THE Shoalhaven has a new MMA cage fighting champion after Kevin Ryan brought home a welterweight title belt in the Storm Damage 3 fight series.
Ryan, 27, travelled to Canberra to compete at the Canberra Southern Cross Basketball stadium last Saturday.
The St Georges Basin local fought in Storm Damage 3, a mixed martial arts professional cage fighting series which attracted some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s best fighters.
It was a bit of a rocky lead-up for Ryan, who was only given two weeks to prepare for his fight against Newcastle’s Leo Diaz.
Made even more difficult, the rounds also went for five minutes instead of three.
But Ryan stepped into the cage on Saturday at full strength and gave Diaz no chance.
Ryan was all technical aggression as he took Diaz to the third round before he delivered a technical knock out.
“It is a good feeling bringing the belt back to the Shoalhaven,” he said.
“It is definitely the best I have done and definitely a highlight to get a belt in that area.”
The mechanic trains with Warhammer club, a small Nowra based non-profit-organisation.
He has been fighting for five years and said he loves the fitness aspect of the sport and seeing what he can do with his body to get it in the best shape.
“I started in jiu-jitsu and kick boxing and went from there. I started to win, and then I just kept going,” he said.
“But I also for the feeling I get going into the cage and not knowing the outcome. It is a feeling like nothing you have ever felt before,” he said.
Ryan has now set his sights on preparing to try out in September for the UFC: The Smashes series, where he will fight for one of eight Australian spots.
Ryan said that if he was given a place it would be the pinnacle of his career.
Ryan thanked local boxer Daniel Jones, his sponsor Frankies Auto Electrics, and the team at Warhammer.
“Last but not least, my fiancé, Alyce, for putting up with all the hard training and fitness everyday,” he said.