Ryan Ford on First Bellator Win: “A Lot Of People Said I Was Going To Get My Ass Kicked”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Rising welterweight Ryan Ford was hoping to make a big impact in his Bellator debut, and at the promotion’s recent May 4th card, the Tristar fighter was able to do just that. Not only did Ford record a highlight reel, stoppage win during the live Bellator 67 broadcast, but the 30 year-old-fighter did so against the accomplished, 50 fight plus vet, Luis Santos.
“A lot of people said, I saw posts on some of the forums, that I was going to get my ass kicked,” said Ford, while discussing the fact that some observers saw Santos as a heavy favorite to defeat the Edmonton resident. “I was going to get outstruck just because of his record. At the end of the day I don’t care about being the underdog, because at the end of the day, I’m coming out on top.”
“I could care less about what anybody says,” Ford added. “I’m the one getting in there to fight. I know that I’m going to get in there and lay it all out, put on a good show, no matter what happens in the fight.”
After an opening frame which saw Santos outscore Ford standing and from a dominant position on the mat, the MFC vet looked to close the distance and trap Santos along the fence. While working from the clinch, Ford dropped Santos with a hard knee to the head, and followed up with strikes to secure the dramatic come from behind win.
“It feels real good to get that win with Bellator in my debut and in an exciting way,” Ford told FCF. “The last few days I’ve been relaxing with my kids and my wife, just waiting to see what’s next for me.”
“I’ve signed a two year promotional contract with Bellator so hopefully a spot in the next, season seven, welterweight tourney is what I’m looking for,” Ford furthered. “Bjorn (Rebney) was saying some stuff like at the post-fight press conference, so I should find out soon what’s going on.”
While Ford has drawn praise in the past for his powerful takedowns and ground-and-pound skills, this latest win provided another reminder of his improving striking capabilities.
“A lot of people think that I’m just going to get in there, pick you up, slam you and ground-and-pound you, but I don’t think they understand that my game is evolving,” said Ford. “I’m pretty much going to be able to do what I want to do in a fight. If I want to keep a fight standing, I can do that, If I want it to go to the ground, I’ll take it to the ground.”
“That’s the beauty of this sport; there’s so many martial arts you have to learn, but once you get good at them all, the sky’s the limit.”
Early on, however, it looked as though Ford’s Bellator debut wasn’t going to go as he had planned. After Santos sent Ford reeling with a head kick attempt, which the fighter was able to block, the Brazilian capitalized on the opportunity and outscored his opponent for the remainder of the round.
“I wasn’t hurt, I blocked most of it with my glove, it was just that I was off balance….I got hit, fell down, but got right back to my feet,” Ford relayed. “I was surprised that he didn’t take my back in the first round, but I just stayed there, played the game; he wasn’t doing any damage. So I got through with the first round and knew in the second that I was going to come out there and do damage.”
The win extended Ford’s overall record to 18-4, and also marked the latest victory he’s recorded since he began training with Montreal’s renowned Tristar team.
“Training there has brought everything to my game,” Ford noted. “Being out there with Firas (Zahabi) and all my training partners, I’ve been able to learn so much more…I love it there. It’s my home away from home.”