Ahead of UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs McDonald, at Wembley Arena, Andy Ogle took time to speak to me about his experiences on The Ultimate Fighter: Live, his UFC debut and his upcoming fight with Josh Grispi.
Many people will remember Andy Ogle from his time on the first ever Ultimate Fighter: Live series, which took place from 9th March to 1st June 2012. It was the first time that UFC had gone away from the pre-recorded six-week version of the show and moved to put the fighters into the house for 13 weeks. Ogle defeated Brendan Weafer, via unanimous decision, to secure his place in the house.
Once in the house he was Urijah Faber’s seventh pick, joining Al Iaquinta, Cristiano Marcello, Daron Cruickshank, Joe Proctor, Michael Chiesa, John Cofer and Chris Saunders on Team Faber. All his team-mates and opposing team members knew they were part of something special and for Ogle it was an experience that will always be remembered and a format that is more unique than the six-week show.
“It was great to be involved in a show that got me involved in mixed martial arts. The guys that i shared the experience with will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first and what seems to be the last live show. I am grateful for being part of the first and possibly last group of contestants on the ultimate fighter live”.
Being part of Team Faber meant being involved with coaches from Faber’s famous gym: Team Alpha Male. But not just that it was the chance to throw himself into his training and focus on making himself a better fighter.
“It was a dream come true. All I had to do was eat and sleep and train. I didn’t have to drive, text, phone people, watch TV or talk to anyone if I didn’t have to. I got called before training to make sure I was ready and then taken back to the house when finished. The coaches were there at my disposal which was fantastic.”
As the show went on Ogle would impress. He worked hard to improve his game and this was shown when he defeated, Team Cruz’s, Mike Rio by submission in his preliminary fight. He moved onto the quarter-final but he was TKO’d by Al Iaquinta. Ogle recovered and was looking forward to fighting on the, season ending, finale card. But he was told that he couldn’t due to a medical suspension after his last bout. This shook Ogle but he was given a reprieve. A chance to fight at UFC: Nottingham against another ‘TUF’ Alumni, Akira Corassani. It was a great fight but Ogle would go onto lose a split decision. Even though Ogle was a little nervous everyone thought/knew he had done enough to get the win. But the loss provided Ogle a few tips for his next fight.
“Well I didn’t believe in UFC jitters before but now I do. I don’t believe i fought to my potential but I believe that I won it. Next time I’ll just try to make sure that it doesn’t get left in the hands of the judges. Both guys train their asses off and it can be hard to not leave it in their hands but this time i am aiming to finish it for sure. It kind of feels nice thought that I lost in that fashion. I entertained and didn’t get finished in the fight. If anything I kind of feel sorry for Akira because he may have got his hand raised but nobody feels that he won that apart from two judges. Even Dana thought I’d won.
Luckily his UFC dream hasn’t ended and Dana White has given him a chance to prove his worth. At Wembley Arena, Saturday 16th February, he will fight again with home field advantage. Is this something Andy likes?
“When the cage door closes it doesn’t really matter where you are. It will be nice before the fight but at the end of the day I am there to do a task and I shall be 100 percent focused on the task at hand. The only true positive is not traveling too far to fight. Cutting weight and traveling across the world sucks.”
His next fight is against Josh Grispi. He has a 14-4 record and is currently on a three fight losing streak. This fight could be his last in the UFC and he is fighting to keep his job. But so is Andy. He knows that he might not have another shot in the UFC and a win is the most important part for him.
“He’s either going to come out guns blazing or he’s going to come out gun-shy. It’s his job on the line and possibly mine. Lets just have fun. I’ve focused on my game and not focused on his. I’ll let him worry about me because I am not going to worry about him. If I do my job well then it will be him having to worry.”
Since The Ultimate Fighter Ogle has relocated and is training at one of the UK’s top gyms: Team Kaoban. While there he gets the chance to work on all aspects of his game. But which is Andy’s favourite martial art and how does he view his new gym?
“I train with the best people in the UK and under the best coach in the UK…fact! And my favourite part? It is that if you don’t want to work on something because you are bored with it or it’s becoming a little bit stale and you need a bit of time away from something there are so many areas of the game in which you can work on then come back to it at a later date. I just so happen to love everything now but when I first started I did like to swap and change my favourites here and there. But now there isn’t a part which I don’t love. I would now say though that my favourite is pushing myself and seeing how far I can go with something. I am a bit of a cardio freak and I love to see how far my engine can be pushed. This last week I have done 6 5′s on the pads as hard as possible with 15 seconds rest between rounds. Now if i can do 3 5′s with a minutes rest between round on the 16th then there is not a problem. I think maybe I can do three 5′s with one lung. Lance Armstrong has nothing on me.”
Training fills up a lot of a fighters time but there is also quite a bit of downtime. I have always wanted to know what keeps a fighter occupied when he is away from the cage and Andy provides a great insight into how it is for him.
“I like to read. Nothing is better than reading. It takes me away from fighting and into a different place. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in Kaoban dorms or in my car. I can be traveling across the country or a different world with just the power of words written on a page.”
It’s safe to say that reading is a powerful tool for Mr.Ogle who is even immersing himself in a challenge away from the octagon.
” I am currently reading a book a week for the next 52 weeks. It’s a challenge I have given myself. Some books like ‘Slaughterhouse 5′ are only 157 pages long which means they can be done in two days. This allows me to then pick up books like ‘Les Miserables’ and read it for two weeks. I get a lot of time to read between sessions and I love it”.
For Andy Ogle time is still on his side. He has along way to go in the sport and we can only see him rising further up the ladder. But what is his highlight so far?
“I am still yet to live my highlight moments as I am only 23 years old, but so far it is definitely walking out at Nottingham. It took my breath away and definitely added to the UFC jitters. It was mind-blowing and nearly brought a tear to my eye”.