Randall Ray Gets Another Shot at the Crown
Randall Ray Returns for a Title Shot at UFN 14
Just over two years ago, Randall Ray was at the top of the light heavyweight division in Australia and fighting for a title in one of the premier local organizations, AFC. The fight didn’t go his way and his career took a brief side-road off that result.
A foray in boxing yielded mostly positive results but has been ended in favor of MMA. The passion Ray has for the sport trumps whatever benefits he received in the world of professional boxing. The juxtaposition of success and passion is something we as fans can understand but never truly empathize with. After all, money is an important factor when deciding which combat sport to dive head on into. But it’s not the only element involved.
Randall Ray had rededicated himself to mixed martial arts and will have the opportunity to return in a big way. His opponent, Nathan Reddy is the defending champ and rising Aussie star. But Randall Ray has experience on his side. Will that be enough to overcome the 2+ year layoff?
It just may be.
Road to The UFN Title
It’s been a difficult journey to UFN 14 for Randall Ray.
Not physically, simply philosophically. Ray has been a staple of the Aussie local scene dating back to 2012 but has recently been inactive in the community. Not because of any qualms of training or rough patches in mixed rules. Quite the contrary in fact. He had parlayed his successful MMA career into opportunities on the boxing scene, resulting in nice paydays and big fights.
“I was getting paid better in boxing that’s why I went with it. I was getting opportunity after opportunity so I was just chasing the money, obviously I needed to pay my bills.”
However, while money drove him towards the boxing market, passion sent right back where he belonged. “At the heart of it, i’m a ground fighter, i’ve always loved the cage.”
We as fans should be happy to see the change in mentality Randall Ray has had recently. His ability to shock and awe inside the cage is what grew his fan base in the first place. And it’s precisely that fan base that has allowed him an opportunity at the title this weekend. The Aussie faithful will follow him to any sport or promotion he finds himself in.
But as an MMA fan, i’m fortunate to say he’s chosen us as his #1 priority.
His Training at ATT
Randall Ray has been at the top of the local combat scene for years now.
That can be attributed to several different factors involved. He’s passionate and hard-working yes. But beyond his self-driven motivations, Ray’s training partners and coaches expect a great deal of work to be put into his time in the gym. No settling for half-assed results. The standard is set immediately as he walks into the gym.
“It’s very motivating to see. Especially Ash[kan] and Suman [Mokhtarian]. They’re just guys that don’t take a step back. They’ve said from the start what they want to do and they just keep pushing forward and they expect it from the people they train as well.”
That hard push towards excellence is instilled into every single fighter that calls Australian Top Team their home. It’s not asked for, nor offered, it’s expected and demanded. Randall Ray has answered the call.
But the real test of a man’s will lies in moments of vulnerability. When his reputation and health is on the line with only himself to rely on it’s self-keeping. That is what Randall Ray is up against. But despite his 2+ year layoff in MMA, this will be a very familiar scene for “The Limb Reaper”. Nathan Reddy expects the best Randall Ray and so do I.
This fight is a banger. Prepare accordingly.
The Fight Itself
Just as Nathan Reddy said the fight has been on his radar for a while now, Randall Ray echoes the sentiment.
“Really looking forward to this fight. Nathan Reddy has been on my radar for a while, he’s really big, strong and motivated. Of all things he’s hungry and thats a recipe for a great fight so we’ll see what happens. I’m looking to get pushed, i’m expecting to get pushed. And hopefully we should take that fight of the night.”
The attitude of these two competitors reflect the very best in what it means to be a martial artist.
They’re in search of the ultimate test of skill and will. The Aussie circuit is growing but still not fully developed. Easy fights are possible to find. But Nathan Reddy and Randall Ray are not interested in the simple path towards big things. They believe great fighters are born out of great conflict.
At UFN 14, the ultimate conflict is upon us. Who is the best light heavyweight on the regional circuit? That is what’s at stake this weekend but Ray feels confident in how he matches up with the champ.
“I’ve been to a couple of his fights live and i’ve watched a bit of film on him. I don’t like to obsess and do too much homework on my opponents, but yeah he’s a really durable, strong guy. I don’t really see any weaknesses in any part of his game. But then again I don’t see him as dangerous, but all around he’s a total package.”
Very complimentary of his opponents game is Ray. But ultimately, it seems he feels confident in his durability going in. And if this fight reaches the championship rounds, the experience of Ray factors in greatly.
What is at Stake at UFN 14
This fight has large implications within the Australian community as well as the worldwide stage. We all know how weak the UFC’s light heavyweight division is beyond the top 3 or 4. Being so, they constantly search for new talent to raise the level of competition within the weight class. With that said, what would a win mean for Ray?
“I think it would put me right back up there in the top of Australia. If I was to go to the UFC, i’d probably have to get a couple more wins after that to solidify a spot in the UFC.”
Regardless of what happens next, one thing is for sure. Change is gonna come.
“After this fight, there’s gonna be big things for him or me. Whoever wins, they’re gonna have the opportunity.
The stakes are high, will Randall Ray find his level? Or rise to the occasion? Answers are around the corner, tune in this weekend for clarity.