In a relatively dark time in the state of professional kickboxing, Tyrone Spong has managed to become the sport’s undeniable rock star. Dispatching legends like Ray Sefo, Peter Aerts and Remy Bonjasky, Spong has quickly proven himself at the top of the heap among the sport’s old guard. As Spong looks to broaden his horizons in search of new challenges, we wanted to see how he’s adjusting to a lifestyle more focused on MMA. Bloody Elbow was able to snag a very brief chat with ‘The King of the Ring.’
DSM: I just wanted to ask you a little about the story of having some difficulties getting a visa to train in the states. I think a lot of people already assumed you were doing most of your training in Miami.
Spong: Yea, I’ve been living here for over two years now so Miami is my home base. I just had some visa issues and don’t really know much about it. It’s just the system of government. My entire camp and my coaches were all back in the U.S. so I didn’t really have any training partners or anything. I couldn’t train so it really changed my entire situation.
How’s the state of the Blackzilians camp right now?
The atmosphere is great. We’re all getting along and have a great team. A lot of potential. I think we have the best coaching staff and facilities in the world right now. Everything is just fine. Everybody is doing great.
How did you react to Alistair’s [Overeem] last performance? As his friend and training partner, does his loss affect you?
Yea, it’s a loss and it’s bad. I think everyone was shocked, but we compete at the highest level of combat sports. You win some, you lose some. It happens. What can you do? Just get back up on your feet and go get the next victory. He’s a professional so he’ll be fine.
How did you feel about your teammate Abel Trujillo’s fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov? Was Abel having trouble closing the distance or just being outwrestled?
Abel is a great wrestler but you can’t really say much about that fight. The other guy killed the fight, honestly. He didn’t really do any damage to Abel with any ground and pound. Abel did some damage with his punches earlier in the fight. I just can’t really say much about it.
Do you ever worry about someone trying to employ that same strategy against you in MMA?
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get the W. Also, I respect everyone’s choice but it’s not my style. If it’s a fight, it’s a fight. Don’t kill the fight.
How is Rashad [Evans] looking for his fight with Dan Henderson? Is there anything he’s switched up from his last fight? Coaching changes?
Rashad’s looking great. He’s in great shape and he’s on point. No, not really. Kenny Monday‘s here with Henry Joost and nothing’s really changed. You have to train hard and he’s hungry. He’s ready.
What do you see as the next wrinkle of MMA striking? Is there something you see that MMA fighters could start adding to their games?
Of course. You can always add something to your game but I think it depends on the athlete and if he’s gifted enough to adapt it. I think the Dutch style of kickboxing has proven itself in MMA already.
You’ve said in the past that fighting in the UFC is just an eventuality. Where do you see yourself fitting into the UFC’s light heavyweight division?
You know, I’m in a position where I can basically do whatever I want in this game of combat sports. I train my boxing, kickboxing and MMA. We’re all prize fighters so we need to make good money to support our families. I’ll go where the money is best. Be it UFC or boxing or kickboxing, it doesn’t matter for me.
It just seems like World Series of Fighting’s 205lbs division is pretty shallow at the moment. They’ve only held two light heavyweight matches, one featuring you and the other your teammate, Anthony Johnson. Would you be open to a fight with Rumble?
No. I train with Rumble almost every day and it’s a different situation. These are the guys who looked out for me when I had just arrived in the States. They showed me around and took care of me. I would never fight Rumble.
How do you feel about competing in GLORY’s one-night tournament? The rumor is you’re slated to face Michael Duut in the opening round of the tourney.
I think I’ve got a great chance to win this tournament but anything can happen. I heard the same rumor but I don’t really know. I just heard the same thing. He’s a young, hungry kid who is pretty aggressive. I know he’s looking to bring the upset. I’m not overconfident, but it should be a great fight.
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