Over the course of the last six years, Ryan Ford has been away from MMA competition, but hasn’t stopped being a combat sports athlete.
Having spent that time boxing all over the world, the onset of Covid-19 became the catalyst for Ford to return to his MMA roots, and get back into the cage for the first time since 2014.
“It’s been a ride travelling the world, boxing guys from Germany to Russia to England,” Ford told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s been fun but with the situation in the world the last couple years and not a lot of fights going on, and me not getting any younger, I felt that I wanted to stay active, and if it makes dollars it makes sense (to return to MMA).
“I’ve been doing grappling, wrestling, Muay Thai, and kickboxing along with the boxing, so it’s still in my heart, it’s still in my blood to get in the cage and fight.”
Having started out in MMA over 15 years ago, Ford’s biggest lesson might have been how to take care of himself better in training to help ensure a few more years fighting.
“I’m not as young anymore, so I’ve figured out training smarter, not harder,” said Ford. “I’ve settled back a little bit on the things where I was getting injured in training camps.
“The fun part is getting through a training camp without getting hurt. It gets taxing on your body when you’re grinding. I’m still going hard, but listening to my body when it’s time to recover. I’ve learned to say no when I’m done.”
This Friday in Enoch, Alberta, Canada, Ford (22-5) makes his return to the cage when he takes on Dawond Pickney (18-15) in a 175-pound main card bout at Unified MMA 43.
“I’ve just got to go in there and be me and do what Ryan ‘The Real Deal’ Ford does,” Ford said. “Be me. Be aggressive. Be explosive.
“(Pickney) is a veteran opponent, and he is coming to fight, but I believe he hasn’t fought anybody like me. He’s fought some tough guys, but there’s tough guys and there’s Ryan Ford tough guys, and I don’t believe he’s faced anybody like me.”
Now that he’s back in MMA, Ford is looking forward to making the most of the time he has left in his career and be as busy as he can be in 2022.
“For me it’s take care of business on Friday night then after there I’m pretty sure calls are going to come, and I’m going to be ready,” said Ford. “I’m not getting any younger, so I want be active.
“People who know me know that if I’m not injured and I’m healthy I’m ready to fight. This is the year that I want to be active and keep going.”