I recently got the chance to catch up with MMA Coach, UFC fighter and Wolfslair Academy member Tom Blackledge. Check it out...
Jay Cee: "Hi Tom, hope you are well. You have been fighting professionally within MMA for nearly 10 years now, tell me a bit about how you first got into MMA? and how your first fight back in 2001 against John Nicholson all came about?"
Tom: "I first got into MMA after training in various martial arts and then watching the original UFC, Pancrase, Shooto, WVC and all the other NHB events and Vale Tudo fights. I then started to collect as many tapes as I could and just studied the fights and instructions. I learned from what I watched and trained with some good friends practicing what I had seen. My fight with John came about after fighting a few amateur bouts. I saw an advert in an old martial arts magazine looking for fighters. I had to pay to fight in the event and just got a lift down to the fight from a friend of mine because I wanted to fight."
Jay Cee: "Since then you have had many fights and you have built up a professional MMA record of 10-7. In your career so far what is your most memorable fight? and why?"
Tom: "I've been very fortunate that I have had so many great experiences through the sport I love and there are so many fights I enjoyed it would be hard to choose just one. I enjoyed my UFC debut but am still dissapointed that I injured myself so badly and I wasnt able to put on the performance I know I could have."
Jay Cee: "Tell me a bit about what you are up to at the moment Tom? How is everything going over at the Wolfslair camp? Any young prospects we should keep our eyes out for?"
Tom: "Well, I'm currently running all the UK operations for the Wolflslair which is keeping me really busy and I have my clothing company "Legacy" too which is currently keeping me really busy aswell. There are always guys coming through the gym who are looking great and to be honest I think all the guys could make a big impact. Just to throw a few names out there though I think Davey Grant, Tony Moran, Adam Parkes and Gavin Sterritt are definately names to look out for in the near future."
Jay Cee: "What is your favorite part about training/coaching? and why?"
Tom: "I think it would be impossible for me to pinpoint a favorite part of it to be honest, I love most of it. That constant challenge of trying to be better at what you do and learn more every time you train/fight and also to see guys win and start to achieve what they set out to do. Knowing I helped them achieve that is a great feeling."
Jay Cee: "Your last fight was at UFC 127, when can we next expect to see Tom Blackledge back in action? and will it be with the UFC?"
Tom: "I'm still out with injuries and don't know when I will be returning to fight again. I broke my hand really badly in the fight and I still can't even make a fist properly yet nevermind throw a punch."
Jay Cee: "Like myself you are from the UK Tom. MMA is getting more and more popular each day over here and a growing amount of people are starting to take an interest which is great for the sport. What are your thoughts on MMA in the UK? And where can you see it going in the future?"
Tom: "I still think it's very much a niche sport in the UK. I also think that will change very soon, I expect after the FOX news in the US it wont take very long for the bigger UK channels to take notice and try to be the first to broadcast MMA to a wider mainstream audience. I think BAMMA are doing good things to get a big show with great fights on the TV and it looks like they have a great set up there. Cage Warriors have also made their comeback in the last couple of years and the shows I have managed to watch have looked fantastic, so it would be nice for more MMA fans to watch these UK shows and I hope that this can happen pretty soon."
Jay Cee: "Last question now Tom....Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present? and why?"
Tom: "Hmmm....that is a tough one! Obviously my team mates, but other than that my favorites are all the old school fighters like Marco Ruas, Bas Rutten, Rickson Gracie, Sakuraba and loads of others who fought a long time ago."
Jay Cee: "Ok, excellent. Thanks a lot for taking part in this interview Tom. I really appreciate it. I wish you and all the Wolfslair guys the best of luck for the future and I am sure we will be speaking again very soon."
If you would like to find out more about Tom Blackledge just visit the following websites:
Wolfslair MMA: Click Here