“I hear I’m the underdog and that nobody knows me, so I’m trying to make my name right now.”
Interview and Photos by: Barry Laminack
Though he is relatively new to the MMA game, Marc Ramirez fights like a veteran. He’s only been pro for just over 2 months and already he’s got a shot a title against the number one fighter in Houston in Adam Schindler.
Marc’s a cool customer inside the cage and out. I spent a little time with him on the phone, but that was enough to convince me that he has a great head on his shoulders. An aspiring fire fighter, he’d rather hang out with his family or train than hit the clubs and party. With that kind of dedication, it’s no wonder his rise to the top has been so quick.
I caught up with Marc via phone in between training session number 3 and 4 for the day. We talked about a wide range of topics, including his upcoming fight for the IXFA lightweight title on Dec 4th.
Marc: I’m 20.
TCD.net: Is MMA something that you want to do as a career?
Marc: Yeah, I’ll take it as far as I can take it. Right now, this is the only way I’m making an income because right now I’m a student.
TCD.net: Where do you go to school?
TCD.net: What’s your major?
Marc: I’m going to my associates and then I want to join the Houston Fire Department.
TCD.net: Have you always wanted to be a firefighter?
Marc: Well, my dad was a firefighter and he told me to get in the Fire Department because they have a good pension and you only work 2 days a week so I can use the other days to train.
TCD.net: Tell me something about Marc Ramirez that most people don’t know.
Marc: That I love animals.
TCD.net: What is your favorite animal?
Marc: Lions and tigers.
TCD.net: What is it about lions and tigers that you like so much?
Marc: Because they are top of the food chain. Nothing eats a lion and nothing eats a tiger, except another lion or tiger. It’s like when we are in the cage, we are like two lions going at it.
Marc: When I was 15 years old my dad sent me to this guy who did personal training. We started off with self-defense stuff and at the time he was taking BJJ. He was a blue belt so he was showing me stuff that he learned.
When I turned 16 I went to a gym and I could tell I was picking up on the stand up more than the ground stuff faster, so I would do boxing once a week for about a year.
After that, I moved to Urban Jungle when I was 17 and I’ve been there every since. One day Tony [Torres-Aponte] came up to me and asked me if I wanted to fight and I told him sure.
TCD.net: When was your first fight as an amateur?
Marc: October 16th of last year.
TCD.net: How many fights did you have as an ammy?
TCD.net: What is it about fighting that keeps you interested? What do you love about it?
Marc: The competition. You’re challenging yourself while you are challenging everybody else. While your fighting, it’s you versus the other guy. There is nobody else that can do anything about it like in a team sport.
When you play a game, you have other players on the field. This is just you and him. What you practice is how you perform.
TCD.net: Walk me through your first fight at IXFA when you won in just 12 seconds. That was crazy. Was your goal to go in there and bang and end it early?
Marc: Yeah, I think I have pretty good standup compared to the average MMA fighter. I new my standup was going to be better than his, but I didn’t know I was going to dominate that much.
TCD.net: So was it part of you game plan to go in there and submit Kierre Gooch at the WGC?
Marc: Really, there is no game plan. He gave me his back and then he slipped up and let me get my arm under his throat so I capitalized on his mistake. He came out hard, I’ll give him that, but in the second round he was gassed. I caught him with a knee and I guess it just turned around for me from there.
TCD.net: I hear he’s stronger than he looks, is that true?
Marc: Oh yeah, man that boy is strong.
Marc: I know he’s a good wrestler, so I’ve been working on my takedown defense, and even getting my own takedowns.
TCD.net: So, do you have a prediction for the fight?
Marc: Yeah, if not the first round then it will be third?
TCD.net: Any clue how you finish it?
Marc: If it’s in the first round it’s going to be a TKO. In the third round it’ll be a submission.
TCD.net: Is it all intimidating to be fighting the guy who is considered the best in the city and is so highly regarded, having beat some high level guys like Brain Melancon?
Marc: Not at all. The way I see it is, he beat them he hasn’t beat me. Once he beats me, I’ll congratulate him and give him everything he deserves. All the talk really does is make me hungry. I hear I’m the underdog and that nobody knows me so I’m trying to make my name right now.
TCD.net: So when you started fighting last year, did you think that in just one year you’d be fighting for a title against the #1 fighter in Houston?
Marc: No. The opportunity presented itself so I’m going to capitalize on it.
TCD.net: What does it mean to you to know that the guys from IXFA (Chris Reed and Scott Dawson) think highly enough of you to give you this title shot?
Marc: It keeps me hungry. It makes me train hard. Like I told you when we first started talking, this is my 4th time at the gym. I went at 6am this morning, then at 10:30 this morning, then 6pm tonight and now [9:00pm].
TCD.net: Before we go, I have to ask, any plans for an after party this time? Last time at IXFA, during your interview in the cage with Adam Villareal, you said you didn’t plan one so you invited everyone to your house.
Marc: Yeah. It’s at my house again. Everybody is invited to come out and eat some food and show some love.
Marc: Yeah man!
TCD.net: Win or lose?
Marc: If he beats me I’ll make his plate!
TCD.net: Anybody you’d like to thank before we go?
Marc: Urban Jungle, Tony Torres-Aponte, Robert Lopez, Juan Gonzales, Lee Higgins, Bryan Garcia, Kyle, Daniel, Cameron and Longs Boxing as well.
TCD.net: Cool man, thanks for the interview.
Marc: Thank you.