We all love a ‘Nice Guy’
BritFights caught up with Wendle K Lewis who fights out of Team Titan and who has a fantastic record of 5-0-0. As usual we wanted to find out more about Wendle who has the nickname ‘niceguy’. Wendle is 27 and is a Welterweight fighter who covers all aspects of MMA training, from striking to wrestling and submissions.
Wendle was just nine years old when he first got involved in MMA starting off with Goju-Ryu Karate which is what he entered his first competition under. He tells us he loved it and the fact he had immense butterflies in his stomach, in front of a crowd exhilarated him. He says he liked the fact that the way he fought meant the crowd were enjoying themselves. It was the early years that made Wendle decide to make a living competing as a pro and he still gets the thrill of entertaining the crowd now.
His first Semi Pro MMA fight was in 2005 in Newcastle after eight months of MMA training with the likes of Jess Liaudin, Ashleigh Grimshaw, Dean Jones, Wesley Phoenix and Louis Lamour at Pancrase, London. Wendle has a lot of respect for his team mates past and present as he says they took the time out to guide him in terms of his fighting career and also encouraged him to persevere at times when he couldn’t find fights. He says he became dejected after going almost two years with no activity in the sport. He tells us that Ashleigh Grimshaw is a name that immediately springs to mind as he has been with Wendle since his first session on the mats up until the present day. He says Ashleigh has helped guide him in every aspect of the game from where to train, how to train and how to improve his skill set.
Wendle, as we have said had his first fight in Newcastle in June 2005 and says he was so nervous when he was approached for the fight but thinks all fighters go through the initial nerves. He says when his coach or manager says ‘you’re up’ he gets on with camp and prepares the best way he can. He tell us his first training camp felt surreal as he had to cut weight, stay away from home the night before the fight and attend the weigh-ins. But hardest of all was the waiting around leading up to the fight. He says, he just wanted to get in there and fight. He goes on to tell us that he had a sickly feeling in the dressing room during the warm up and then the runners came to tell him he was up. But Wendle says once his walkout music started, he went on autopilot and everything just felt so natural. He says he can remember throwing every shot to stop his opponent whilst he was looking to take him down. Of his Ground and Pound Wendle says it was more instinctual than technical and it, unfortunately left him disqualified. Although Wendle learned a lot from that fight and the whole experience. He says everyone from the promoters to the spectators loved the fight and kept telling him how exciting it was.
Wendle is due to fight at UCMMA 28 on May 26th against Galore Bafando and will be looking to add to his undefeated professional record. We will certainly be there cheering him on and wish him all the best. Right about now, he will be in camp and we asked what the typical programme is like for him. For Wendle, camp lasts anywhere from seven to ten weeks and he trains five or six days a week and one or two sessions a day with some really talented fighters at Team Titan. He covers all bases and pays close attention to strength and conditioning. As it stands we are a week out from fight night and Wendle is raring to go. I wanted to know if Wendle has any fight night superstitions or rituals. As a strong believer in God, Wendle says he always prays for both his own and his opponents safe keeping before a fight. He goes on to say every fighter is someone’s son, father, brother, husband or boyfriend and win, lose or draw he wants them both to come out of the cage healthy enough to fight again and to return home to loved ones.
Wendle has brothers who practice martial arts, one of which runs his own chain of schools so he has a lot of support and understanding. His father was the first MMA artist he came across having studied different arts such as Judo and Boxing. On his Mother’s side there are also roots in boxing so although Wendle understands any concerns his friends and family might have about the dangers that come with combat sports in general, he says they have always been supportive. Most of his close friends are involved in sport so none are overly surprised with Wendle’s chosen career. Back in Primary School his friends told him that they thought he would do something along the lines of what he does because he was always dedicated to training and practising.
On the subject of MMA being dangerous, Wendle tells us that there are many combat sports or even contact sports that are dangerous. Athletes in any sport run the risk of injury and when it comes to MMA, Wendle believes that sensible preparation helps to minimise the chances of getting hurt.
In Wendle’s last fight he took his first submission win against Andy Cona. I wondered how he felt about that. He says during the preparation he had taken the chance to really try and develop his grappling and had some fantastic grapplers to work with. He says that he honestly felt the fight was scrappy in the beginning as both the fighters were scrambling for dominant positions but he says ultimately he is happy to win with a submission and had told his friends and family that he wanted to end the fight with the Rear Naked Choke that he did.
Wendle has no one he wants to ‘call out’ but is happy with whoever his management put in front of him. Whoever it is, that is who he will prepare for but he is expecting tougher fights. Other than MMA, Wendle works as a personal trainer and loves athletics, basketball and football but has no time to play at the moment as he is so busy with work and training.
So what has been Wendle’s biggest learning curve? He says it is definitely his first fight as he realised so many things: how important cardio is, the importance of being relaxed and not forcing things and he learned that anger can really blind you in the cage if it isn’t channelled the right way. His advice to others getting into MMA is to make full use of the amateur and semi pro competitions to gain experience performing under pressure and with adrenaline running through you. Wendle himself had 7-10 semi pro fights before he turned pro and he learned so much during this time and this helped him transfer into the professional arena. He says the important thing is to take your time and keep an open mind because you never stop learning in MMA at any level.
We have enjoyed learning about Wendle and are very excited about his fight at UCMMA 28. Tickets are nearly gone so if you want to purchase tickets visithttp://www.ucmma.tv/ to find out more. In the meantime, we would like to thank Wendle for his time and in turn he would like to thank the following people in his own words:
I want to thank all the boys at Team Titan, my coaches, management team and sponsors. I want to thank my family and close friends for their support….all the fans who have sent messages wishing me well, asking for advice and commenting on my fights – thank you guys. Last but not least I thank God for giving me my health and the ability to be part of the sport we all love.
Thank you to Charli Edwards of www.littleredcreative.co.uk for use of the fab photos.