“Biggest night in the club’s history” – Andy Ryan on Cage Warriors 55

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Andy Ryan has hailed Cage Warriors 55 as the “biggest night in Team Ryano’s history” on the eve of the event that is due to take place tomorrow night in the Helix, Dublin.

With a host of Irish talent on the card, Ryan’s friend and student, Neil “2 Tap” Seery, will possibly become the next Irish world champion if he can find a way through Finnish talent, Mikael Silander (8-1).

Seery (33), one of the best kept secrets in Irish MMA, owns a 12-9 record that is scarred by legendary bouts and Ryan believes that his preparation couldn’t be better for the vacant flyweight title matchup.

“Neil is always prepared for a battle,” said Ryan after the Cage Warriors 55 weigh ins. “Whether it’s three or five rounds he’s always ready, and we always prepare with 10 rounds in sparring anyway.

“One of the good things about Neil’s training is that he’s always the smallest fellah on the mat, which means he’s always sparring with bigger and stronger guys.

“We were lucky this time around because we had some light guys that he could get some rolls in with. So, this time, I think he’s had one of his best camps.”

Although half of Silander’s eight career wins have come by submission, Ryan stressed how instead of looking at the opponent’s strengths, he prefers to sharpen the well tested tools of his own fighters.

“Whether it’s Neil, Paul, Konrad or whoever getting in there, we work on their strengths regardless of whose standing across the cage from them.

“As far as Neil is concerned, his strength is the pace he can put on people. It doesn’t matter what type of opponent he’s facing – smaller, younger, faster – he can always put in a really high pace five rounds that people find hard to live with,” said the Dubliner.

When the lines came out from the bookmakers, Silander found himself as the overwhelming favourite away from home, but Ryan seems unfazed, citing familiar territory with the flyweight contender.

“Neil is always the underdog,” he laughed. “Every single fight we hear ‘this guy is special, this guy is an Olympic wrestler, this guy is on his way to the UFC’, but I think people forget how long Neil has been around.

“When you look at who his losses are against and realise that he was fighting years ago, before he even knew how to tie a belt, it puts it into perspective.

“He came from a karate/kickboxing background and back then he wouldn’t know what was going on – I remember him head-locking people in the middle of the ring!

“He’s a totally different fighter now, so the betting odds don’t really bother us at all.”

Currently on a four fight winning streak all of which came under the Cage Warriors banner, Paul Redmond is quickly becoming one of the most hyped fighters from the island.

Although the promotion have yet to make an announcement since Conor McGregor’s vacation of the lightweight strap in April, many believe that Redmond would be the perfect man to take over where his fellow Dub left off.

Despite this, Ryan believes focusing on each opponent at a time is the way to progress and with Redmond poised to take on England’s Marc Allen (30) tomorrow night, the Team Ryano coach has only one thing on his mind.

“Paul’s still growing, he’s on a great run at the moment, but the last thing we want to do is throw him in the deep end and mess up his momentum for a belt.

“He’s the opposite to Neil – where Neil is very experienced, Paul is just at the start of his career – we just want to keep him fighting at the moment.

“Look, if something comes up and it’s the right opponent and I think Paul is ready then it might be a different story, but only then.

“I’m not just going to throw him in there just because someone offers us a shiny belt, his growth is our main concern at the moment,” he said.

During the build up the fight, both SBGi and Team Ryano members posted pictures of joint training sessions and exchanged words of encouragement, adding to the Irish MMA audiences’ excitement in the build up to the event.

“We’ve done that for awhile now. I’ve been the best of friends with John for about 15 years. We’ve always helped each other out and what people don’t understand is, we see each other everywhere.

“Whether it’s fights around Europe or jiu jitsu competitions, the smaller shows in Ireland or whatever, it’s the same group of guys you’re seeing so you make good friendships.

“The last few events the SBGi guys and the Ryano guys have come together and it’s very helpful in the sense that it gives everyone a different perspective on things.

“Another good thing is that the lads are all friends, so there’s nobody sparring that is trying to hurt anyone else, they’re always helping each other out.

“I looked at the mats there the other day and there was Paul Buentello, Chris Fields, Cathal Pendred and Conor McGregor, top class talent.

“Conor seems to like Paul and there both hopping in for sparring sessions with each other and then Neil was off doing some work with Paddy Holohan, it’s just a great buzz, and a friendly buzz.

“There’s no rivalry or anything like that. Look, some of the other lads in our club will probably fight each other in the future, but that doesn’t matter. Once were finished the fight we’d shake hands and we’ll go down to the bar and have a beer, this is sport.

“Obviously if any of the lads ever agreed to fight each other we wouldn’t be training together for that particular one, but we help each other to get into them positions and that’s very important,” he said.

Although Ryan acknowledged the night as the biggest in his club’s history, he feels it is especially significant for Seery who works full time as well as being the quintessential family man, all while maintaining his MMA career.

“That guy starts work as six o’clock in the morning, finishes up about two, he brings the kids to all of their activities and then he comes up training. As soon as training is finished he’ll run around and collect all the kids and then he’ll be back up at five the next day.

“That’s a hectic schedule and he trains six days a week. Even though it’s a huge day for the club, it’s even bigger for Neil. He is a dedicated fighter and he deserves this,” he finished.

By Peter Carroll – @PetesyCarroll

Photo: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors

Owner/Editor of SevereMMA.com. Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.