Leigh O’donnell: “Don’t rush, take your time and enjoy yourself”.

Photo Credit: Ian Allington

Photo Credit: Ian Allington

Caged Predators first show takes place in just one weeks time, live from Audley Sports Centre Blackburn, and competing on the night is Leigh O’donnell who takes on Tom Wignall. 

Just from hearing from Leigh you can tell the passion he has for the sport and how much work he puts into his training to keep developing and testing himself. 

Every fight he has had so far has taught him something and he feels ready for the challenge which Tom will provide on the night in Blackburn and will be pulling no punches in looking for the victory. 

Leigh kindly took some time out to answer some questions ahead of the event and here is what he had to say. 

Thanks for your time Leigh. I wanted to start by looking ahead to Caged Predators 1. It will be there first ever show, how much are you looking forward to being involved with the show?

“I’m really pleased that Rob asked me to be apart of his show, I’ve known Rob for some time and he is a great guy”.

On the night you take on Tom Wignall. Have you managed to find anything out about Tom and what type of challenge are you expecting from him?

“I don’t know much about Tom, other than hes had a few Thai inter club that’s it, so as say if hes a challenge I’ve got to say anyone that steps in front of me has to be a challenge and that i’ll bring my A game”

All the build will be mainly focused on yourself though. Where do you feel you are the strongest and what can people expect from you on the night?

“I’ve trained hard and I’m focused on this fight, don’t want to give anything away but i’ll say I’ve worked on my weak points from last fights and feel really confident😉 “.

Heading into the match up, how much preparation have you had and is there anything specific you have been working on?

“I have been rushed off my feet in prepping myself and few other lads fighting on the show, we have been working on everything from stand up wrestling and jiu-jitsu”.

Are you hoping to have a lot of support on the night and how much does it mean to you to have them cheering you on?

“Yeah I could say I’m hoping to have a lot supporting me and the team, a lot of support from friends family and sponsors and I’ve had a lot of support on the build up like”.

All the martial arts are tough and anyone who wants to be successful, can’t take them lightly, with so much being put into training. But I know a lot of competitors work as well, mixed in with family, so how do you keep yourself motivated to head to the gym when you tired from working?

“Well at the moment I am unemployed and seeking work, so in between doing that and being a family man with two kids I hit the gym every morning after school, run for weights then back again in the night to coach, so as my Mrs would say I pretty much live at the gym lol, and its everybody’s dream to get to UFC level😀 “.

Looking back on the start of your career so far, what would you say are some of the biggest things you have taken from competing?

“Well I have had a few losses on my record from injuries and others from not being in the right frame of mind, so I’ve took all that on board, wiped the slate clean, rid myself of all the negative around me and filled it with positive; don’t rush, take your time and enjoy yourself.

It’s one of the things my old coach (Bob Cassidy) used to say to me before every fight, he taught me a lot – not just all MMA but also to be a better person and I’ve got to thank him for all he has done for not just me but others as well”.

You train with a fantastic team. Who have been some of the bigger influences on your development there?

“Well I’ve got to say a big thanks to Stan Dewhurst for strength conditioning and nutrition, Lewis Bailey for his help with my Muay Thai, Craig Heasley for extra sessions at his gym when he cant make it through to ours, my missus Chloe and my kids, Bob Cassidy for getting me into the sport and the rest of team flexmma”.

I see that you are also a coach as well. How did you first get into coaching and how good is it for your own MMA game, to be able to coach others?

“Well I used to help Bob out a lot, he made me assistant coach, showed me the ropes of coaching and then when he left due to work he left the gym to me, so I carried on doing what I do”.

And finally, is there anybody you would like to thank/give a shout out to?

“Well first thank you for interviewing me, id like the thank all members of flexappeal gym and flexmma/millom, Lee Kellett for helping me with my boxing, my missus Chloe, my kids, all my friends and family and to all my Sponsors: Chrie & Ross at ImpactLPA, TUFF, woodys airport taxi, my auntie Janet simply pleasure beauty therapy and Ricky Barton cheekyfun.co.uk and also a big thanks to Rob Freedman for having me”.

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