“I only hope Ryan has trained as hard as me, because if not it’s going to be one rough night for him. “
Interview by: AJ Hoffman
Gracie Barra North Houston’s Ricky Turcios has made a fast and impressive rise up the Houston flyweight charts. He is coming off a :38 second win in his last fight, pushing his record to 2-0. Now Turcios faces his stiffest challenge yet in Ryan Hollis at next weekend’s Legacy Amateur Series show. We had a chance to talk to Ricky leading up to his 125 lb. title fight.
Turcios: First of all I want to go ahead and say thank you to everyone at TheCageDoor.net for giving me this interview. I began martial arts at the age of 11. I started out with traditional taekwondo. It was a great experience for me, being my first martial arts discipline. I stuck to it, and eventually got my black belt. My freshman year in high school I joined the wrestling team and quickly fell in love with the sport. I had never experienced any type of grappling martial arts before in my life, and making the transition into wrestling was definitely one of the best decisions I had ever made. I joined Gracie Barra North Houston at the age of 15. That was when I began studying in the arts of muay thai and brazilian jiu jitsu. At the age of 16 I competed in the IKF World Classic in Orlando, Florida. It was then that I would win my 1st championship belt in muay thai. At the age of 17 I returned to Orlando and won the IKF World Classic for a second year in a row. At 18 I finally made my MMA debut here in Houston, and the rest is history.
TCD: What do you like to do besides fighting? What other interests do you have?
Turcios: Outside of the cage I am probably one of the chillest guys you’ll ever meet. When I’m not training I like to hangout with my friends, game a lot on Xbox, play poker with my buds, take my girlfriend out on dates, or spend time with the family. Every now and then I’ll pick up a good book to read. Every training camp I like to read at least one motivational book to keep my mind relaxed and focused on my ultimate goal. The book I’m reading this training camp is called “The Way of a Champion” by Jerry Lynch. It’s an extremely motivating book and I’d highly recommend it to anyone, not just fighters or athletes.
TCD: What is GB-NH like these days? Obviously you guys are going through some transitions.
Turcios: Yes, the biggest change that has happened right now is our head coach Chad Robo leaving to Colorado to start the Mighty Oaks Foundation. We all miss him very much. We are all very proud of Chad and what he is doing for our soldiers. As far as the transition goes, we are all still a family and a team here at Gracie Barra NH. Our head coach now is Todd Moore, who has been with us at Gracie Barra for years.
Turcios: My last fight for Legacy in July was a really exciting fight for me. I ended up getting a TKO over my opponent in 38 seconds. He was a tough opponent with a good solid jab. I remember him cutting my left eye open pretty good during that fight. That was my first time ever getting cut open during a fight and I have to admit I did get a little excited about that (laughs). I saw a few weeks ago on txmma.com that I also got fastest Legacy amateur KO/TKO of 2011. It was a big honor to me. As far as what I got out of that fight, I feel that it was another big stamp on my record and it really helped catapult me straight into the title picture. It helped bring me one step closer to my main objective, and that is to be the Legacy Flyweight Champion.
TCD: What do you know about your opponent, Ryan Hollis?
Turcios: I have seen a lot of footage on Ryan on the internet, and I also saw him fight in October at the Verizon Wireless Theatre. He’s a long fighter who likes to stand and strike, but I know he has jiu jitsu as well. He’s a tough dude, but I’m not intimidated by any means. I’ve taken this training camp extremely seriously preparing for this fight. I’m ready for January 21. I only hope Ryan has trained as hard as me, because if not it’s going to be one rough night for him.
TCD: Do you feel any added pressure with this being a title fight? Do you feel like you are ready to go the distance in a title fight?
Turcios: I feel no added pressure with this being a title fight. This training camp has been phenomenal. By far the best camp of my life. I train three times a day, six days a week. In the mornings my teammates and I do MMA drills and/or MMA sparring depending on the day. If there is a morning where we don’t have an MMA session then I’ll go out for a jog or run sprints. Every day in the afternoons at 3pm I go back to my old high school (Klein Oak) for a good solid 2 hours of wrestling practice with their varsity squad. Wrestling has definitely been a big part of my training for this camp. Klein Oak is currently the #1 ranked wrestling team in Houston right now. After wrestling I get about a 2 hour break before I have to go back to the Gracie Barra for muay thai and jiu jitsu training. Then I go home and rest my body, and repeat the process again the next day. I feel more than ready for this fight against Ryan. I’m going to be prepared wherever the fight goes. My body will definitely be ready to go 3 or 5 or even 8 rounds. I’m not afraid of going the distance.
TCD: When you look around at the 125 pounders in the city (Hollis, Jacob Silva, Joe Trevino), how do you feel like you stack up against them?
Turcios: I feel like I stack up well against all of those guys. They are all very good fighters, and none of them are an easy fight, but I train hard and I feel I have the skills and athletic ability to beat any of those guys. My goal is to be the reigning, defending Legacy Flyweight Champion, which means I will have to fight all those guys one day.
TCD: How do you see this fight going?
Turcios: I don’t like to predict how my fights play out. The only thing I see is my hand being raised victorious at the end of the fight with the Legacy belt around my waist.
TCD: What is next for you after this fight, and what are your long term plans with fighting?
TCD: You have anyone you want to thank or anything else to mention?
Turcios: First off I want to thank God. I want to thank my mom and dad for always being there to love and support me. Without them this would not be possible. I want to thank my biggest motivation, my little brother Ryu. I want to thank my girlfriend Anna Alegria for all the loving she gives me. I want to thank all my friends, family, and everyone else who believes in me. I want to thank all my coaches and everyone who works with me at Gracie Barra North Houston. There are way too many to name, but you all know who you are. I want to thank my team at Klein Oak Wrestling, and good luck to you guys this weekend at state duels in Austin. Lastly, I want to give a special shout out to my coach and brother Chad Robo. Everyone at GBNH and myself admires you and all that you are doing for our wounded soldiers. Last but not least thanks again to TheCageDoor.net for all that you guys do for the Houston MMA community.