Bully victim Dylan Andrews set for UFC stardom
This Sunday, Dylan Andrews will meet Team Sonnen fighter Jimmy Quinlan
Image courtesy UFC
Kiwi born Aussie Dylan Andrews (15-4) was once the overweight kid in school that had even bigger troubles at home. Today he is in his physical prime and plans on carving out a legacy inside the UFC's Octagon.
Andrews left his job as a personal trainer, kissed his wife and two children goodbye and flew to the United States last year. He was promised nothing - all that he knew for sure was that he would be one of over 500 faces to try and earn a spot on the toughest reality TV show in the world - The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
TUF locks a group of sixteen aspiring UFC fighters inside a house to battle each other in the Octagon, the winner leaves with a six-figure contract with the world's premiere MMA organisation.
It was a long road for Andrews before he found fame on reality TV. His parents had their own personal demons to battle with addictions to drugs and alcohol leaving Dylan to fend for himself as a youth.
The talented father of two was bullied by his peers growing up as he continued to gain weight, eventually shedding the kilo's while training mixed martial arts which opened the door for his future career path.
Andrews desperately wanted to be on TUF. Unsuccessfully flying State side twice already, the kiwi failed to make it onto the cast for the thirteenth and fifteenth season of the show as well as missing out on the Australian based series TUF: The Smashes after underperforming at 170 pounds (77kg).
This time Andrews made it to the final 32 but before you walk into the doors of the million dollar mansion, he had to win again. Andrews earned a hard-fought majority decision victory over Tim Williams (7-1) but failed to impress coaches Jon Jones (17-1) and Chael Sonnen(27-12-1).
Subsequently, the 33 year old was picked last on Team Jones. This would be a crushing blow to the confidence of most athletes but it fuelled Andrews to disprove his detractors:
“I was thinking 'this is so good. These people don’t know anything about me, they haven’t done their homework and they underestimated me based on my first fight', which I didn’t think was that bad, but that didn’t matter,” he said.
While he was fine with his peers underestimating his abilities, he wasn’t going to be pushed around behind closed doors in training either.
“In the first the sparring session, that was my time to let everyone know that you can’t walk over me and talk down to me, I’m just as much of a threat to you as anyone here or on the other team. I’m a nice person and I respect everybody but I want the same in return and after the first training session I let everyone know where I stood,” Andrews revealed.
Dylan Andrews gets his hand raised by referee Herb Dean after a tough decision victory in The Ultimate Fighter - Image courtesy UFC.
Known as "The Vilain", Andrews began as a dark horse but steadily made it known that he was a force in the middleweight field before losing to Jamaican wrecking machine Urijah Hall in the semi-finals.
“(My performance against Hall) was sh******. I didn’t make things easy for myself, I went the distance in my fights to get in the house, went the distance against Zac (Cummings), went three rounds with Luke (Barnatt) then five days later I fight Uriah,” he said.
To make matters worse for the New Zealander, fighting to get in the house he sustained an injury to his shoulder that didn't heal correctly. He also cracked his ankle in three places fighting Cummings in the quarter-finals - but he never complained and always looked positively towards the future.
“No excuses, he was fresh and I wasn’t. All these people were saying ‘don’t be scared’ but I wasn’t scared, trust me. I don’t want to take anything away from Uriah (Hall) but he did so well to finish people early and I made things hard.”
His dream since he found martial arts as a teenager was to fight in the UFC. This Sunday afternoon, he gets the opportunity to fight inside the Octagon against Team Sonnen fighter Jimmy Quinlan (3-0) but understands it all could end as quickly as it started.
“He’s 100 percent a wrestler. We know what he’s going to do, he’s going to chuck a couple of punches in there to set up a takedown. Obviously my game plan is to stick and move and not be a target and put pressure on him,” he said.
“If I can’t finish him in the first then it will be in the second, that’s my prediction - by TKO. He’s a great wrestler but I’ve trained so hard for this fight - this is mine.”
Check out our live coverage of Dylan's fight, together with the rest of the TUF 17 fight card this weekend.
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