Rhys James made his life-long martial arts intentions clear ahead of his second professional contest this Saturday with Steven Langford.
This Saturday, the K.K Steelmill in Wolverhampton hosts Golden Ticket Fight Promotions 20, as the West Midlands-based organisation looks to put on a memorable night of fights.
We had the honour of catching up with one fighter among the action in Welshman, Rhys James, who is confident in bagging a stoppage victory this weekend. Read the full exclusive interview below.
Interview With Rhys James
First, let the readers know a little bit about your background and why you decided to get into mixed martial arts. Why was this a path you decided to dip your toes into?
Im from a small town in South Wales called Bridgend. Originally I started kickboxing when I was young and boxing so I always enjoyed stand-up fighting, but I fell out of that and started rugby etc., in my early teenage years.
As I grew up, I started to train kickboxing again, compete in competitions, etc. I enjoyed stand-up, but I was also training mma, so eventually, it became my passion.
You made your professional debut at the back end of last year. Debut’s cant come much better right? How did you feel in regards to the preparations, the anxiousness of fight week and the overall fit itself? Did it feel like second nature?
I felt extremely excited to beat someone with a big name and following for my first pro-fight, it did seem like second nature, to be honest. I’ve always enjoyed a scrap, and being able to use all my different skills to fight made it an advantage for me.
Rhys James Talks Layoff
It’s nearly been a year since we’ve seen you in the cage. Was there any reason for the time off? Were you hoping to get in there sooner and get matched?
Mainly I’ve been focussing on getting my weight down as I fought at HW on my first fight and felt sluggish etc., and I used to fight at 93kg in K1 and felt good, so I chose to try and get back down to the weight.
I’ve also been signed to BA BOX MANAGEMENT, and we agreed that I’d go down to LHW.
You mentioned on Instagram “sharpening the tools”. However, can we expect to see some new tools added to your arsenal with the time off? Have you still been working in the gym, although having no fights scheduled?
I haven’t stopped training at all, a lot of fitness and a lot of boxing. My hands have definitely gone a lot sharper, and I’ll be showing that on Sept 3.
Your opponent on the night is Steven Langford, who made his MMA debut in 2010 and then returned in 2022. What do you know about your opponent, if anything? How are you looking at this fight from a stylistic standpoint?
I know he’s a good grappler, so I won’t be looking to go to the ground with him. Hopefully, I can keep him on his feet and fight him at my game.
The End Goal
The game is just new to you, and your career is just starting, but what dreams and aspirations does Rhys James have at the early stages of his career?
My dream is to do this as a full-time career. On a big show, I’m not in it to be a millionaire one day. I just want to be able to train every day and be one of the best and get paid for it as long as I can make as much as I do in my day job and more. I’d be looking to do it full-time.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned since beginning your MMA journey?
The biggest lesson from my first fight, id say, is to take the preparation seriously with a training diet and a good balance. I feel like I didn’t train as much last time compared to this camp, and I feel 10x better now. I’m eating right and training right, and it’s helped massively.
What can fans expect from this fight? Why should they pay the PPV or buy a ticket?
I think they should tune in because we’re both from different backgrounds of fighting, so it will be a test for me and a test for him either way.
You both have a stoppage victory each in your win column. Is it safe to say the judges won’t be required on Sept 3?
I’m looking to stop this guy no matter what, whether it be knockout or TKO, but it’s going to happen. I’m too determined to lose.
Featured image credits to Rhys James