Tony Mustard is completely focused on his heavyweight meeting with Jose Garcia at Rise and Conquer 11 on October 1st.
Mustard (9-8) returns to action after undergoing a period of inactivity due to multiple factors. Now recharged and energised, the TFT fighter is raring to find himself back in the win column after dropping his last four.
Ahead of fight night at Rainton Arena, we had the pleasure of catching up with Tony Mustard. Read the full interview below.
Interview With Tony Mustard
On October 1st, you make the walk and return to MMA competition. You have been competing professionally since 2014. What made you have the urge to come back?
I missed all the lads I trained with. Plus, I couldn’t leave it on a four-losing streak.
You’ve had a three-year absence since stepping foot in the cage. You hit a bad luck of form in your last four. Was that the reason for taking a break? If not, what was it?
Losing 4 in a row was not the reason for three years out. Covid hit and working and moving house. Also had a few pullouts and little niggling injuries, which I’ve had to get over. But glad to be back.
What have you missed the most about being away from the sport?
The biggest miss must be the lads and the banter at the gym.
Tony Mustard Talks Journey Into MMA
For those fighters I have yet to speak with, I like to ask them why they got started in MMA and any unique stories they have in that department. Do you remember the first time you walked through the doors of an MMA gym?
Sorry, I don’t have any unique stories, I’ve always loved watching mma, but I could never find the time as I’ve always played football at the weekends and trained during the week. But when my team folded through a lack of funding, I thought now would be the perfect time to do so. TFT was then at Ryhope boxing gym. I remember walking through the doors. Introducing myself and then watching the lads train. I was so nervous, but the lads made me feel at ease straight away. All young lads, and there’s me, 30 years old. Hahaha.
Although you’ve had some time to relax and recharge, is the recent skid in the back of your mind? How does that affect you mentally leading into your return?
I’m pretty strong mentally, so no, it doesn’t bother me at all. My last four fights were just unlucky, really. I dislocated my finger on Bellator, so that went down as a loss. I fought the same guy on Shotgun and lost via sub, but I couldn’t bridge or hip out due to a broken foot. Then fought on MTK and caught my opponent with a head kick, wobbled him, ran in to finish him off and ran into a backhand. And then fought on Budo and went all three rounds in a fight I thought I won out right at worse case a draw. But that wasn’t to be. Fighting away, you have to either knock them out or tap them out to get any kind of decision away from home.
You’ve been prepping for Jose Garcia for some time now after the scheduled bout at Forza not going ahead. What do you know about Garcia, how do you feel you match up against him, and is this the ideal fight for you upon your return?
I don’t watch my opponents’ fights. I just concentrate on my game, not theirs!!! The fight with Jose came about accidentally; I just put the feelers out to get matched. Forza matched me with him. I’d never heard of him until we got matched. But now we are matched, I’m really looking forward to it, and will show him every respect as I do with all my opponents.
As stated, you’ve been fighting pro since 2014. So many things have changed, and the development of the sport has been second to none since then. What are the biggest differences you’ve seen from when you made your debut to now?
I’ve seen a lot of changes since I first started, but the two which stand out have to be the quality of the wrestling and Jujitsu now compared to then has massively come on. It’s great to watch the UK as a whole get much better at these on the bigger show. Great stuff.
You’ve had some of the best guys around you to help you get ready for battle, Paul Craig, Phil De Fries, and newly signed UFC’s Michael Parkin. How motivating and beneficial is it to have guys like them around?
Yeah, of course. Who wouldn’t like to train with these guys? Paul Craig, Phil De Fries, Micky Parkin Callum Cook. The list goes on. TFT has to be the place to be for the Heavyweights in the UK.
Win, lose or draw. Can we expect to see you in there again after October 1st? What sort of mindset are you in towards staying active?
Hopefully, I’d love to have 3 or 4 more fights, but will my body allows it is another thing. I’m not getting any younger. Hahaha. But just let’s see what happens.
Lastly, can you give the readers an official fight prediction?
No prediction. I just want to put on a great show.
Featured image credits to Angy Ellis