Lewiston, Maine (July 31, 2014) – Ryan Quinn (10-4-1) is well-known to New England mixed martial arts (MMA) fans. Currently the number-two ranked professional lightweight in the region, Quinn has been a staple of the New England fight scene since his amateur debut in 2007. On September 6 in Lewiston at “NEF XIV,” Quinn makes his debut for New England Fights Mixed Martial Arts (NEF MMA) when he meets “THE” Ryan Sanders (6-5). It will be his first fight on Maine soil. Quinn was a recent guest on the NEF Podcast with NEF MMA co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. He touched on many subjects, including the upcoming bout with Sanders, his training with American Top Team (ATT), and his time fighting for national promotion Bellator.
Quinn was born and raised in Connecticut. It was there that he began his athletic endeavors in the sport of wrestling. In high school, Quinn was a two-time All American. He went on to wrestle at the Division 1 level at Sacred Heart University. It was not until he returned home that Quinn entered the world of grappling and MMA.
“I ran into other people around who said, ‘you should try out grappling,'” recalled Quinn of his introduction to the sport. “So I did try out grappling. Of course, all these grappling gyms also have MMA, so grappling led to that. I had an amateur fight. I won it. I won my next amateur fight, and the rest is history. I turned professional and here I am. I just wanted to take it to the next level, so I moved down to Coconut Creek, Florida to train with American Top Team.”
ATT is one of the most well-respected MMA teams in the entire world. Co-founders Ricardo Liborio and Conan Silveira have trained a virtual “who’s who” of elite fighters including Glover Teixeira (22-3), Brad Pickett (24-9), Thiago Alves (20-9) and Robbie Lawler (24-10) just to name a few. The list of ATT alumni who have found success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator, and other top national and international fight promotions reads like a short novel. Maine wrestling legend, former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Featherweight Champion of the World, and current UFC competitor Mike Thomas Brown (26-9) is an assistant MMA coach at ATT and trains with Quinn regularly. Quinn likens the relationships at ATT to those of a family, making his move from Connecticut to Florida an easy transition.
“It’s like a second family,” Quinn said of ATT. “It’s hard to say that it was hard to move here because we’re all so close. Everyone’s chasing the same dream. Everyone’s supporting everyone… We’re all on the same routine. I learn something from everybody, from the coaches straight down to the kids I teach in the wrestling program. It really is amazing. I really can’t say enough about how much I learn from everyone and how every day I just feel getting better just from being there.”
The podcast interview turned towards the topic of fight preparation. Quinn is known as a wrestler who specializes in grinding out victories on the MMA mat over other dominant wrestlers who are themselves known as “grinders” like Mike Winters (7-4) and Marc Stevens (16-9). Quinn was asked what his mindset is when approaching such a physical battle.
“I don’t really have a mindset,” answered Quinn. “I know there’s a game plan. I watch video of my opponents, a couple times. Then, I let the coaches watch it. And from there I’m just getting what my coaches do… I got over 150, close to 200, wrestling matches under my belt, probably 100 grappling bouts, 15 pro MMA fights, 3 amateur fights, I’ve been there before. I do get those goose bumps and I get those nerves. If you don’t have those goose bumps, I think you’re in the wrong business. I just know what I’m doing. I don’t really focus on what really he’s (his opponent) going to do. I know what I’m going to do. I have a lot of confidence. I don’t care what his record is.”
Quinn has amassed an incredible 6-0 record fighting for Bellator since 2010. His last fight for the promotion was earlier this year and resulted in a victory over tough MMA veteran Andrew Calandrelli (6-4). Despite going undefeated in the promotion for four years, Quinn was never offered a spot in one of the Bellator season tournaments. He has now chosen to move on and seek fights elsewhere.
“I was very frustrated they never put me in,” Quinn said of not being placed in a Bellator tournament. “That’s history now. They’re making moves over there… Whenever it was face-to-face, everything was very cordial. Everything was good. One of my opponents got hurt and he had to pull out the morning of, and they got me an opponent. That’s not easy to do, especially for an undercard fighter. I gotta give them credit for that. For me, the writing was on the wall that they just didn’t plan on doing anything with me personally. I can’t speak for everyone under the banner. I was just ready to take my chances and see what else happens with my career.”
Quinn then spoke on his weaknesses and where an opponent like Sanders could capitalize during a bout. Quinn laid out a game plan as an opponent if he were to be the one facing himself.
“I’ve had some bad losses from striking,” admitted Quinn. “Probably just trying to stick and move, stick and move. Or, take me down and put me on my back. A lot of people have that theory with wrestlers. ‘Oh, if you get the wrestler on his back it’s all good.’ I’m a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so I’m fine on my back. The game plan for someone like me is to take me out of my element as far as pushing the pace, putting my back against the wall.”
Quinn and Sanders are no strangers to one another. They met as amateurs in 2008, Quinn handing Sanders his first taste of defeat in the sport. Six years later, Quinn was asked to reflect on his memories of their first encounter.
“He was very gracious in defeat,” recalled Quinn. “He actually came up to me before the weigh-ins and said, ‘hey, I’m Ryan Sanders.’ I always think that’s very admirable for someone to go up to their opponent and say, ‘hey, what’s going on?’ That was stuck in the back of my head. He was real cool before and after the fight. I just remember being able to out-wrestle him a lot. That’s really all I did back then was wrestle and try to grapple. Up until my tenth pro fight, I was a wrestler in mixed martial arts. Now, I’m a mixed martial artist using my wrestling. I just remember being able to wrestle and dominate him.”
When asked for a prediction on the upcoming fight at “NEF XIV,” Quinn replied, “I’m gonna go in there, I’m gonna win. I really feel good about it.”
To listen to the full NEF Podcast interview with Ryan Quinn, please visit www.NewEnglandFights.com/Podcasts/.
You can follow Ryan Quinn on Twitter @ryanquinnatt Twitter and on the official Ryan Quinn fan page on Facebook, RyanQuinnMMA.
NEF MMA’s next event, “NEF XIV,” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with a bell time of 7:00 pm. In the main event of the evening, Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia (31-9) returns to Maine to face fellow UFC veteran Christian Morecraft (8-3) for the Super-Heavyweight Title. Featherweight Champion Ray “All Business” Wood (4-0) returns from injury after a year of recovery against Brazil’s Gabriel Baino (6-1). Bantamweight Champion Paul Gorman (10-8) defends against Tim “The Terror” Goodwin (8-4). Plus, Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (6-7) and Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (3-2) will meet for the Lightweight Title, Ryan Sanders (6-5) faces Ryan Quinn (10-4-1), and John “First Class” Raio (2-5) competes in his final fight.
Tickets for “NEF XIV” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling The Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 525. For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com. In addition, you can watch NEF MMA videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”