Andy Ryan discusses Neil Seery’s next bout, his UFC trajectory and Paul Redmond’s UFC goal


After the announcement of Neil Seery’s third UFC bout against Richie Vaculik in Sydney on November 8, Team Ryano head coach and one of the founding fathers of Irish MMA, Andy Ryan, commented on the his fighter’s opponent, the location of his match-up and his development.

Considering Vaculik as an opponent, Ryan was adamant that Seery meeting the Australian on his home turf should win the Irishman a lot of plaudits should he come away with a victory.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether the guy is a good wrestler or a good striker,” said Ryan, “he’s got roughly the same UFC record as Neil, it’s on his home soil. A win there would be good for us, it should get Neil a bit of acknowledgement.

“Neil has been in two super fights under the UFC banner. His fight with Brad Pickett – everyone thought it was Fight of the Night – and I still believe if Neil had a proper camp he would’ve beaten that guy.

“In Dublin, Neil manhandled Phil Harris for three rounds. Never once did he get mentioned, all of the fans thought he was Fight of the Night that night too. I think he deserves to go over to Australia and show these people what he’s all about. He has been flying under the radar for some reason, but he wasn’t the Cage Warriors champion for nothing.”

Ryan also spoke of how he had been assured by Seery’s management team that they were chasing up fights straight after his triumphant UFC Dublin win over Phil Harris. Reaching out to Sean Shelby himself, the matchmaker referenced the trouble he had with matching flyweights with regard to Seery’s next outing.

However, Seery would be the last of the heroes of the O2 Arena to be matched after the card, with SBG’s Paddy Holohan being granted a pairing with Louis Gaudinot a whole month before Seery would get confirmation of his contest.

Due to the Holohan’s impressive finish of Josh Sampo on July 19 and the momentum of SBG on the UFC landscape, Ryan insisted that he understood why the John Kavanagh product obtained his next opponent before Seery.

He said: “Paddy put on such a good show in Dublin, it was spectacular, and I have no doubt that UFC looked at a young guy like him and thought they could easily push him after it. There’s great hype with SBG and Conor, so I can understand it from that point of view.

“They worked hard to get there, John has done a lot for them guys. I wouldn’t begrudge them for getting matched before Neil, but there are plenty of flyweights out there and we would fight any of them. We’re not waiting for anyone in particular, we want to get about three fights in as quickly as we can and get a shot at that belt.”

One of the most frequent compliments that is afforded to Seery by his team is the fact that his progression in the sport seems to be unrelenting despite his age. Ryan echoed their sentiments:

“It’s very strange to see a guy of his age developing but his wrestling is improving and his jiu jitsu is coming on now too. He’s learning all the time, he looks better than ever.”

Although Valculik doesn’t represent what many believe would be an ideal opponent for Seery – someone that would stand and trade and allow the Irish flyweight to showcase his pugilistic skills – Ryan maintains that his man can match anyone in the division in any department. The Ryano boss also insisted that if Seery had met Demetrious Johnson instead of Chris Cariaso at UFC 178, the Irishman would have given the champion a better challenge.

“Vaculik likes to strike but as soon as he’s losing the striking game he wants to grapple. Neil is a high level jiu jitsu player, he’s a purple belt a long time. Look at his record, most of his wins are submission and he is very hard to submit. It doesn’t bother me what style of fighter we get at all.

“Even looking at Mighty Mouse’s last fight, I know Neil could’ve given him a better go that night. Neil would suit someone like him, he’d go in and scrap him. He hasn’t been given the opportunity to show that,” Ryan said.

Ryan also revealed his shock in seeing the lack of reaction to Seery after the UFC Dublin card given that he elicited some of the biggest cheers of the night when he took on Harris.

“Another thing I was shocked about was the way people were talking about cheers and applause,” he said of UFC Dublin’s post fight acoverage. “Conor was number one and Neil was number two. The crowd seemed to love him that night, they were singing the Fields of Athenry and there was just a great feeling. Even being in his corner, it was emotional.

“Neil busted his ribs when he was over training with the pro boxers in Celtic Warrior a week before that. We had him an ice bath for a couple of days and he was getting treatment. He couldn’t spar and he couldn’t roll. We didn’t say anything to anybody.

“Then he had the death in the family, it just shows you how much of a work horse he is. He just kept coming forward. I think he just needs a nice little break to get him noticed.”

Ryan also discussed Paul Redmond, another charge from the North Dublin gym who many believe will be the next Irishman to sign with UFC.

“He’s still young enough to get a good run going in UFC,” he said of Redmond. “Every fight he’s going for mad submissions from all over the place, then you’ve got his boxing skills – he’s always going out to put on a show. He had one slip up in the last two years.

“In his last couple of fights he has gone through the guys. He doesn’t want to get signed so he can say ‘I’m great, I’m in the UFC’. He wants to win fights. I’ve been talking to Sean Shelby, he’s on their radar and they know who he is. But, if he wants to fight in UFC at 145 they want to see him fight at 145 first.

“I’m in the mind-set of, he’s doing well at 155, maybe if UFC gave him a shot at 155 we can see how he gets on then.

“If UFC were to say they’d give him a run out and it had to be at 145, he would knock his job on the head. He’s not going to do it if he doesn’t know it’s guaranteed though. I’m sorry that there’s not an Ultimate Fighter at that weight, even at 170, I know he’d jump in there. Maybe he needs something like that, a bit of US exposure.

“In Europe there are that many guys trying to get into UFC, trying to make the big shows, he’s probably been shunned a bit because he’s not a big mouth. He’s not calling out people. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t got a crack at Cage Warriors title yet. I don’t know.”


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