[Interview] Richard Odoms Feels the Burden to Keep Big MMA Cards Coming to San Antonio; Prepares for Legacy FC 17

Photo courtesy of Pro Elite
[Photo courtesy of Pro Elite]
San Antonio, TX, Jan. 14, 2013 – Richard Odoms is a humble man, who puts his family first, but still has the time to manage a super busy schedule that includes serving his community as a police officer and a local business owner. He has officially been studying martial arts for over 19 years and is a 5th Dan/Master in American Moo Duk Kwan karate. He has been teaching this traditional martial art for the past 9 years.

Richard Odoms will be stepping into the cage for the eighth time with a clean 7-0 record.  We had the privilege to get a quick interview with him before his fight in San Antonio, TX for  “Legacy Fighting Championship 17.”  This will be his biggest fight to date in his home town as the co-main event against All-American collegiate wrestler Jared Rosholt on AXS.TV.

What’s your biggest motivation to fight at this point in your career?

My biggest motivation is my family. I want to set the good example to my children and students to be the best in whatever makes you happy. I don’t want to be that old man that everyone knows, who says I could of, would of, should of. My dream right now is to compete with the very best martial artists in the world.

How do you feel about fighting for Legacy FC in your home town?

Man……I am on top of the world right now. I couldn’t believe that it was going to happen. San Antonio has taken the backseat when it comes to MMA. A lot of people here like mixed martial arts and there is a lot of good martial artists in San Antonio. I feel our city has been overlooked when it comes to big MMA cards. I feel the burden to keep big MMA cards coming to San Antonio is on the local fighters’ back. I’m glad to be one of those local fighters that plan to keep big cards coming our way.

Being a cop, a martial arts school owner, and an mma fighter – how do you prioritize your time? Do you feel that each area of your career compliments one another?

I am so busy. I hate when people tell me that I can make time to do this or to attend that. I just don’t have the time. Other people are depending on me! At work, as an officer, the community is depending on me. At my school, Martial Arts Academy of San Antonio, my students are depending on me to be there to provide quality martial arts for the children and adults I teach. As a fighter, I am to inspire others in their walk through life. My children depend on me to inspire them. I feel it is my job to show, not just talk about becoming a productive member of this society, but to live it. Not being afraid to dream, knowing how to set and conquer goals towards achieving that dream, and show them that hard work is rewarded with success. Then you top all that with being a father, not just a donor. When all of that is said and done I still have to be there for my family. It is what I have helped to create, so yeah I have to still make time for my children and wife. Everything I do compliments each other. It has to or else it would have to be thrown out. I’m a big believer in not wasting my time, everything I’m involved in, I love. If you make the things you do in life what you love, it all becomes a pleasure rather than a chore. It also has purpose.

What can your fans expect from you in this fight and moving forward?

Expect that each time I get into the cage I will be a more improved and exciting fighter than the last time I competed. When I step into the cage Feb. 1st, I will have been out of competition for one year. I am not the same fighter as before. Everything has improved, and I can’t wait to show the world.

Richard Odoms
Photo via Richard Odoms FB page

With your last fight dating a year ago – what have you been doing to prepare for this fight? Who are some of your training partners?

I try to twist negatives and turn them into positives in everything I do. Being out for a year was not my choice. I had some contract issues, along with other mishaps. I got new management with U.S. Elite Fight Management, made other connections to make myself a better fighter, and stayed in the gym waiting for opportunity to knock. Signing on with U.S. Elite Fight Management is a great asset to my MMA career. This will be the first fight I go into with sponsors. I just didn’t have the time to seek sponsors. It has opened a lot of doors for me. Mike Rangel of Know Pain MMA has helped me with my overall MMA. Aaron Rosa has been helping with sparring. There is no substitute for top caliber heavyweight sparring. Pete Spratt (Big Brother) / RPBJJ has been helping me with Muay Thai. His high caliber experience and knowledge is top notch and doesn’t get any better. I’m always learning from him that’s why I call him Big Brother. Rodrigo Pinheiro has helped me with my BJJ. Wallace Tarver gives me an outside of the box look at MMA from a traditional martial arts perspective. Mr. Moreno of Blue Tiger Academy always keeps a stack of guys to push me in sparring. Suzy Swinger got me an opportunity to coach on Cage Quest. Ms. Swinger is great and has opened so many doors for me. I met King Webb of Luling MMA through her. Mr. Webb has been helping me with my BJJ as well. Through Mr. Webb I met Luiz Charneski. Luiz is from Curitiba, Brazil, home of some of the greatest fighters ever. He changed up my striking and added a new approach to my MMA game. Training with Luiz has been great. He doesn’t speak a lot of English, and I… very little Spanish and no Portuguese. We communicated with the language of mixed martial arts and it is lovely. While I wish I was in the cage the entire time, it was like I went to MMA college and I’m back ready to show everyone my new stuff.

How much do you know about your opponent Jared Rosholt’s fighting style? Do you have a specific game plan coming into this co-main event fight?

I don’t know much about him. I do know he is a top caliber and All American collegiate wrestler. He is tough, has a good chin, improved his boxing, and is hungry for a win! My game plan is to leave Cowboy’s Dancehall with a win and leave a good representation of what MMA is all about in San Antonio.

How do you mentally prepare before stepping into the cage?

I relax, I’m calm. I visualize the fight. It is all mental. There is nothing more I can do to change what I’m about to do. All of the work has been done in training. I have trained to win and all that is left for me to do is pray with my wife, Thank God for the Victory, step into the cage, and go out there and perform.

Any last words? Anyone you’d like to thank?

If you are in the San Antonio area, please come out and support the Legacy Fight Card. All of the local fighters plan to come out and put on outstanding fights for you. I would like to thank my wife, Janie, for all of her understanding and putting up with me while I’m training and getting better. She has to pick up the slack when I’m unable to be there. I’m very appreciative. I’d like to thank all of my training partners from the many different schools I train at that come to help me get better, take a bruise or two, and have the respect to come back out and train with me again. Thank you all for making me a better martial artist and extending a helping hand. I would like to thank the leadership at The Martial Arts Academy of San Antonio for keeping my school running the way I would have it if I wasn’t absent while training. I would like to thank the U.S. Elite Fight Management family. Mr. Claudio and Mr. Royer thank you for the work you do. I would like to thank my fans and sponsors. Thank you all for your support.

“I am using this fight to make a statement!” Cleburn Walker Interview by: sPidA

sPidA: You’ll be competing at the Element Fighting Championship 2 “FULL THROTTLE” on June 9th for a title shot, how much more does this fight mean to you?

Cleburn: This fight means so much to me already that I am doing something I haven’t done in years, which is go away from my family to put in a proper fight camp. I am leaving next Sunday to go stay at the Tapout House. I have hurt my record and my reputation in recent years by not showing up at my peak potential but I am using this fight as an opportunity to make a statement. The fact that it’s for a title just adds even more motivation.

sPidA: What does your training consist of before a fight and does it change with your opponent?

Cleburn: As I mentioned, this will be my first fight in over 3 years that I leave home to focus 100% on the fight at hand. My training doesn’t really change for my opponent. Since I can’t tell the future I have no idea how he may respond to me. All I can do is constantly improve myself and be as prepared as I can, as well as make note of whatever habits of my opponents that I may suspect will play a factor but ultimately I am going to fight my fight and be ready for everything.

sPidA: Your coming in with 17 bouts in MMA, what lessons have you learned more from ,wins or losses ?

Cleburn: I learn from everything but most of my losses aren’t a reflection of my skill or ability. Most of them to me are a reflection of poor decision making during difficult times in my life. But after a fight, whether I won or lost, I analyze my performance and look for anything I can improve on. Then I continue moving forward. I am never defeated nor satisfied. I am simply moving forward at all times. (or at least trying to, lol)

sPidA: Your representing Phalanx MMA, with you and now your training partner James Vick in the TUF house, what does the gym  offer to those looking to train in your neck of the woods?

Cleburn: I train at Phalanx and Genesis Jiu Jitsu, and from someone who has trained with lots of people in lots of places, I can tell you that the technical expertise you will find at these places is better than anyplace you are gonna find! I am so happy to finally have home gyms that really have helped me grow and improve a lot in such a short time. And unlike other experiences I’ve had in the past, the coaches at Phalanx and Genesis actually care about you and make you feel like part of the team. Feeling at home is extremely important when you are trying to grow.

sPidA: What do you know about your opponent and how has your training been since getting word on this match up?

Cleburn: I know he is gonna be extremely athletic and explosive, but I see no way that he will be on par with my technique or experience and I’m pretty athletic and powerful myself so I have been training to make sure I absolutely show up at my very best. He is gonna be a little unpredictable, so I just am making sure that I am ready for everything.

sPidA: You recently had an addition to your family, as a parent, would you be supportive if your kids grew up wanting to compete in a combative sport?

Cleburn: Yes I  just had my fourth child this January. As far as I’m concerned the support process starts during pregnancy. I constantly pray over my children and am constantly trying to be the best leader of the house that I can so that as they grow, they will grow in wisdom and grow closer to God. That way when the time comes for them to make decisions about their lives they will already be on the right track and I will have faith in what they feel they are supposed to do with their lives. And whatever they choose to do, I will help them as much as I possibly can. And what I can’t help with I will encourage them to find someone more knowledgable than myself so that they can fulfill their potential.

sPidA:  I was able to meet up with you in Austin Texas for your fight at King of Kombat a while back, you had a great personality going into the bout. Do you get people having a misconception of you being a cage fighter? What do you think has helped the way fans view the sport now?

Cleburn: Thank you sir. I really can’t tell what people think of me. All I can do is conduct myself as best I can so that anyone who meets me will get a positive impression. And at this point I think the sport is so mainstream that people view MMA athletes as what they are, which is some of the hardest working athletes in the world competing in the toughest sport in the world.

sPidA: Thank you for your time bro, I will be contacting you closer to fight time, any last minute words?

Cleburn: Thanks to the Lord for seeing me through so many hardships and continuing to give me more and more opportunities. Thanks to my wife April and the kids for being behind me 100%. And thanks to coach Durwyn Lamb and coach Tony Tipton and Master Sina Hadaad for giving me so much of their time and knowledge!