by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
“Impressive” is the first word that comes to mind when thinking back to Miletich-trained fighter Andrew (Drew) McFedries’ Ultimate Fighting Championship debut. McFedries came into his first fight for the mixed martial arts juggernaut tasked with facing Alessio Sakara, the man many considered one of the best pure boxers competing in the organization at the time.
McFedries appeared to take a lot of punishment early in his fight with Sakara – though one would have never known by seeing him afterwards – but what was maybe even more impressive than his apparent lack of injury was the fact that he beat the stand up artist by TKO… and he did it on his feet.
Yeah, you heard it right. It took McFedries less than one round to land heavy leather with those four ounce gloves and equip his Italian opponent with a one way ticket to queer street. The man so heavily touted for his stand-up skills was TKO’d by a man making his Octagon debut. McFedries’ plans to upset Sakara had been realized and he had officially arrived in the UFC.
His ascent in the middleweight division was short lived, however. When McFedries faced Martin Kampmann at UFC 68 in Columbus, Ohio, this time he was the one who was lying unconscious on the Octagon floor at fights’ end, not his opponent.
His displacement from consciousness against Kampmann was from neither a nicely timed knockout punch nor a well-placed kick, it was instead courtesy of a Kampmann arm triangle that McFedries waited too long to – or simply refused to – tap out from.
After his loss to Kampmann, he came back strong with a KO victory over Jordan Radev and with that win put himself back into a position to make a run for the UFC’s middleweight title.
McFedries is now faced with tough Canadian striker Patrick Cote. If ever he wanted to truly test out both his chin and his stand-up ability, this fight may provide just the occasion.
He said of his upcoming opponent, “I wouldn’t say that it’s fun necessarily (to train for an opponent who excels in the stand up game), but I will say that I’m not expecting him to try to take me down. But more or less, there’s really not too many guys that stand with me.”
While Sakara might have been the most technically proficient boxer that he has faced in the UFC, Cote might very well be the most devastating one. In a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio, Cote said of his upcoming fight with McFedries, “I have a good chin and I can take a punch and I can knock everybody out… I’m ready for everything.”
With that statement, the Canadian is clearly geared up to trade blows with McFedries, but what will be interesting to see will be what game plan McFedries chooses to utilize in this fight. Will he choose to test the waters standing, or will he try to make it a ground battle since Cote has had a variety of notable struggles there?
He didn’t disclose his specific game plan, but he did tell MMAWeekly, “If you look at my record, if you know anything about me, you know everything I do is TKO’s. Even the guys who beat me, you know I come out of there looking just fine and they still are all still chopped up in one way or another. So, he can’t be thinking that he’s going to stand with me the whole time.”
One thing that helps McFedries prepare for such tough fights is training at the world-renowned Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS). Training at MFS affords him the opportunity to train with a number of talented fighters in his weight class, perhaps none more well known than Robbie Lawler, a man who currently holds middleweight titles in two different organizations.
Of training with such great partners, he said, “It’s exciting for me. Me and Robbie, we actually went to high school together too, so we’re real competitive against each other cause we want to prove to our hometown who’s better, me or him. But at the same time, we’re good friends. We don’t injure each other. We push each other in training and we even push each other through matches.”
All of his hard training with Lawler and all of the other MFS guys has prepared him for battle and when asked what he expects the outcome to be when he and Cote lock horns, McFedries said, ” I’m just going to tell it like I always tell it. I’m going to come out swinging trying to knock him out. That’s what I’m always looking for and I’m always looking for an easy paycheck.”
He finished by saying; “I’m going to try to finish him in the first. Standing, on the ground, however it works out… I’m always trying to finish it in the first and I’m trying to give the most exciting show I can. That’s my only prediction.”