HOUSTON, TX, March 23, 2012 – When talking to 22 year old East Texas-based fighter Ryan Hollis, it’s easy to see that he wears his emotions on his sleeve and uses them as fuel to succeed in the challenging sport that is mixed martial arts.
“I have many different life experiences and a lot of them have been bad,” he says about his upbringing and the environments he’s found himself in. From getting caught up with the wrong crowd to being bullied in school, Ryan has had a deal with a whole gamut of experiences. Nothing you’d wish on any young adult growing up but something he’s taken to drive himself to a better place.
Ever since debuting on the Houston MMA scene with a decision win over Alex Ramirez, the brash young fighter has put everyone on notice that he’s a flyweight prospect to contend with. Heading into this Friday night, he’s built a 3-1 amateur record using his combination of rangy striking and wily grappling skills. And he says he’s not nearly the fighter he hopes to be one day.
This Friday at the Humble Civic Center, he faces the latest gauge of his development when he takes on 21 year old James DeHerrera, another young fighter with a 4-1 record who’s looking to prove himself as a prospect to look out for.
We spoke to Ryan recently to get his thoughts on this upcoming bout.
Interview – Ryan Hollis (Hard Head Hitters)
Ryan, it’s almost time to go for your first amateur title this Friday. How are you feeling heading into this title fight?
I’m feeling great! Been putting in a lot of hours in the gym and going jogging regularly. I’ve been studying his (James De Herrera’s) fights during the day and at night even as I’m falling asleep… Memorizing the different mistakes he makes… I’ve been hitting the weights trying to pack on some muscle to match his strength. My best friend and teammate Charlie Ontiveros helps me out a lot. Getting to spar with him and having to deal with how many different attacks he has makes me confident in fighting someone who’s not him because in my head I’m like…”well at least I don’t gotta get hit by that dude!”
Who/what is your source of motivation to keep winning in MMA?
I have many different motivations.. My mother and father who stay in Germany right now… My little sister and my grandma… My team Hard Head Hitter who made me who i am today as a fighter… I got too many people to let down if I lose so that’s my main motivation.
How does your family feel about you being an MMA fighter?
They support me, of course like most moms or dads they are nervous for you but no one wants to see their kid gets hurt. And it’s not that they think you’re not good enough, it’s that the people you’re fighting are trained to hurt people so it’s a 50/50 chance in their eyes. But I’ve been in 12 fights now (4 were sanctioned) so they know I’ll be ok, win or lose. They know it’s what i love to do.
What do you do for fun when you’re not training?
Watch some of my favorite TV shows like The Ultimate Fighter or Workaholics. Sometimes I’ll sit at the computer and jus read different MMA stories and articles to get my MMA fix since I only get too fight once a month.
What experiences have defined you as a person and fighter up to this point?
I have many different life experiences and a lot of them have been bad. Like being bullied throughout school and getting hit and ran over by a car on my fourth birthday. Growing up, most of my friends were your typical street thugs so I had to fight a lot and most of the times it wasn’t even my fight to fight. A big thing also for me has been people making fun of me.. I’d listen to these guys talk about me or call me names after my fights and while I’m in the cage. Some of them playing and some not…but it’s making me stronger…cause what am I gonna do when I’m in the UFC and I got like 20 guys writing articles talking about how I got chicken legs …But i believe the way my life unfolded it was meant for me to be fighting.
What’s the best advice you’ve given or been given when it comes to MMA?
To just have fun…I fight better when I’m having fun and if I lose then I still had fun- my boy Charlie told me that before i walked out my last fight..
Any thoughts on your fight with James de Herrera this Friday?
James de Herrera, he’s a good fighter. I’ve have had the pleasure of watching his last four fights in person. He’s a boxer so everyone knows what he’s gonna wanna do. He’s got great power from what I’ve seen and always puts on a show which is cool with me because I love to stand up. I feel like he will try to throw crazy on me and I’ll use my reach. Not sure if he’s planning on going to the ground but if he is I’m ready for that too. I think we got 5 rounds so my prediction is some crazy shit is gonna happen before the fights over is all I know.
Any last words or anybody you want to thank before fight night?
Would like to thank my team8s at Tiger Warriors Martial Arts, Hard Head Hitters, ONE MMA, Charlie Ontiveros, Charles Ontiveros, Mrs. Brenda Ontiveros , Mykel Lawson, Jeremy Pilgrim, My mom Debi Borglit, My dad Martin Borglit , my grandma, Eric Garcia for giving me the pleasure of fighting for the 125 title, My sponsor in Mike Castro and Juan Robles for Southern District! Check them out on Facebook. Last but not least I’d like to thank God because if he hadn’t been watching over me, I don’t know how i would have got through some of the things i did.. See everyone at the fights!