MMA Life: Supercross and MMA are a Lot Alike, Just ask Rider Ivan Tedesco

Ivan Tedesco AMA SupercrossWhile at first glance, the world of MMA and professional dirt bike racing may seem different, there are more similarities than not when you take a deeper look at it.

Perennial Top 10 AMA Supercross rider Ivan Tedesco of the Hart & Huntington/Dodge Motorsports Kawasaki team pointed out as much when caught up with him recently during his recovery from a broken finger suffered during a race at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles earlier this year.

“It is a one-man sport and you’re out there on your own, but I think having a good team around you is very important,” said Tedesco. “You can’t do it on your own. You need a good trainer or mechanic, coaches and guys in your corner. It is a team sport in that aspect, but once you get out there it’s all about you.”

Having great conditioning and a lot of strength key for any MMA fighter, and Tedesco knows it’s also key for athletes in his sport as well.

“Most people think of (Supercross) as a skill sport, where if you can just get on a dirt bike, you’re good, but there’s the physical aspect of it,” he said. “You have to train a lot, especially cardio-wise. The main event is 20 laps and about 20 minutes of riding, and our heart rate gets up to 180-200 in that 20 minutes, so it is very physically demanding.

“The 450cc bike weighs around 230 pounds and to ride at the level we do, you have to have so much strength to put the bike where you want to. It takes a lot of core strength to be able to muscle that bike and make it do what you want.”

Ivan Tedesco AMA SupercrossWith MMA becoming an increasingly younger sport with fighters in their early 20’s becoming champions, Tedesco sees a parallel in his sport as well with a youth movement.

“You can turn professional in our sport at 16, and they can be in the premier class by the time they’re 19,” he said. “Like Ryan Dungy for instance, he won the AMA Supercross championship in his first year (in 2010) when he was 19 years old.

“These kids are stepping it up to a new level, and it definitely makes us older guys have to learn some new tricks. I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of evolving over the past couple of years and hopefully I can keep on doing that.”

Tedesco also knows firsthand what it takes to become an MMA fighter, as he’s had previous experience training in our sport.

“Probably about 10 years ago when I first turned pro for Supercross, I hired a trainer and did a little bit of jiu-jitsu and boxing and stuff,” he said. “I ended up stopping because I was getting banged up from doing that. I get banged up enough on the dirt bike as it is, so it’s been a while since I tried any of it.

“I got to spar a little bit with the guys. It was fun to do with guys at my same level, but when I tried to spar with guys better than me it wasn’t as fun. (Laughs) I learned a lot and it was a good time. I’ve got a lot more respect for those guys after doing it myself.”

Tedesco could see himself picking up where he left off with his training in the future if possible.

“When I step away from the racing thing and have more time on my hands, I’d like to step back into it and use it to stay in shape and also just to have some fun rolling around with the guys and learn something new,” he said.

“Right now (if I were to compete) I’d probably have to wing it because I don’t know much, but I’d definitely like to learn and become a technician; to be able to not only just know one thing like jiu-jitsu or boxing, but learn everything.”

Turning his attention back to Supercross, Tedesco doesn’t have an exact timeline for when he’ll return to competing off his broken finger, but he says he will be back before too long.

“I don’t really know when I’ll make my return to racing, but it will be as soon as I can,” he said. “I hope I can make the last four or so races. That’s the goal right now. Only time will tell. I’ll make it out there as soon as I’m 100-percent and able to battle it out with the guys.

“I think a lot of the same fans from Supercross watch MMA and (vice versa), so I want to thank all the fans for supporting both. You can go to my website, or check me out on Twitter @ivantedesco.”

(Photos courtesy of Ivan Tedesco on Facebook)

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