05 Jun Newly crowned On Top Champion Reece McEwan speaks with MMAUK
Fresh from picking up the On Top amateur bantamweight belt on Saturday night, we speak with Reece McEwan about the fight and what the future holds.
MMAUK: Congratulations on winning the belt.
RM: Thanks very much mate.
MMAUK: Tell us how the fight went?
RM: I won the fight by unanimous decision! I was too excited at the beginning and ran right into a right straight and got dropped, from there I managed to secure a few takedowns and use my top game to secure the win. I missed out on finishing with a triangle at the end of the 1st which I thought given a few seconds later the fight would’ve been done.
The fights a frustrating one for me looking back cause I know I can do so much better and replaying the fight in my head it feels like I lost, I keep getting annoyed at certain parts of the fight knowing I could’ve done things better & differently. I know I landed some nice takedowns, landed a few of my specific goals for that fight & showed improved top pressure than my first 2 fights so I’ve taken some positives from it. It was my toughest fight yet for sure.
MMAUK: How does it feel to be a champion?
RM: It’s pretty cool having a belt, the belt is a wee belter and I’m glad it’s mine, I think it’s cool to look at it and go aw I’ve earned that and nobody can take it away from me. Now I know by being an amateur champion I can continue to fight even better and more experienced guys and putting my hard work on show for everyone to see. Also makes me remember the people who put me down when I first started, it’s satisfying to prove them wrong. But beside having that I don’t actually feel any different than I usually do after a fight, just looking forward now to my next challenge, the belts the first in my journey.
MMAUK: What have you got lined up next?
RM: I don’t have a fight officially lined up but Oran Mor is in September and I want to fight on that, it’s the Griphouse’s home show and I want to be a part of it. I’ve never been to Oran Mor and what better way to experience it first than with a fight.
MMAUK: How Did you end up getting into MMA and end up training at The Griphouse?
RM: I got into MMA through loads of small things to be honest. I was obsessed with Muhammad Ali and wanted to start boxing but was too embarrassed to ask my Mum. I
then started watching TUF season 1 on ESPN Classic and would stay up every night at 3:55am to watch it – at first just for the reality part of it, but then I started becoming weirdly obsessed with MMA thinking aw I’d like to do that. I remember watching Never Back Down with my pals one night, taking a shine to the storyline and someone said the fighting was like UFC, but nobody knew about the sport & I wanted to do it just for that reason cause I would’ve been different from everyone else. All these things started building an interest in the sport for me, and then I was faced with a situation where I was helpless and couldn’t defend myself so I said I’d never let that happen again and would start training MMA.
I wanted to be the best from the start so I knew I had to be at the best gym in the country. I Googled “Best MMA gym in Scotland” & saw The Griphouse. I had heard of Paul’s name before and when I saw he trained there I made my mind up.
MMAUK: You spent some time at Jackson Wink, tell us about that experience and do you plan to do that again?
RM: The experience at Jackson Wink was excellent. I didn’t even know what to expect before hand because I literally flew out like 10 hours after my 2nd fight so in the run up to it my focus was just on the fight. Everyone told me I was mad for taking a fight the day before I travelled to the best gym in the world but it made the experience more exciting.
It was amazing to be able to train 3/4 hours a day with no other worry beside training and recovery. I literally embraced every minute I could over there by working with as much of the coaches as possible and made sure I trained with loads of different styles. Brandon Gibson and the rest of the guys really made me feel at home and I’ll definitely go back. I must’ve spent about 1 hour after each session just writing notes about what I learned so I could go home and keep drilling reps on the stuff and pass it on to my team mates. The biggest thing about training somewhere else is that when you train with the people I do, the trip away is more reassuring than anything because when you’re learning stuff elsewhere you realise that the gym isn’t much different from home and you’re in the right place with the best people around you.
MMAUK: You recently gave up your job, that was a big step to make, how have things been since doing that?
RM: Things have never been better. I’m able to train as much as possible, get more rest, dedicate more time towards helping my team mates, coaching and still have free time to spend with people closest to me. Since quitting my job I’ve never been happier and have improved and matured loads over the past 3 months. This is just the beginning.
MMAUK: You have started coaching at Clyde Combat MMA, how did that come about?
Where and when do classes take place?
RM: Jamie from Saltire Combat mentioned to me about opening MMA classes to the community and asked if I would coach the sessions. Classes take place on Mondays 8-9pm @ The Legacy Hub, Dalmarnock.
MMAUK: Who has inspired you the most in MMA?
RM: Dean Reilly, Ian Gilmartin & Paul McVeigh.
MMAUK: What do you hope to achieve within MMA?
RM: Be the best in the world and be different from everyone else. I want someone to see me as an inspiration and if they want to chase MMA as a career they can use me as an example.