The other day I had the privilege of interviewing Billy Buch of the Gladiators Academy. Billy is an up and coming fighter who has a growing fan base in his home town of New Braunfels, Texas. Enjoy the interview!
Texas Fighting: Where are you from?
Billy Buch: New Braunfels, Texas – born and raised.
Texas Fighting: What do you do for a living?
Billy Buch: I’m a Ninja… seriously.
Texas Fighting: How long have you been involved in Martial Arts and what is your martial arts background based in?
Billy Buch: I started out doing Karate when I was 6 and have always done some sort of combat sport. Later on I joined Soryu Karate/ Kickboxing. I’ve been involved in martial arts most of my life.
Texas Fighting: Where do you train?
Billy Buch: The Gladiators Academy in New Braunfels Texas with Kyle Cress and Jeff Bonugli. Come on by and check it out!
Texas Fighting: What weight class are you in?
Billy Buch: I’m a bantamweight fighter at 135
Texas Fighting: What’s your fight record?
Billy Buch: 3-0 MMA.
Texas Fighting: Have you fought in any other fights?
Billy Buch: Some Kickboxing matches and Jujitsu tournaments.
Texas Fighting: Did you get promoted to a new belt recently?
Billy Buch: In Soryu Karate/ Kickboxing I’m a black belt. Just because you get a black belt in something doesn’t mean you stop. Belts to me, basically mean nothing. I mean it’s nice to be recognized and all but just because you have a certain rank in any discipline doesn’t mean you ever stop being a student. You should always be learning. Anyone can wear a belt but can you compete and win. That’s what really matters.
Texas Fighting: Did you have to do a lot of forms in Soryu Karate/ Kickboxing?
Billy Buch: We strayed away from the katas and forms and focused more on Muay Thai style kickboxing. Eventually I trained in a Muay Thai academy then ran into Kyle Cress and trained on the ground. The sport of Mixed Martial Arts has evolved so much that you can’t just be trained in one thing. You can’t just be a stand up guy or just a ground guy or even a wrestler. You have to be trained in all three. It’s a basic triangle of martial arts that you have to have. MMA is a mix of everything. Even if you don’t like submitting people you have to know it. To be great you have to learn all three aspects of the game. As a fighter you can’t be great at one thing anymore, you have to be great at everything – well rounded.
Texas Fighting: Do you consider yourself a well rounded fighter?
Billy Buch: Yes, I think I’m pretty well rounded. My stand up is there, my ground game is there. We train in everything and we train hard.
Texas Fighting: As an amateur you’re obviously not paid so what motivates you to want to fight?
Billy Buch: I like to compete – bottom-line. This is basically the most competitive sport out there, you don’t rely on anyone else but yourself. It’s one human being vs another human being to see who’s the best fighter that day. I believe that’s the best competition you can get.
Texas Fighting: What does your workout consist of and how many days and hours do you work out?
Billy Buch: I usually work out Monday-Saturday for 3 hours a day. Come close to fight time, I’ll usually do two 3 hour classes and head out to the football field to run sprints. I do a lot of cardio and sparring.
Texas Fighting: Who do you train with?
Billy Buch: Mostly I train with Kyle Cress of the Gladiators Academy. I also train at Rodrigo Pinheiro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Pete Spratt at his place. Mike Rangel of kNOw Pain Mixed Martial Arts. It’s also fun to do drop ins at other schools. Great way to pick up some new techniques.
Texas Fighting: What are your thoughts on the future of MMA?
Billy Buch: It’s definitely growing fast. I’m pretty sure it’s overtaken boxing. Most people that train in some sort of a combat sport don’t just train in one style, they train for Mixed Martial Arts, which has become a style of it’s own.
Texas Fighting: What are your goals in MMA?
Billy Buch: I’d like to take it as far as I can take it. I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon. I’m 28 now so I’ll go as long as I can compete.
Texas Fighting: Do you think you’ll ever become a full-time trainer?
Billy Buch: Eventually yes. I already do a little now here and there. I would love to be able to make a life out of this but I will always be a student. There is never a top spot. You can be a black belt at whatever but there is always something to learn from someone else. When it’s my time to give back full-time to the sport then it’s my time to give back.
Texas Fighting: Do you have any advice for young kids wanting to be Mixed Martial Artist?
Billy Buch: I would have to say, start as early as you can. 6-7 years old is a good time to start in Collegiate Wrestling or a Jujitsu class. Maybe around 12 is a good age to start for stand up. Get a good base in Jujitsu or wrestling. Anything is definitely possible.
Texas Fighting: What do you think of women in Mixed Martial Arts?
Billy Buch: There are some good girls who are top athletes competing now, so good for them. I don’t mind women fighting, some may say they are against it but if they want it and put in the effort, why not?
Texas Fighting: What are your thoughts on drinking and smoking?
Billy Buch: Close to fight time I wouldn’t recommend any drinking or partying. In Mixed Martial Arts, cardio is everything. Smoking is definitely out of the question.
Texas Fighting: How much does weight lifting play a part in your training routine?
Billy Buch: Personally I don’t do a whole lot of weight lifting. I’ll do a few weight exercises with kettlebells and dumbbells but mainly a lot of combat training like running, sprints, caring other peoples body weight, hammer drills. Then again I fight at a lighter weight class so I do my best to stay lean by doing lots of cardio.
Texas Fighting: With your experience as a fighter in the ring, do you find yourself getting into fights on the street as well?
Billy Buch: No comment.
Texas Fighting: What is your favorite way to finish a fight?
Billy Buch: I don’t like the straight brawler crazy style. I like to use technique as much as possible. If I’m going to go for a submission I don’t want it to be a boring submission, I want to use nice technical stuff that people haven’t seen. On the flip side, who doesn’t like a good head kick knockout.
Texas Fighting: Who’s your favorite Pro Fighter?
Billy Buch: I’m definitely a BJ Penn fan, Miguel Torres and Nick Diaz.
Texas Fighting: Do you have any sponsors?
Billy Buch: MMAOverload.com, 210 Fight Gear, Honor Fight Gear, Kingpin Fight Gear, and Mr. Lucky’s Tattoos.
Texas Fighting: Any shout outs or thanks to anybody? Anyone you’d like to give credit to?
Billy Buch: Anyone that’s helped me or trained me. Chris Lopez, Jeff Bonugli, my trainers, NSC, people that have been there to support me. My friends and family.