Connecticut welterweight Brennan Ward, 14-6, looks to snap a two-fight losing run when he fights David Rickels at Bellator 185.
The 29-year-old ‘Irish Bad Boy’ has knockout wins over Saad Awad, Ken Hasegawa, Dennis Olson and Roger Carroll, but has recently suffered back-to-back defeats to Paul Daley and Fernando Gonzalez.
Ahead of Ward’s crucial clash with Rickels on October 20, he answered the questions of Fighters Only contributor Tony Reid.
Question: If you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?
Brennan Ward: I would pick my second pro fight (Harley Beekman at CES MMA: Never Surrender). He was one of the better guys in my area. I broke my hand about 30 seconds into the fight. I fought three rounds. It was a pretty tough fight. It was a good fight and it was tough fighting with a broken hand.
Q: If you could fight anyone in any weight class, who would you choose to fight and why?
BW: I want to fight the best guys in the world. That’s the whole point of doing this. I would watch Bellator on TV back in college in my dorm with my homies and I would watch Alexander Shlemenko. Now I got in there and fought him. That is pretty cool.
Q: You won the Bellator season nine middleweight tournament and a big check, literally. So what bank accepts the check the size of a small car?
BW: They actually pay us in three separate checks so the bank was able to accommodate me.
Q: Can you tell us about the gloves you had nailed to the wall above your bed and the motivation that brought you after a tough loss?
BW: I got those gloves nailed right above my bed. I put them there the day I got home from the fight. They are on my wall and I see them every day. I am forced to look at them every day. They are collecting dust. It was the worst feeling I have ever felt in my entire life and I never want to feel that again. It was a lack of preparation. I wasn’t taking it seriously. I was buying into my own hype. I hang my chain on them. I have my wrestling stuff hanging off them. I have to see the gloves and the note every day.
Q: You wrestle at your former college Johnson and Wales, you work on your boxing with your dad at his gym Whaling City Boxing, and you bounce around doing jiu-jitsu. What is the most memorable moment from any training session you have been involved in?
BW: The most memorable is when I go train at Sityodtong in Boston. I just started sparring with them. They have some tough ass dudes up there and we go hard every time we spar. I mean, we go hard! Sparring at Sityodtong with Mark DellaGrotte and all the guys up there is great.
Q: Who are the people that inspire you most, personally and professionally?
BW: I take inspiration from anybody that is super-passionate about what they do. In order to be successful in this sport at this level you really have to fight to keep your passion burning. It’s hard. It’s a grind. We train three or four times a day almost every day of the week. Sometimes it’s hard to keep that passion. When it turns into a job you start losing your passion and desire. I draw inspiration from guys that are still passionate about what they are doing and I try to keep my passion for the sport.
Q: If you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist, what would you be doing for a living right now?
BW: I’m sure I would be up to no good. I was up to no good before I started fighting. I worked construction with my boys and we would be up to no good after work.
Q: Who are your favorite fighters to watch and why? Conversely, who are your least favorite fighters to watch?
BW: I don’t watch too much MMA. I really like Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez. Their two fights were amazing. It was a battle of wills. It’s like, I’m not necessarily better than the other guy but I want it more. I love those two.
Q: Can you talk about your love and passion for skateboarding, the X-Games and extreme sports?
BW: I skate and surf a lot. My mom has a house in Vermont, so we snowboard up there. I’m in Rhode Island most of the time, so I skate and surf all the time. There are really nice waves there. When I’m not training or fighting you can definitely find me skating or surfing. I actually love skating more than fighting.