Filipino-American lightweight Richie Redman, who is making his debut in the promotion against Tristan Arenal in Pacific X-treme Combat 31 on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena, is fairly young in the sport, sporting an MMA record of just 2-1.
But under the guidance of Muay Thai expert and current ONE FC fighter Ole Laursen, Redman, fighting out of the Legacy Gym in Boracay, could be headed in the right direction.
“Ole, he’s my idol. I thought I was the only 50-percent Filipino out there and it was so hard for me to find a family,” Redman said. “But when Ole found out about me, he came to Iloilo to visit me. We sat down to talk and we just connected on so many levels.”
The Subic-born Redman, whose American father was in the US Navy and whose mother is a Filipina, left the country when he was two years old when his father was transferred back to the US. Four years ago, he returned to the Philippines to learn about his roots, and fell in love with the country.
“I moved back here to learn about what makes me Filipino,” he said. “I know it’s a simple country and I love it. I’m captured by its beauty and the simplicity of the Philippines is just amazing.”
Growing up in the States, Redman was very much into sports, particularly American football and wrestling. But when he returned to the country, he decided to take his talents to a different sport when he began training in MMA.
“I’m a Division II All-American wrestler but I had been training with the Delarminos in Iloilo for about three years so I worked a lot on my wushu,” he said.
That was when he met the Fil-Danish Laursen, who brought him to the Legacy camp in Boracay.
Training out of beautiful Boracay sounds attractive, although Redman insists it has its disadvantages.
“It’s a great place to visit. But a place to live? I don’t recommend people to live there,” he said. “It’s so small. You kind of start to go crazy after a while.”
But he says that helps him stay focused on his training, and that the environment itself is great for the camp.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that the environment itself in Boracay is crazy,” he said. “Everything goes uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. Our gym is located on top of a mountain, so the training is tough. The weather is tough.”
“But we also use the ocean and the beach for a lot of our other training. It’s wonderful, man.”
And having the experience of Laursen around to guide him is a big boost to his young MMA career.
“Me and Ole have been focusing a lot on my striking,” he said. “We have a black belt jiu-jitsu instructor, too. Hey, it’s MMA. We’re working on all the parts.”
“But as a coach, man, (Laursen) is tough. He’s bringing methods from Thailand – he has his own gym in Thailand – and he’s bringing all these things that he’s learned. Man, show me everything.”
“I hope to just get close to what he does. He is awesome.”
On Saturday, he gets a chance to move his MMA career a little closer to his mentor’s if he can pick up a win against lightweight contender Arenal in the PXC.
“I know my opponent is no slouch, this guy has highlights, man,” said Redman.
“This is going to be exciting. I hope I can bring some of the excitement to it.”
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