By Felix Rodriguez
HOUSTON, TX, November 15, 2012 – Robert Drysdale (4-0) sat down with TXMMA.com for a conversation about his life as a martial artist and his November 16 fight with Chris ‘The Celtic Tiger’ Reed (4-1). Between learning about preparations for his Legacy Fighting Championship 15 main event fight we got to find out that Drysdale is a man comfortable in his own skin, doing the MMA thing the only way he knows how, the Drysdale Way.
Drysdale is a Brazilian-American born in Provo, Utah who grew up in Brazil. When talking about his bicultural upbringing he noted, “I moved to Brazil when I was about six, because my mom is Brazilian and she wanted me to grow up there. Adapting was rough at first, but nothing that other kids don’t go through. I think of myself as half Brazilian and Half American, taking the best from both cultures.
“When I watch Basketball I cheer for Team USA and when it’s soccer I root for Brazil.”
Growing up in Brazil, Drysdale was first exposed to martial arts through Hapkido as a kid and wouldn’t begin focusing on what became his claim to fame until he was 17. When asked to describe how he got into BJJ and when he decided to become a serious competitor Drysdale noted, “I practiced some striking as a kid, but mostly got into it [Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu] in the last few years [as a teenager].” Drysdale began training in Sao Paolo and as his instructors saw his potential he began graduating to larger schools, going from Quatro Tempos to Maromba and eventually earning his black belt from Brasa Team’s Leo Vieira. Drysdale has dominated every facet of combat sports he has competed since. Reaching the highest of heights in GI and No-Gi competitions like firsts in the Mundials and the ADCC Absolute tournaments. His talents as a submission artist have carried over quite successfully into MMA, which is his chosen outlet for competition these days.
When asked about the pacing of his transition from BJJ competition to MMA and the differences between the two Drysdale explained, “I fight whenever I feel like fighting, I hate to lose, be it monopoly or in a fight so I want to take my time and put the best version of me forward. Aside from being a professional fighter I am also an MMA coach and I run a Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Las Vegas. My busy schedule between teaching and helping my guys get ready are commitments that I really enjoy, but that are very time consuming and can take time away from my own career.” Regarding the differences between preparing for high profile BJJ tournaments and an MMA fight Drysdale observed that, “Training for BJJ and MMA is a bit different in the conditioning aspect and mainly in the amount of coordination that a mixed martial arts camp takes to pull off. Conditioning is a lot different between MMA and jiu-jitsu. I think an MMA camp is a lot harder, it includes conditioning and all the other many aspects of fighting, but I put equal amounts of pressure on myself to do well in both of them because I’m very competitive.” When asked about his fight camp preparations Drysdale, who is an advocate of training with the GI on even when preparing for MMA noted “I like wearing my Gi for jiu-jitsu training because it helps to improve my technical ability and understanding of the submission game. I have a lot of great guys at my facility [Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu] that help me keep my jiu-jitsu sharp, but I haven’t trained with the Gi as much as I’ve liked to for this fight, I feel that when I don’t it hurts my jiu-jitsu a little bit. For my striking I train with James McSweeney, he is a beast, really helping me improve everyday, total animal, man. Forrest [Griffin] is my main training partner then I have Rick Hernandez as my wrestling coach and Cory Goodwin has been in charge of my conditioning.”
At 6’3 and a walking around weight of 225lbs, Drysdale faces a relatively small weight cut to compete as a light heavyweight. When discussing his nutritional regiment he told us “I’m a healthy eater, I don’t really eat junk food, but I enjoy things like pumpkin pie now and then. I think nutrition is a matter of reeducating yourself. I don’t really believe in diets and I don’t count calories, I go by hunger instead and eat until I’m satisfied, plus I don’t mind my vegetables and grilled chicken, right now I’m eating 4-5 meals a day, it’s all in the balance.”
With his fight camp wrapped up in his 7,000 square feet Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Chris Reed is standing in the way of Drysdale’s fifth professional win. When discussing Chris Reed’s preparation for his renowned Jiu-Jitsu, Drysdale found himself agreeing with Reed’s attitude. Drysdale knows he won’t become a world-class striker overnight so he is trying to steadily progress in that area and focus on his main strength to carry him through fights while he develops into a mixed martial artist that is equally comfortable in all areas of the game.
Drysdale noted, “I respect all my opponents, but I have a similar stance as Chris. I only focus on what I know and the things I can change. I need to trust my skills and know that I can impose my game on my opponent, I don’t expect any surprises for this fight, I mean I’d be surprised if he tried to take me down, but other than that I trust my skills will give me the victory.”
When asked about how he liked working for Texas-based Legacy Fighting Championship and if he was planning to move to other promotions like Bellator or the UFC anytime soon, Drysdale was complimentary of his current employers telling us that “Legacy made me a great offer, I still have to fights left on my contract after this one and they’ve treated me excellent. As far as a timetable, I fight whenever I feel like fighting, this is the best time for me to do it, but it isn’t something I have to do, I do it because I want to. Right now my focus is this fight, after the fight that’s coming and the two next ones, I would have to see what I am offered, but if it makes sense then yes, I would consider a move to a bigger promotion like the UFC.” Like everything else in his fight career that step will come when Drysdale wants it and he will likely have it his way.
When asked if he had anything else he wanted to share with our TXMMA readers Drysdale said “I want to thank my main sponsor Hayabusa, follow me on twitter @Robert_Drysdale and look me up on facebook @ Robert Drysdale, thanks to everybody for watching the fights. Legacy Fighting Championship 15 will take place at the Arena Theatre in Houston, TX this Friday November 16th and will be aired on AXS TV (formerly HDNET) at 10pm ET. Be sure to tune in or watch it live!