Big Ben Smith
With Ultimate Challenge 23 just over a week away, I caught up with Ben Smith (9-5-0) to ask him about himself and his feelings about his second fight against Darren Towler (5-6-0). I always wonder how fighters start out in the field of MMA and Ben tells me that it was purely by accident. From his late teens he lifted weights which gave him a good training ethic and good grounding for his fight career. It was literally when he started watching UFC five years ago that he fell in love with the sport.
Ben was a doorman for many years and liked the grappling side to MMA so started to do BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) a couple of nights a week to take away the boredom of his weight training routine. He tells me he never had any intention of fighting but his trainer at the time suggested that he enter an amateur MMA tournament which he enjoyed immensely and also did very well in. Not long after this tournament he was offered his first professional fight and although he originally had no intention of being a fighter, he jumped at the chance. There were a lot of nerves but it was this fight that made him realise he had found something he loved enough to want to do full time.
A lot of fighters have idols or people they look up to in the sport but Ben has no one in particular that he idolises. He does however have respect for all fighters who put in the effort and step into the cage. He enjoys exciting fighters who finish fights. With 9 wins, 3 by KO and 6 by Submission, it is obvious Ben gives 100% and fights for the win rather than the decision. Ben fights out of Team Titan, Keddles Gym, Legacy BJJ and Metroflex Gym and says training is a hard regime that he carries out two or three times a day, five days a week. He doesn’t specifically train in one discipline but covers all aspects of MMA and concentrates on a lot of strength and conditioning work. This is the same routine during fight week, training until the Thursday before a Saturday fight, the only difference being he doesn’t spar during this week.
Being a full time fighter, this leaves Ben very little time for anything else. He still works at a few nightclubs in the evenings but that is it. When he isn’t training, eating or working, he said he can usually be found sleeping! Sounds like with all the hard work he puts in that sleeping is a thoroughly good choice as a pastime!
When it comes to superstitions or pre fights rituals, Ben says the only thing he always does before a fight is drink a can of Monster Energy but other than that he is a believer in the mantra ‘we reap what we sow’.
As a parent myself, I wonder what it would be like to watch one of my children fighting but Ben says his friends and family love it and that his parents are probably his biggest fans! He feels they see he is in a great place. After spending years doing a job that paid very well but made him unhappy, he is now getting paid to do something he loves and there is no better feeling than that.
So how is Ben feeling about his opponent Darren Towler? Ben beat Darren in the first round of the first match up between the two of them by submitting him with a rear naked choke. This however, is not lulling Ben into a false sense of security, if anything he is aware that Darren will want to avenge his loss and says he is probably training harder than ever right now. Ben obviously does not want to lose, especially to somebody he has already beaten plus he wants his belt back after being defeated by Oli Thompson back in March this year. Ben feels Darren has improved a great deal since they last met and feels he was a lot more confident in his last fight against Tomasz Czerwinski, maybe the weight increase boosted his confidence. Although Ben felt in the last meeting that Darren had him in a little bit of trouble, he managed to stay calm, reverse the situation and win. He has respect for Darren and says he is a great guy. The first fight between them is Ben’s personal favourite as he feels he showed some good skills against a much bigger man. Is he nervous about fighting Darren for the second time? He says a lot of the nerves aren’t there anymore as you have already got the measure of your opponent and that allows you to have a better fight. But he does want to add that there just might be a few tricks up his sleeve! And once the business is done on the night, Ben says the loser will be buying the drinks for sure!
Finally, Ben would like to thank all of his friends, family and supporters for continuing to believe in him and a huge thank you goes to his sponsors Sugarhut Nightclub, Sci-MX Nutrition and Fightpro Dental. If you should be anywhere on the 17th September 2011 it has to be at Troxy to see this Heavyweight clash between Ben Smith and Darren Towler, it looks like it could be explosive.