Andy Young: The Next Gen Flyweight sets his sights on the BAMMA world title then a place in the UFC
Next Generation Northern Ireland are well-known for producing top quality fighters and Andy Young is no different. The flyweight comes into 2016 in great form having won the UCMMA and British Challenge MMA titles at the end of last year. An experienced fighter, Andy will look to secure a place on the UFC roster by the end of this year. In an interview with Fightstore Media he gave us his plans for 2016, talked about his life as a fighter and discussed the talent coming through Next Generation.
Last year had a lot of ups and downs for the Northern Ireland fighter. He came into 2015 still contracted to Cage Warriors which meant that he was unable to fight for any other promotions.
“I wasn’t sure if they were going under, dissolving or what was happening but I was kept in contract with them which meant I couldn’t fight anywhere else. Eventually when they did dissolve I was able to get a fight in June. It was a weight division up in Kazakhstan. That didn’t go my way but I took it on short notice and it was a great opportunity for me with the M-1 Global promotion. I couldn’t turn it down and I took a lot of experience from it,” said Young.
After this fight his fortune began to change and he’s not looked back since. He’s developed as a fighter and the results have shown that he is one of the top flyweights in Europe. With two titles in the bag he will now look towards the BAMMA title and hope to bring a world title back to Next Generation.
“In September I got a great UCMMA title win over a very tough BJJ black belt called Spencer Hewitt. Then a month later I fought for the British Challenge MMA title. I got the victory against an undefeated opponent. It was a great way to finish the year. I was planning on fighting at BAMMA 23 in November but unfortunately my opponent pulled out. Now I’m looking forward to fighting on BAMMA this year.”
Andy’s aim for 2016 is simple; secure the BAMMA title then ‘get picked up by the UFC by the end of the year’.
Speaking about the UFC’s flyweight division he said, “There’s no one on the roster that I don’t think I’d have a good fight against. That division is very thin so if you get a good few wins in there you can get into title contention a lot quicker than other divisions. I’ll be improving the most I ever have this year. When I’m in the UFC I definitely think that I can go towards that title fight. I’m just going to take it one fight at a time. I know I have all the tools to do it.”
He admitted that he feels a lot more comfortable at Flyweight compared to Bantamweight having fought in both weight classes.
“The weight cut for me is fairly easy. I recover and I’m completely fine on fight day. It sounds stupid but I actually enjoy going through the weight cut. It feels like a small victory once you’ve done it. I love fighting at Flyweight and I feel like my opponents put on better fights with me at that weight class. The guys are my size unlike at Bantamweight where they can be very tall and it makes it boring. I have to chase them around the cage because they’re staying away. Flyweight is definitely the division I want to be at.”
In the past few months Andy has been working hard to improve his training methods. And now he’s beginning to reap the rewards from this new approach to the fight game.
“I’m taking a lot more time to work on functional strength and movement; kind of similar to Ido Portal movement which Conor McGregor likes to use. There’s a lot to that and I’ve been taking a lot more time to recover my body. I had a number of injuries last year so that gave me a wake-up call. I’ve been a lot more sensible with my training and I’ve noticed a lot better results from it. I feel a lot stronger and fitter. I’ve given my body a lot more time to rest. I also started to break down fights and I’ve become much more strategic. I also concentrated on my mental game to make sure my mind is in the perfect place and that showed in my last few fights.”
The new outlook on training has also had an impact on different areas of his game. Having come from a striking background he now admits that wrestling is what he enjoys the most. “I think I’m built to be a wrestler. I feel like I move very smoothly. I’d love to adopt the style of Dominic Cruz and I hope to show stuff like that in my next fight,” he said.
Being a part of Next Generation is very exciting for Andy. The gym is renowned for producing some of the best fighters in Ireland and the UK. The current crop of fighters are causing a lot of excitement within the MMA community and Andy gave us his thoughts on them.
“The guys are doing phenomenal. Rhys (McKee) and Mark Andrew are improving every day and I can definitely see them getting to the UFC in the next few years. They’re putting in a lot of work and the results are starting to show. Conor Cooke is doing the right things by going to America on his own. When you’re willing to go away it’s a big commitment and it shows how badly he wants it. I think he’s got everything he needs to make it. There’s a lot of talent in Next Generation and this year is our year.”
Andy Young is sponsored by FightstorePROi and he expressed what it means to have their support as a fighter.
“It’s phenomenal! FightStorePROi are definitely one of the best clothing and gear websites. They’ve a great range of equipment and products on their site. It means a lot to me to be able to get sponsored by the them and also to get the likes of Revgear. It’s the best gear by far that I’ve worn. It really does make a difference when you’re training and wearing high quality gear.”
Image Source: Andy’s Facebook Page