Richard Walsh talks about training at Alpha Male, Alan Jouban and his Irish Connection


Richard Walsh (8-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is a TUF: Nations veteran, as well as the most accomplished Australian fighter to appear on that season, and the only one to make it to the semi-finals. Since then he has gone 1-1 in the UFC with the loss coming via controversial decision to Kunimoto (18-6-2 (1 NC) MMA, 3-1 UFC).

Walsh competed extensively before becoming a professional athlete. He has fought in both amateur Muay Thai and boxing where he holds records of 10-0 and 6-0 respectively. He is also a former Brazilian Jiu Jitsu state champion.

With a name like Richard Walsh there was obviously an Irish connection but that can be true of a lot of Australian families.

“Yeah mate, obviously some people are starting to know who I am this is my third fight in the UFC. What a lot of people don’t know is both my parents are Irish, but obviously I was born in Australia. Got a bit of a connection to you guys over there!”

As someone who has been on the Australian scene for a while, Walsh is delighted to see the growth in MMA in his country. With two seasons of TUF and the growth of new promotions it mirrors the sudden explosion in Irish MMA following the success of guys like Conor McGregor and the impact in had on the martial arts scene in Ireland.

“It’s a bit similar in Australia, there are a majority who still call MMA, UFC. But it’s starting to come around. We’ve always had a lot of Muay Thai in Australia, Thailand is pretty close so people have been going to and from there for many years. Kickboxing kind of exploded in the early-mid 2000’s but it has been slowly drifting back towards mixed martial arts.”

With a wealth of world class kickboxing talent such as Nathan Corbett, John Wayne Parr and newer talent such as Pamorn Martdee it’s unsurprising that the Team VT1 fighter displays some crisp striking, which can only be enhanced by The Gunslinger John Wayne Parr being in his corner. Something that will no doubt prove useful when facing the technical Jouban.

“John’s gonna be in my corner this fight. It’ll be cool to have a guy who’s ten time World Muay Thai Champion helping me out. The guy I’m fighting is a pretty straight up kickboxer, likes his knees and elbows. I think it’ll be an interesting fight on the feet.”

On the subject of Jouban, Filthy Rich is looking forward to showcasing his skills and putting on an exciting fight at the Staples Centre.

“He’s a little bit scrappy, but more technical than people think. He doesn’t like to take too many steps back and likes to be on the front foot. That suits me cos that’s my style too, look for us to butt heads quite a bit.”

On the heels of his controversial loss to Kunimoto Walsh rededicated himself to training, taking care of a couple of injuries as well as tightening up holes in his game.

“Just been getting on with it mate. Sharpening my strengths, working on my weaknesses. Catching up with the time zone here in the states. Been watching my diet more closely, being more and more professional about everything. Every fight is distilling it more and more to an exact science for me. I know it’s cliché but this really has been the best camp I’ve had.”

“It’s funny, because it’s such an individual sport everything is trial and error. There’s no handbook: This is MMA, you have to try and learn what works best for you along the way.”

In addition to his regular training at Team VT1 in Sydney, Walsh has now been out at Team Alpha Male twice wish has helped his game in a number of ways.

“Just being around that culture with a contingent of guys who are switched on, in it for the right reasons and doing all the right things. You can’t beat that anywhere else in the world, having fifty top level guys on the mats. In Australia I focus mainly on getting the technical aspects down with my coaches while at Alpha Male I could focus on diet and getting rounds in.”

Whilst out in Sacramento he worked with a fellow Australian in Adam Corrigan who is a multi-time national and world Tae Kwon-Do champion as well as an Olympic competitor.

“Because my opponent is southpaw I wanted to work with Corrigan because he’s able to switch back and forth. I only wanted to work southpaw style so that I could ingrain in my head to move outside the foot instead of avoiding the power hand. It’s helped me a lot, it’s been fun.”

As for the experience of being part of such a huge pay-per-view card headlined by the women’s Bantamweight champion, Walsh displays the relaxed attitude of a veteran.

“It’s nice knowing that I’m part of something big but I don’t let it get to me and hype me up. I’d rather conserve my energy for the fight and the party afterwards. After all, I am Australian and I have to keep the national image going. And after every fight I like to take 2-3 weeks off of downtime, because you’re only in this sport a finite number of years. It’s nice to have a little holiday and focus on weaknesses and things like flexibility, bodyweight etc as well as have some fun. You can’t just drill yourself into the ground all year round.”

“Finally I’d just like to give a shout out to my gym VT1 as well as my sponsors: Allfire, Mitsubishi, pain away, torque and friends and family.”

You can catch “Filthy” Richard Walsh’s bout opposite Alan Jouban on the main card of UFC 184 this Saturday, February 28th. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter as Richy Walsh MMA, and instagram as @richufc.

By Ian Holland

Owner/Editor of Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.

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