Mike ‘The Nightmare Neun is a professional Mixed Martial Artist with a record of 4-1. He is also an experienced Thai Boxer having had many fights. He is 31 years old, stands at 6 foot 6 inches tall and fights out of Keddles Gym and Team Titan. Currently on a 3 fight winning streak with wins over the likes of Thomas Denham at BAMMA and Scott Stribbling at UCMMA, he is looking to extend that winning streak to 4 on April 20th when he takes on Darren McNamee at Fight Scene in Brentwood.
In your last fight you defeated Scott Stribbling at UCMMA 32, how would you assess that performance?
How would I assess my performance; few mistakes, should have gone in a bit harder perhaps and when I got the reversal maybe when in half guard I should’ve laid some strikes down, but overall, I was a lot more patient than I have ever been, I knew I had it and took my time to get the job done.
Is UCMMA somewhere you’d like to fight again in the future?
Oh I think I’ll be back at UCMMA at some point for sure. I loved it.
You were scheduled to fight Pete Brown again on Fight Scene 6, but it’s fallen through, how excited were you to have that fight again considering how it went last time?
I was very excited, I was ready to show more than I did last time, last time the first round just wasn’t me fighting, I was flat footed and I’ve come on so, so much since that fight as an all-round MMA athlete. I think it would have been a completely different fight in all aspects this time.
Now you take on Darren McNamee who is 4-2 I believe, bit of a brawler-type fighter, big and strong, how are you feeling going in to the fight?
I’m feeling great to be honest, I’m glad they haven’t just got me some mug who fancies it; he’s a tough, heavy hitter. I love a row, no bravado… ok maybe a little bit… but I love a tear up and I think he’ll bring it.
How has training been going at the gyms you train at, and how does the training differ from gym-to-gym?
Training is excellent! Titan has brought me on leaps and bounds, my wrestling, my BJJ within MMA, my striking within MMA. If you know about the people that train there, I’m surrounded by the elite of UK MMA! Keddles is Keddles, Alan is old school but at the same time diverse and modern. He teaches hard work, hard training, hard cardio, hard pad work and hard sparring. Again, some of the best trainers and muay thai fighters in the world, and a few very good MMA fighters. When I can get to Legacy BJJ, which hasn’t been a great deal lately, I always learn at least one thing that I walk away and use, the guys there are tough, strong BJJ practitioners, some with good wrestling and some good MMA fighters go there. Jude being one of the best in the world at what he does with a very good knowledge of MMA too. Nemesis gym, where I work, help me out with sponsorship, and training, got some good guys up and comers and good instructor family forming there. Then I get to Strood Combat Academy occasionally which has some good MMA fighters there whose wrestling and MMA control game is great! Also, I’ve just started sparring with Jimi Manuwa again after a few years, down at his gym. The gyms don’t differ wildly, but the dynamics and the little differences make me a more well-rounded fighter, I believe.
Have you seen any videos of McNamee? How do you think you match up?
I’ve seen some footage, what can I say, he’s tough, he’s game. I love tough, game opponents! (laughs)
The date and venue have changed and has been pushed back by a week; has that affected you in any way in terms of preparation – whether it be training or diet-wise for the weight cut?
Listen, I was struggling a bit with the weight cut to be honest, I am greedy as my fiancé says, and I don’t know when to stop, so fine by me. Training wise, I worked it just fine.
The poster for Fight Scene has been released and you have taken centre stage on it as main event, with a little cartoon version of yourself. Is it this kind of little detail that makes you come back to Fight Scene?
That’s a cool poster right?! Fight Scene and Martyn are good chaps, they’re trying to make it in the big bad world and I think they’re cutting it.
You’ve recently had a highlights video made, and it’s gone down pretty well with over 1,000 views. How important do you think it is for fighters to promote themselves in ways other than just performing in the cage?
I guess quite important really, you want people to know who you are. I was approached and asked if I wanted the video made and I saw some of the work they had done and thought it would be quite exciting so I thought why not? I think the more people see you on a poster and know who are or come to the show because you’re fighting, the more promoters want you and more money you get at the end of the day.
Sticking with Youtube, I’ve seen that you’ve had some haters on there, which is no surprise in this industry, what’s been going on?
I think I probably come across as a bit of an arsehole sometimes, with the whole ‘Nightmare’ persona and cut-throat gesture. Some people don’t like all that and I’ve got a few haters from it. I don’t really care; I’m a nice guy outside of the ring or cage, humble and friendly. But when I get in there I do become ‘The Nightmare’. I’m not going in there for a kiss and a cuddle, as my brother says, and I give it the whole cut throat thing is to play up to the crowd and like I say someone’s obviously took exception to it. They’re just keyboard warriors, anonymous idiots, who slag people off from the safety of their keyboard personas (laughs).
Thanks for your time mate, any shout outs?
Firstly thanks for the interview. I have loads of shout outs as normal and probably miss loads as normal too. All I will say about missing people out, I’m so lucky to have so many people help me that I end up forgetting. This time I will start with the personal people In my life, Teri, my wonderful Fiancée that has been trying so hard lately to help me, she hasn’t got a normal fiancée because I’m working, training or knackered. She’s organising the wedding mostly and helping me with everyday stuff and cares for me a great deal. My friends and fans, they never see me but they still make the effort to come to my fights and help me out especially a few who’ve been to every fight, bar one I think! Also to my family for believing in me and supporting me throughout. Now onto my teams and sponsors – big shout to my management, Chris Fig at Elite MMA Agency, Alan Keddle, Rob Storey, Paul Dewberry, Joff and everyone at Keddles, Mickey Papas, Dyson, Bola, Marcin, Richie, Ben Smith and Ben Callum and everyone at Titan, Jude and everyone at Legacy, everyone at Strood, everyone at Nemesis; Mick Tekyi, Dave Muscat, Raf, Stuart Day, Big Andy. My sponsors; Solo supplements for their game changing diets, supplementss and advice, Bates Office Supplies for their help in keeping me afloat, Nemesis gym for their sponsorship and the chaps at Flaming Art Tattoo for all my ink and the laughs!
Photo Credit: Paul Regan | MMA FightFoto