Lion in the Ring

Written by Chris Postupalski

Dylan Andrews of Gold Coast’s Five Rings Dojo is one of the country’s top MMA talents, boasting a recent victory over UFC veteran Shonie Carter at CFC 13. In the lead-up to his next fight at Impact FC, Andrews spoke to Chris Postupalski about his career so far and his fighting future.

dylan-andrews

Dylan Andrew

Nickname: The Villain
Record: 11 wins, 2 losses, 0 draws & 1 no-contest
Wins by KO/TKO: 7
Gym: Five Rings Dojo, Gold Coast, Australia
Height: 186cm
Fighting weight: 84kg
Birth date: 15/11/1979

I remember that I was so excited. For about two weeks before the fight I was wearing my MMA gloves around the house because I was so itching to go. I'd finally got the chance to see what I could do.

You won the fight in 52 seconds. Did it go down as you imagined?
Yeah, I think it did. I had no stand-up [skill] so it was going to be me taking him down and pounding him out, Randleman style [laughs]. After the fight I felt like, ‘Wow, that's fricken cool, man - I can get used to this!'

Looking back at the fight, what rating would you give yourself out of 10?
Is shithouse a number?

Was there a standout learning experience that you remember from that fight, or preparations leading up to it?
Yeah: if you can't control your emotions, you better pray the other guy gasses before you do!

If you were to give a debut fighter one piece of advice, what would it be?
Relax and breathe.

Your second fight was four months later. After your first dip in the water did the four months feel a lot longer?
When you train at the Lion's Den, a week feels long. I couldn't wait to fight - it meant I could get out of training! Luke always made sure his fighters were ready to fight.

At the Lion's Den in the early part of your career, you built an impressive record under the guidance of Luke Pezzutti. Can you tell us how it was training in one of the more active gyms in Australia?
Obviously, at the time I didn't realise how good a training I was getting, until I started competing, and starting winning a lot of wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu comps. So for me to start in that type of environment, it gave my career a real kick-start.

Luke Pezzutti promotes Australia's most successful MMA event, the Cage Fighting Championships. You have fought in CFC on several occasions. How does CFC stand out from other promotions you have fought on?
It's the number-one organisation in Australia. If you want to fight on the biggest shows, and you want to fight the toughest people in Australia, that's where you go.

One of the biggest wins early in your career was against Api Hemara, who you defeated by submission at CFC 2. What did you know about Hemara and were you confident in getting the result you wanted?
I have always been able to push a really good pace due to the way the Lion's Den would train me, so our goal was to push him into the later rounds and work with what I did best, which was submissions. For sure, I got the result I was after!

That was your sixth win on the trot, with victories coming from KOs, TKOs and submissions. What's your favourite way to end a fight?
I like to end fights. I don't care how, I just want to end them! It's so much better that way. Finishing fights - that's what I'm about.

CFC 3 pitted you against highly acclaimed Brian Ebersole and you suffered your first professional loss. What lessons did you learn that night?
First, I learnt not to over-train. Second, respect your opponent, don't idolise him. Third, fight your fight.

Jacob O'Connell was your second career loss. What mistakes did you make in that particular fight?
I had no fights all year, then all of a sudden I was offered four fights in two months. Not taking away anything from Jacob, as he fought a good fight and I always train hard, but you can only train for so long before you start getting disheartened that no-one is putting you on their shows. So when I was offered all these fights, I took them, which was a bad mistake.

You decided to move to the Gold Coast where you started training with the Five Rings Dojo team. Was the move for training or was it a business/career move?
It was more family-orientated. Sydney just got too crowded for us and we had just started having a family, and realised that we didn't want to raise our kids in the city environment. Both me and my partner grew up by beaches, so that was the kind of life we wanted our kids to grow up in.

Not including your New Zealand fight, your first real international show was the Legend Fighting Championship in Hong Kong last January. How was the experience travelling with the other Australian fighters?
I loved the whole trip, travelling with the boys from Integrated MMA was awesome. We get along really well and the boys are really down-to-earth. Those are the types of people I try to surround myself with.

You fought Mongolian fighter Dorjderem Munkhbayasgala on the card and unfortunately for you, the fight was declared a no-contest due to an illegal shot that struck you. Was it disappointing to travel so far, only for the fight to end in such circumstances?
I was shattered. Not much else to say!

A lot of Australian and New Zealander fighters are participating in the next Legend FC event in Hong Kong - how about you?
I unfortunately had to cancel due to injuries I sustained in my last fight with Shonie Carter. I have already spoken with the promoter and he was very understanding, and wants me to fight on his show in September.

How did the fight with UFC veteran Shonie Carter play out for you?
It pretty much went how I figured it would go: I would bash him and he would take it, being the seasoned pimp that he is [laughs].

Many commented on you smiling and enjoying yourself throughout the fight. What made it so enjoyable for you?
The fact that someone finally realised I deserve to fight someone with a name, plus everything seemed to be working for me. I had trained especially for him and it all payed off.

Carter is famous for his spinning back-fist knockout of Matt Serra in UFC. He threw it late in the fight, and was met with a smile and a high-five from you. Were you expecting him to throw it?
For sure, I was expecting it. And I was glad he threw it, because I was like, ‘Wow, that is the punch that KO'd Matt Serra!'

You are scheduled to fight on one of the Impact FC cards scheduled for Australia this month (July). How excited are you at the opportunity to be fighting on the same card as Carlos Newton, Josh Barnett, Pedro Rizzo, Paulo Filho and Denis Kang?
I'm really happy. All I want to do is fight on big shows against big names. I'm not content to be just fighting here in Australia. I'm in this for the long-haul; I want to be a big star and you need to fight whoever they offer you.

You are rumoured to be facing [UFC fighter] Thales Leites on one of the cards. What do you know about your opponent and how do you expect it to go?
I know his ground-game is sick and his stand-up is okay, so no secrets there. I want to keep it on the feet.

What does the future hold for you and how much longer do you expect to fight?
Big things, I hope. Like I said, I'm in this game for as long as my body will let me compete.

In finishing, are there any people you'd like to thank? I want to thank all my sponsors: Tapout, ASN, Muscle Lab, Line Break Compression, Cocktail And Dreams and AST performance; and my MMA coach, Vince Perry, and the whole team at Pumma. And, of course, my beautiful partner Tracey, my boy Tyrese and my angel daughter Nevaeh.