
“Thanks for having me. It’s a great opportunity to clear the air and give my point of view on things.”
This formidable place plays host to some of the most intense warriors the mixed martial arts scene has to offer, how does it feel to add your name to the list?
“I think it’s amazing to be surrounded by such high level talent which I kind of lacked in my old gym. No disrespect to anyone there, they got me to the point where I am now. I just got to the stage where I need to not be the best in the room, I need to be surrounded by the people on the same wavelength. People on big shows, UFC, PFL and Bellator, people I can look up to and learn from them. They’ve experienced it, I can follow in their footsteps, it’s such an amazing opportunity.”
For the readers, could you elaborate on the reasons behind your decision to make the switch?
“Obviously I came from Team Underground, they introduced me to MMA and gave me the sport that I love. Even to this day they support me and have done so throughout my entire amateur journey. They helped me become the pound for pound number two in the UK, they gave me all the leverage I have now. But I just think that now is the time to move on to bigger things, I kind of outgrew what they were teaching me. And now I’m transitioning to become a pro fighter, everything I do now, every little mistake my opponents can capitalise on. That’s what was missing, the little things. I’ve been winging it up until now with my striking, my Jiu-jitsu and my natural capabilities. Every little thing plays such a big part, my lack of wrestling also. It all plays a huge part, I just don’t want to get to that level and people find the holes in my game and capitalise on them. I don’t want to be playing catch-up in the next three to five years, I want everything perfect now so when I turn pro, everything will be perfect.”
The pro ranks will suit you well, you’re an amazing competitor.
How have you taken to training here so far?
“I think it’s amazing, Team Underground and even my Thai gym can back me up on this one, i never spoke to anyone in the gym for the whole year. I’ve been there for years and never spoke to anyone, that’s the type of person I am/was. But since joining here 4 weeks ago I’ve come out of my shell, yesterday I stayed here for twelve hours haha. My mate Barry is here as well, I’ve known him for about a year, we’re very close in and out of the gym. Having him here makes me very commendable, I came out of my shell straight off the bat which I think is great. I can really see my future going forward here.”
I’ve watched Barry’s new YouTube channel recently, he does amazing work here.
“Yeah, Shout-out to Barry’s YouTube channel, he puts a lot of time and effort into it. He was here for fourteen hours yesterday working on his upcoming video, it comes out every Sunday at 6pm.”
I’ll make sure to catch that, he has a vast amount of knowledge on the fight scene, I enjoyed his previous video.
The coaching team has a wide range of knowledge in the fight game, has there been a certain aspect from any of the coaches here that you feel has improved your approach?
“So many things, It was one of the main reasons I came here. I only used to spar every Tuesday morning, but everytime I came here I used to get criticised in a good way. They’d show me things that made me think, oh why didn’t I think of that, things that changed my game so much. Before I used to use the right low-kick a lot, I sparred and every time I used it I’d get taken down. They adjusted it by saying don’t right low-kick right calf-kick, that changed my game. Those little fine margins that people could have capitalised on in the future, they changed it, they tweaked it and made such a significant difference. My stance has changed and my Jiu-jitsu, everyone says I’m such a high level striker, especially at my old gym, everyone said I was the best striker there but here they’re just tweaking it. I’ve learnt so much in the past four weeks, I’m excited for the future.”
I completely agree, it must be such an amazing place to call home.
“It really is.”
Amongst the many new faces you have started building relationships with, there are some here that you are very familiar with. Some, you have Competed alongside at Cage Warriors South-East, to taking centre stage as teammates at the EMMAA Four Nations Championships back in July.
How does it feel to now be training with some of these individuals on a daily basis?
“I think it’s great, especially training with Lisa. We both competed at the Four Nations together, I’ve competed against Rosie, competed alongside many others at Cage Warriors and many other shows across the UK. I’ve seen them all fight beforehand, seen how they’ve won fights and there many different types of styles, as well as their cornering and approach backstage before I made the transition. I just fell for it all.”
The Four Nations was such an incredible event, it was amazing to witness, the vast array of talent all in one place.
“The Four Nations was an amazing experience, especially for the UK amateur scene. I think it’s one thing that’s gonna blow-up in the next few years, it’s a great opportunity to become a contender, fighting the best of the best from all four corners of the UK.
There was certainly some anarchy at the event.
Each Mixed Martial Artist has that one person in the gym that they just click with, as you all stride in your mission across your respective journey’s.
Do you have such a teammate here?
“They are all great, but I think my person is definitely Barry. Me and him have such a close relationship in and out of the gym, when I was here yesterday for twelve hours the whole time I was by his side. He’s a really great boxing coach, he’s changed my game so much. I used to fight everybody Thai style, but training with him for the three weeks before I won the Cage Warriors belt my whole game changed. Fighting Muay-Thai out here was more kicks and scoring more because of them, but in MMA if you kick a lot you’re gonna get taken down. Working with him opened up such a wider range of strikes that I never knew I was neglecting, he’s elevated that part of my game to the next level. I’m so grateful to learn from his insight, he’s cornered UFC fighters and high level fighters. His guidance will play a high factor in my game going forward.”
Your accolades throughout the brutal yet exhilarating world of Mixed Martial Arts at such a young age will definitely hold many memories for you.
I know this must be a difficult one but is there a moment of your career that will always hold a special place in your heart?
“Ahh that’s a hard one, I’ve won a million and one different things. Every single thing I have won has their own story and their own fight camp going against so many adversities. Everything big or small, even to a show down the road holds a significant place in my heart. But if I had to pick one it would probably be my victory at CWSE26 last October. It was the pinnacle for me to win. It made me think that I can do this, I won one of the biggest amateur titles in the whole of the UK, I must be kinda good at this.”
Another pinnacle moment must be the shoey in your post-fight interview after defending the strap at CWSE27 with my colleague Katie Hunter haha.
“Hahaha I tried, I didn’t drink beer for about four weeks. I was high on adrenaline so I was like, let’s do it out of my Croc. Never do a shoey with a Croc, they have like ten thousand holes, it’s not gonna work, next time I’ll do it again but not out of that haha. Literally, more than half the drink spilled all over me.”
As you look ahead to an already incredibly successful amateur career, have you set out some personal goals for your upcoming outings in the future while you prepare at the new home of your fight camps?
“I don’t have anything on hundred percent booked at the moment, being at a new gym I’m just trying to get my bearings. Like I said, I didn’t do a lot of wrestling at my last gym so I’m just trying to work on that. So I’m just enjoying learning at the moment, as Brad said to me, just learn as much as you can now, I’m young so there’s no point rushing. I’m hoping to do the IMMAF World Championships if I’m eligible to do that but if not, get as many fights as I can possible. If I can compete at the IMMAF‘s, do that then turn pro if I can. Just take each day as it comes, to achieve personal goals and win everything haha.”
You definitely have one of the best coaches to help you achieve those things in Brad Pickett.
“One hundred percent, his guidance is paramount to my future. Listening to what he says will get me to the UFC without a doubt.”
Wherever your path may take you next I wish you all the best Shanelle and I look forward to witnessing it. Last but not least do you have a message for the readers and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“For the readers and the youth practitioners that are looking to venture forth on their own MMA journey, align yourself with the best people. Align yourself with the best teammates, people that you can trust that have been there before and know what they are doing. Trust in them, believe in them, trust them and anything can be possible for you. Shout-out to everyone at GB Top Team Brad, Barry, Ash and all the coaches, my teammates. Shout-out to my sponsors Fumetsu, Sweeney Dodge, Provide, Kimora Performance, QR Unit and any I may have missed. Thanks for supporting me on my journey, I couldn’t do it without them.”