Joshua Onwordi “When I turn professional the featherweight division will know I am not here to take part”

Combat Vision MMA conducted a post fight interview with Joshua “The Flash” Onwordi after his 2nd round TKO of Magomed Gereev at Rise of Champions 4.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to Combat Vision MMA, Joshua. Congratulations on your victory at Rise of the Champion 4. What was your assessment on the fight.

The fight went exactly as we expected. I was told prior by my team that the best way to approach this opponent is to do what I do best and use my wrestling style. From the moment I was matched with Gereev there has been one quote which I had based my entire camp around “Enter the centre of the ring as the aggressor, take him down, then do your thing” and that is exactly how the story played out. I managed to control dominant top position throughout rounds 1 and 2 while landing heavy shots to all areas of the body right up until the ref had seen enough. To be honest I spent my minute recovery time staring at the end of round 1 stareing over to his corner to see how he was doing cardio wise… from that first glance I could see it was over already. The look in his face said it all, not to mention his heavy breathing and expression of desperation.”

What is the experience like to have professional fighters Darren O’Gorman and Brad Wheeler assisting you with your amateur career and giving you golden nuggets of wisdom.

“Having the likes of Brad wheeler and Darren O’Gorman assisting me cage side was motivation in itself. The two are high level competitors and have both shared the cage with top ranked fighters on several occasions. Brad wheeler has been in my corner from day 1 of the fight career and has yet to disappoint. Being that he is also one of my most experienced training/sparring partners, it gives me more confidence entering a fight knowing that my opponent cannot possibly replicate the same levels of intensity that we put out in the gym. Darren O’Gorman has long since been one of my striking coaches and also one of the most Technical training partners at the MMA Clinic, so I was pumped to finally put the work we had been drilling Backstage to the test! The two together make a great combination in Fight knowledge, so I couldn’t have asked for a better team”

You train out of the MMA clinic. How long have you been training with this gym and what self improvements has the gym made to you as an amateur fighter.

I have been training out of the MMA clinic for about 6 years now and have since then never looked back. I came to the Gym with a Break dancing and athletic background, so a lot of the basic movements in grappling and striking came naturally to me however, some habits from my other foundations would tend to slip into practice from time to time. Initially I thought I would forever be called out on these tendencies as mistakes that needed correcting, However, my coaches choose to adapt my style and focused on how to incorporate my movement into the fight game. Although I have learned many lessons over the years with the team, I would say the most important has got to be the understanding that taking a loss in competition must be looked at as an opportunity of self development and growth. The worst thing you can do is dwell on the situation and begin to doubt yourself”

What has been the biggest change in you since you have become a competitive fighter.

“I would say the biggest change I’ve encountered since becoming a competitive fighter is the way i conduct myself as a humbled character both inside and out of the cage. The sport has also played a big role in asserting a strong belief in my discipline drive and determination with anything I put my efforts into. From the outside looking in, it may appear that fighters live a rock n roll lifestyle, for example, when you see us jump up on the edge of that cage to celebrate a victory alongside the fans screaming your name, maybe you’ve seen an athletic apparel photo shoot online or a promo video highlighting all the “best” moments in a career to date. However what most people don’t understand is that these are all just small rewards gained from the endless hours of hard work and sacrifices put in behind the scenes. If not for the few traits mentioned above, It would be hard to say if I would still be on this path. Everyone has their own battles in life but in the Fight Game you find out very fast if you are truly cut out for this”

You look in fantastic shape for 145. Is this down to good genetics or how long do you spend in the gym building your frame.

“I WISH I could say the physique comes down to genetics alone; however that is most definitely NOT the case. Although it may play a role in how my body will take its form in the later stages of a cut. The important aspect for the look I attain at the 145 featherweight bracket mainly comes down to the lifestyle I live along with a strong belief in self perseverance. Making 145 has always been difficult for me since coming down from 155.. But that comes with the territory of being a fighter. We all know the saying “if it was easy, everyone would do it” right? Well it’s quotes like that along with many other positive manifestations that keep me going. In terms of my Lifestyle, I’m almost always on the go working events across the UK and in many cases Internationally which means I don’t get to see the gym as much as id like to. It’s at times like this where I turn to road running as my go to work out both AM and PM, clearing as many miles that my schedule allows. However when I am in the gym environment (The MMA Clinic), I try and grasp every possible opportunity to involve myself in all classes available… I simply treat it as my second home, although if I know I won’t be able to attend 3 hours worth of Gym training, I will always make up the lost time with more road work… ALWAYS!”

You are now (5-1) as an amateur fighter. Could you tell our readers about your journey inside the cage and how did you know you wanted to competitively compete.

When I initially joined the gym, I wasn’t actually interested in competing competitively. The intent was simply to add another skill set to my athleticism. The dancing was there and so were the acrobats, learning martial arts seemed like the final missing aspect. Up until this moment, all of my hobbies had been self taught, so jumping right into a highly acclaimed MMA community such as the MMA Clinic came as a big step for me”

“2 years into my training I was offered a chance to take part in a small scale armature MMA Bout and I jumped at the chance with no doubt in my mind. As it was my first time the nerves where truly overwhelming. I remember walking to the venue contemplating everything I had learned up until this point, wondering why I even opted in for this. Things only got worse as my coaches started laying on the hand wraps. Eventually the time comes when a crew member from the show calls you to doors in preparation for the walk out, and it was at that moment that all the nerves transform into adrenaline. When you hear the people scream your name alongside the heavy bass of your walk out track. At this moment in time it feels like a movie scene, and the feeling is truly an addiction. From round 1 through to 3 I steamed in guns blazing, throwing every shot I could think of. No judgement of my own cardio or strength. I felt nothing other than the will to win, and that’s exactly what happened. After having my hand  risen for the first time, I knew then that this was the path I was going to endure”

For you as an amateur fighter. Are you looking to climb up the rankings or is it more about the experience and application.

“Although my rank has been moving up since the start of my amateur career, I try not to focus too much on that at this stage. I see climbing the ranks as a by product of gaining experience for when its time to turn professional. The problem with amateurs focusing on climbing the ranks is that they begin to become obsessed with the number. So they will end up doing anything they can to maintain their position. Hence why some fighters will fight on low quality shows for easy wins. Pull out of fights due to fear. Fake injuries… the list goes on. This is no way to move forward, especially when aspiring to make it in the professional ranks as they will never really understand what it means to Dig deep”

Your only loss was against Kingsley Crawford at Cage Warriors 77. Looking at tape study – what was your assessment of that fight and what has the loss told you about yourself as a fighter.

Up until my fight with Crawford, I feel I may have begun to take my skill set for granted. Prior to this bout, I had won all my fights in dominant fashion, and never once did I feel like I was any kind of trouble. However with this fight it was different. The pace of this contest was average at most, back and forward single shots with a few words of exchange. Unfortunately I had lost my way and couldn’t seem to pull the trigger in the closing rounds. I had left the result in the hands of the Judges. As a fighter the one thing in the gym I hadn’t prepared for is that there would come a time when id swallow my first loss. But at the end of the day it’s down to me to learn from it and build up that redemption to get back in the cage and iron out all the errors. I honestly feel that I have matured a lot more in this game and it’s all thanks to the first loss. Without it I would never have known what I am truly capable of, and it has shown in my previous two battles on ROC”

How important is it for your development as a fighter to be on shows like Rise of Champions and Cage Warriors. To see first hand the setup they can provide and to have your fights shown live across the world.

Fighting on shows like Cage Warriors and ROC really do light the fire to succeed in this industry. Without a doubt they are by far the best shows I have been a part of. The opportunity to showcase your skills as an amateur world wide isn’t something that everyone can offer, so for that reason alone, I am more than honoured. My last fight was at ROC4, and as always, the level of care and support that they provided to us behind the scene proved that with this organisation, it’s about more than just the money. Which is more than I can say for other shows that I have fought on. Overall it is most definitely a career building experience and I most definitely look forward to working with both events in the near future”

Your cage entrance at Rise of Champions 4 was something else. Just before the cage walk how do you mentally and spiritually find a sense of balance and calm. Is there anything specific that is going through your mind.

“With every fight there will always be emotional battles which I have to tackle before I can move forward. I have never feared an opponent as the only battle I have each time is with my own thoughts. Once I overcome the doubts of my ability and the fear of failure, I am free. The only thing left to do is go out and have fun, and I use my walk outs to express that. Dancing freely to MJ who in my mind is the true master of movement is just a little taste of what’s next to come. I find it helps to completely shake of all negativity before jumping in the cage and putting on a show”

What challenges have you set for yourself in 2018. In terms of next opponent is there a specific body type or skill-set that you would like to compete against.

I feel my journey as an amateur is nearing the end, so hopefully in 2018 you will see me strapping the 4oz gloves on and taking the next step. In regards to opponents and body type, I don’t really have an answer for that. But I will say that making the move down from lightweight to featherweight wasn’t the easiest process, however with each fight I’m getting better and better and reaching the mark. My only goal is that when I turn pro, the rest of the featherweight will know me as a force to be reckoned with”

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