Already one of the top fighters in Canadian MMA history, Ryan Ford has spent the past four years pursuing professional boxing opportunities internationally. At Unified 34 on Sept 28 at River Cree Resort & Casino, he’s finally back in the cage, taking on Matt Delanoit, LIVE on UnifiedMMA.ca. Before that, he caught up with Fightbook MMA.
What is it that brought you back to MMA?
I’m missing it. My last couple of boxing fights – especially my last one – I beat the guy twelve rounds and that WBC belt was mine. But, in boxing if you don’t have a big promoter with big money behind you, you’re never going to win those big fights and titles. I got robbed on that last one and after that I realized I’m 36 years old with two kids and a wife. My last fight camps, I had three back-to-back-to-back title fights and I was gone for basically four of six months. I’ve decided now that I’m just going to fight. Whether it’s MMA, boxing, bareknuckle boxing, hard-to-hand combat in Russia – if it makes dollars, it makes sense. I’ll be there and I’ll put on a show.
Putting money aside, do you enjoy MMA or boxing more than the other?
They’re different. They’re really too different to pick a favorite. I don’t really love one more than the other. I love them both. I love to fight. I happen to be calmer and patient in boxing. Boxing is a game where you can mess up one punch and end up on your back. MMA is similar, but you can be a bit wilder with MMA.
How will it feel to have a fight at home in Edmonton?
I can’t wait. It’s been almost three-and-a-half years since I’ve been in the cage and it’s been a long time since I’ve fought back home. Especially back at the River Cree, they’ve got a new venue. I’m looking to light it up.
How do you feel about your opponent’s talk going into this fight?
My name has been out of the MMA circle for a while, I think some of these guys fell asleep on me. It’s not like I was at home on my couch doing nothing the past four years, I’ve been fighting the top boxers in the world at super middleweight. My last three fights have been against guys in the top fifteen in the world. People are really going to notice my improved striking capability. It’s been that long since I’ve been in the cage and not with the hands that I have. Guys are going to have to take me down. If they don’t take me down, which is hard already, they’re going to be getting busted up.
Would a knockout or submission be more satisfying?
It doesn’t matter to me. I go in wanting the knockout, but if they give me the submission, I’m going to take it. We don’t get paid by the hour, so if something shows up a little quicker, I’m going to take it.
Have you thought about how much longer you’d want to compete?
For me there’s really no timeframe. It’s just about how I feel. If I still have that drive to get up in the morning and go to the gym and drive to fight, if I’m not injured, that’s all I think about. Right now, I could say I’ll fight for the next ten years. But, at the end of the day, for me, it’s about how I’m feeling mentally and if I want to train. You can play soccer, football, hockey, but you don’t play fighting. If you aren’t in it 100%, you’re on your back sleeping.
How would you like to be remembered in 20 years?
I’d like to be remembered as a fighter who never shied away from a fight. I’m a throwback fighter, I don’t care what your record is. If you’re better than me, we’ll find out that night. I want people to recognize me as that guy who always stepped up to the plate. No matter how bad you are, I’m always going to be there. If you’ve got a challenge for me, challenge me.