Tyrone Spong Sheds Light on Training with UFC's Rashad Evans, Transition to MMA

Joshua CareySenior Analyst IAugust 24, 2011

Image courtesty of Ryan Loco.
Image courtesty of Ryan Loco.

Tyrone Spong is an elite kickboxer that appears headed for MMA and at 25 years of age, he’s an amazing talent. 

Spong has mastered the sport of kickboxing, amassing a 67-6-1 (1 NC) record en route to capturing titles in multiple weight classes. Needless to say, Spong has the makings of a truly dangerous mixed martial artist.

With that being said, he isn’t making the switch in sports without taking the proper steps. Spong has formed a bond with UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans (15-1-1 MMA, 10-1-1 UFC) and has set up training with the Blackzilians at Imperial Athletics in Florida.

“I’ve been here for a couple of weeks right now,” Spong recently told Bleacher Report. “I’m really enjoying myself, helping Rashad out and training for myself too a little bit on the ground. The Blackzilians, I think we have a great team, all the guys are like family, they all help each other out, and it feels great. I enjoy myself here. Me and Rashad are like brothers, we help each other out, (and) I enjoy working with him.

“He’s an athlete, he picks (techniques) up very fast, and I think that’s why we can help each other out that good, because I’m an athlete too and when you have another athlete to work with it makes it much more easy, a lot more easy. We’re like family, everyone helps each other out, (and) I think they have a great thing going on down here in Florida. I’m looking forward to working with them for a long time.”

Image courtesty of Ryan Loco.
Image courtesty of Ryan Loco.

Spong will celebrate his 26th birthday in September and with a professional kickboxing record totaling 75 fights, he’s wise beyond his years.

With Evans and company by his side, the gifted striker is fully aware that time is on his side and he’s prepared for the challenge.

“I take one step at a time,” Spong said. “I’m still young, I started out very young with fighting, (and) I had my first pro fight when I was 16. I fought a lot of fights and I built up a very big record which I enjoyed because I enjoy fighting.

"I just like to fight and I enjoy stepping in the ring, I can show my skills and show the world what I got. I like that and I like a challenge and I’m still young, only 25 and I think I’m very mature in my sport because I’ve been through a lot. Ups and downs, more ups than downs luckily, but still, I’ve been through a lot and I traveled the world for my sport.

“I still have a big thing ahead of me I think, so just taking it easy (and) making sure that I’m ready. Whatever I do, I want to do it good and I want to show myself at the best I can be.”

While Spong continues honing his ground skills alongside Evans and head coach Mike Van Arsdale, he’ll continue to embrace the challenge of mastering the new discipline.

“Rashad is a hell of a wrestler, (so) he helps me out with that,” Spong said. “I have coach Mike Van Arsdale, who’s a hell of a coach, (and) a good wrestler. So, I’ve been practicing on that a lot and try to master that and I think I pick (techniques) up fast.

Image couresty of Ryan Loco.
Image couresty of Ryan Loco.

“Like I said, I’m a athlete so I pick up (techniques) very fast and I don’t have a roof, I keep learning and I keep learning at a very fast pace. I enjoy that and I think for me that is the most important, to try and learn stuff on the ground. I’m eager too, I like the challenge, so it’s something new for me and I enjoy that part the most.”

At the moment, Spong is taking an educated approach in making himself a well-rounded fighter, so when the right opportunity presents itself he’ll be fully equipped for all challengers.

“I’m a fighter and I thank God for the abilities he gave me,” Spong said. “This talent because I can do whatever. For me, fighting is like a second nature, it feels very natural for me, so whether it’s kickboxing or MMA or boxing, I can adjust that fast. If I do something I always want to be the best at what I do, (I) always have been like that.

“If everything is right, I never say no, I like a challenge, I love a challenge, so maybe we’ll see if it works out. I got approached by a few organizations already, but I know where my head is right now, so I’m taking one step at a time and when the time is ready and the offers are good, I’ll do it for sure.”


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