(He’s the Juggernaut, b*tch.)
Most of you (outside of Canada) have probably never heard of Nick “The Juggernaut” Hinchliffe, but after his Aggression MMA bout with Ryan “The Real” Ford tonight, the 18-7 Nanaimo, BC welterweight, who at one time tipped the scales at 275 lbs when he played high school football, is confident you will know who he is afterwards.
We recently caught up with Hinchliffe to talk about his fight with Ford, his familiar role of underdog and how he handles having three full-time jobs.
Here’s what he had to say:
You have a big fight coming up against hometown favorite Ryan Ford on June 9 in Edmonton. You’ve had other big fights in the past including your one against Travis Galbraith that saw you take the King of the Cage Canadian light heavyweight title and your welterweight debut against Rory MacDonald. Where does this fight rank in terms of importance to your career?
This is just another big fight and another big test for me. Ryan ford has made a name for himself throughout Canada. He’s not someone to take lightly, but I feel that me and my camp are preparing how we need to be preparing for him. If I didn’t think I had the possibility of winning this fight, I wouldn’t have taken the fight.
What did you think about Ryan’s last fight against Karo Parisyan?
I thought it was a pretty good fight. We saw a little bit of the old Karo with the judo he displayed in the fight. I have to give props to Ford. He showed heart all the way through and never gave up. It sucks that it ended on a cut and it didn’t go the distance or end a different way for sure, but a win’s a win. I’m sure they both would have rathered to knock each other out or to tap each other out, but it was a really good fight that showed me that Ryan is going to go for all 15 minutes. That’s what I’m preparing for. I know he’s not going to give up and I know he’s going to try to win every second that he’s in there.
You’re fighting at 170 now after a brief stint at 185 and you fought the majority of your career at light heavyweight. Did you ever fight at heavyweight?
No. I never fought at heavyweight, but I competed in a lot of submission grappling and Pankration events as I was making my ascent down from being about 275 pounds, which was my football playing weight. I fought professionally in three weight classes.
Is welterweight where you’re most comfortable?
Yeah. I hooked up with a really great strength and conditioning coach named Jeff Van Damme. With his diet and training plan it’s really easy for me to fit into my weight and my cut down to 170 the last time I fought against Ryan Machan I basically woke up the day of the weigh-ins and only had to cut six pounds, which came off in less than 40 minutes. I stepped on the scale at 170 and I felt great.
Do you work or is fighting your full-time gig?
I do work, man. I’ve always said I’m a full-time father, a full-time fighter and a full-time worker. I work for a construction company as an apprenticing carpenter. I have a child too, which is a full-time job in itself. I train and plug away full time as a fighter as well. I love to train and fight. I may not have as many fights as some, but I have close to 30 fights. I just love to compete and I can’t sit on the shelf, man. If I’m training, I’m a competitive guy who will fight anybody any time. I absolutely love this sport and I love to compete.
Do you find that your priorities and work ethic changed when you became a father, knowing that you had another person to support who depended on you for everything?
For sure. Your whole perspective on everything changes entirely. You realize that you aren’t the number one priority in your life anymore. This little thing takes priority over everything else. I used my daughter as motivation. There were plenty of nights where she was teething and up all night screaming and crying and I didn’t want to get up to go train. Then you take a glance over at that crib and it gives you a kick in the ass to get out of bed and get to the gym to do the things you’ve got to do to provide for your family. It was and is a huge motivator for me to succeed so I can provide for my family. I want to show my daughter that if you have a dream, you need to work hard and if you work hard through whatever adversity comes your way, you can achieve that dream.
You’ve faced a number of fighters who are known for their trash talking. Does that motivate you or does it have any effect on you?
I really just don’t pay any attention to it. I know there’s been some talk on the Internet from Ryan and his fans, but that’s fine. I don’t need a grudge to motivate me to fight somebody. to me it’s not about liking or disliking the other person. It’s a sport and I do this because I love the sport and I love to compete. You can go out there and talk all of the trash you want, but if you go out there an lose you look like a big idiot, or you can go out there and be a real man and be very respectful. No matter what happens in the fight between me and Ryan Ford I’m sure we’re going to get up and shake hands. We’re just two guys, who for 15 minutes are warriors and gladiators. For the rest of the time we’re just two normal people. I think people who trash talk either need it because they’re scared or they need it to motivate them to fight. I don’t talk trash because it’s a sport to me and I don’t have any use for it. I don’t pay any attention to what my opponent says because it makes no difference to what happens in a fight, becaus it’s just talk.
The last I heard, you were training at Impact MMA. Are you still there?
Yeah, I’m still at Impact. I’ve kind of travelled around training. I’ve done some muay thai and kickboxing with a guy named Gabriel Varga who’s the ISKA two-time Canadian world champion. There’s a really great judo club here [in BC] that I’ve spent some time with as well as some really good wrestlers. I’m trying not to limit myself to one club. In the future I definitely want to expand my training to other gyms because I think that’s how you keep improving as a fighter. There’s always something that somebody at any skill level can show you that you don’t know that might work for you. I’m not narrow minded like that. I don’t care what the club looks like or who trains in it. There’s always something you can pick up. I’m still growing and getting better every day. I’m always getting a little bit better and a little bit better. That’s how you grow as a martial artist. I’m willing to go wherever I can learn something because you get very stale rolling and grappling with the same group of guys. I’m looking to mix things up more and more by visiting bigger camps. I’ve spent some time with Team Tompkins in Vegas which was great because at any time anyone could walk through the door that you could train with.
This is a big fight for you in that Ford has been on the UFC’s radar for some time and that a win over him could put you on their radar. If that happens would you keep your job or would you turn your focus to fighting in the UFC?
I definitely want to power through and get my carpenter’s ticket. Then, no matter what I do and where I go I’ll always have that to fall back on. MMA fighters think were invincible, but the average lifespan in the sport isn’t like Randy Couture‘s. I’ve got a great support network here with my partner, Brooke, so if a good-sized contract came through that we could cover everything, yea man, I’d love to make the jump and fight full-time. That’s every fighter’s dream.
You’re being looked at as the underdog in this fight, which is nothing new to you as you were in your fight with Galbraith. Does that suit you just fine having the pressure off and having the ability to prove people wrong?
That’s fine. There are a lot of people on the Internet who consider me an underdog and there are a lot who think I’m not heading into this fight. There are also a lot of people I know who consider me an underdog. I don’t buy into it. If you buy into the hype and you buy into the bullshit, you’re going to do your head in. You need to listen to the people around you who support you and forget about the others. If people think I’m the underdog, let them. Everything can change with one punch as I proved in my first fight with Travis. Win or lose, I’m not an easy fight for anybody and I make them work to beat me. If you look at all of my losses, they were pretty much all against past or future PRIDE and UFC fighters. I don’t roll over and die for anybody. We go to war. I think I’m a handful for anyone I fight. Come fight time Ford is going to have to fight for the whole 15 minutes if he wants to beat me. I believe I’m going to prove a lot of people wrong and I guarantee it’s going to be a great fight.
Well man, that’s all the questions I have for you. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and we look forward to talking again.
Anytime, man. Give me a call. I’m always down for talking sports or MMA any time. I love that stuff.