by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Super-heavyweight standout Rex Richards is angry. After starting his mixed martial arts career with five straight wins, he lost his first fight ever late last year to now Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Shane Carwin. Now he’s out for redemption.

Richards, a former lineman in the National Football League and Arena Football League, is a rare combination of size, speed, power and finesse, and will look to get back on his roll this coming Saturday in Ultimate Warrior Challenge’s “Invasion” show taking place at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.

“I’ve been training harder, and I’ve kind of got more of a nasty feeling this time,” said Richards of his first fight of the year. “I’m going into this fight more angry than usual.

“I guess we’ll find out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to get the blood on the mat and finish this guy.”

While the UWC event will be the first time Richards has fought this year, he had originally been slated to make his 2008 debut at the recent YAMMA Pit Fighting event, but was unable to compete.

“Training one day, I got a high ankle sprain,” he explained. “It’s healed up perfectly now, but it didn’t give me enough time to do the cardio I needed to get down to heavyweight.

“I’m really kind of bummed out after that happened, because I wanted to be in the finals fighting Travis Wiuff.”

When asked if he would possibly like to face the YAMMA heavyweight titleholder in the future, Richards replied, “Yeah, that’s definitely something I’m interested in, in the future.

“I’d love to fight Travis. He’s a very talented fighter and someone I’d love to trade skills with.”

Instead, Richards is now slated to face a fighter that recently suffered his first loss – ironically at YAMMA – Antwain Britt at UWC this Saturday.

It’s a match-up that he feels could be within his favor, and he’s not afraid to head directly into the lion’s mouth to get the victory.

“I think as far as striking goes, I’ve knocked a few guys out in the ring, too,” commented Richards of Britt’s strong point. “I’m definitely not scared to stand with this guy and go punch-for-punch.

“I’ve got a reach and weight advantage, and if I feel that’s not working, I’ll take it to the ground. I’m very confident on my back, with the mount and side control; and I like to pound people out or get the submission.”

Richards continued his breakdown of the fight by saying, “I think it’s going to be a very entertaining fight. I’ve watched some video on him, and he’s not scared to brawl.

“I wouldn’t even call him so much a brawler. He strikes with conviction trying to win his fights, but he’s never faced someone like me.”

Regardless of the outcome of the fight, he is looking to make this the year that his full-time fighting career takes off by expanding upon his opportunities in other weight classes.

“I’m going to be a heavyweight this year,” stated Richards. “I think I can start fighting heavyweight by July, and unless I get some strange call in the next couple of weeks to do another super-heavyweight fight, this is my last fight at 300 pounds.

“This year people are going to see a faster, leaner, more aggressive Rex Richards. I’m ready to get my name out there in some big fights. This is going to be the year I take off. I guarantee it.”

Having faced the pressures of performing in front of tens of thousands of fans in a football stadium, Richards is more than ready to handle the biggest stages of MMA, starting with this Saturday’s UWC event.

“I would like to thank Furious Fight Wear, they’ve done a lot for me and I’m excited to be a part of their team,” concluded Richards. “I also want to say thanks to all the guys at Red Star MMA, Clay Pittman’s Jiu-Jitsu and West Texas MMA.

“Anyone that’s close to Washington, D.C., come out to the fights. I guarantee the way I’ve been training, and the way this guy wants to fight me, it’s going to be fight of the night. It’s going to be bloody, there’s going to be some slams and it’s going to be over quick. I guarantee it.”