It’s been almost four years since Ryan Ford last competed in a cage, but the wait is finally over.
Ford, 36, spent the last four years making a name for himself in the boxing world, where he compiled an impressive record of 14-3.
After finding success in the boxing ranks, Ford said he’s excited to get back into the cage and combine all the skills he learned in his boxing career so far with the rest of his elite MMA skills.
“I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Ford in an interview.
“It’s a lot different than just boxing. Next Friday, I’m actually going to be able to put my hands on somebody and manhandle them when I want to. If I want to pick him up, slam him and elbow him in the face, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Not only is Ford making a return to MMA, but he’s doing so in front of his hometown fans, family and friends.
Ford said it’s been awhile since he’s competed in MMA or boxing in Edmonton and he’s excited to see the energy and atmosphere inside the River Cree Resort and Casino Friday night.
“It’s going to be awesome. Everyone here is hyped to see me back in the cage,” said Ford.
“It’s going to be a nice, entertaining night for everybody in Edmonton, and I just need to say don’t blink because I don’t get paid by the hour and I’m not trying to make it last.”
In the lead up to this fight, Ford said he received messages from friends showing him what Delanoit had been saying about him on social media.
And while it may come across as your typical hype-up-the-fight trash talk, Ford said he feels Delanoit is only trying to hype himself up to believe he can win this fight.
“A lot of guys need that self-motivation hype, but talk is cheap,” said Ford.
“When I get in the cage, I talk with my fists, my knees, my kicks, and my submissions. Whatever I want to do, that’s how I’m going to talk. As soon as that cage door closes, there’s going to be no typing on the keyboard anymore; he’s going to be right in front of my face.”
Chip on The Shoulder
For Delanoit, he said the trash talking is a result of the big chip on his shoulder from the many occasions he’s been brought in to fight the hometown hero with everyone expecting him to fall.
With the feeling of this being a similar situation, Delanoit, 34, said he wants to make sure he’s on Ford’s mind every minute of every day leading up to the fight, and that it’s nothing personal.
“I know the drill; I know what’s expected. They’re expecting me to come in and get beat up, so f$!% everybody for that,” said Delanoit in an interview.
“When you constantly get brought in from out of town to be the sacrificial lamb, you get a chip on your shoulder. It’s got nothing to do with Ryan Ford, but if he thinks he has an easy fight, he’s in for a rude awakening.”
Delanoit, fighting out of Omaha, NE, is coming in fresh off a submission victory over Steve Mann in May, while Ford hasn’t competed in an MMA fight since 2014.
But despite Ford’s extended absence from the cage, Delanoit said he doesn’t believe in cage rust, and expects Ford to be in as good of form as if he never left MMA.
“I don’t buy into the whole cage rust concept. I’ve taken breaks here and there, and it all comes down to the camp you put in,” said Delanoit.
“But at the end of the day, I couldn’t care less about what Ryan Ford’s doing or how he’s coming out. None of that matters to me. I just focus on me and what I can control.”
Out of Delanoit’s 27 career wins, 25 have been finishes, including 15 by way of submission.
While Ford possesses a similar finish rate, Delanoit said in the end, he will be the one with his hand raised.
“I’m going to punch my way into a takedown, and if he drops then, I’ll TKO him, or if he goes out, he goes out,” said Delanoit.
“Otherwise, I’m getting my takedown, grabbing his neck, and choking him right out.”
“I’d like to thank everybody who’s out here supporting me worldwide. I want to give a big shoutout to all of my sponsors. Without my sponsors, I wouldn’t be able to train full-time, fight full-time and take care of my family. So, I’d like to thank Royal Empire Jewelry, Tydax Fitness, Real Deal Athletics, Genesis Edmonton, The Clinch Fight Shop, Maximum Health & Nutrition, Death Defied, and the Pay it Forward Foundation.”
“I’d like to thank Viking Tattoo, New Dawn Nutrition, and my entire team.”