Define a fighter’s fighter: A fighter that other professional fighters are fans of. Anthony Birchak epitomizes that. This is why when Anthony Birchak was let go from the UFC after coming off of a win, left everyone scratching their heads. A guy who is 2-2 in the UFC, coming off of a win, and when he loses it’s on his shield; That sounds like someone you build a company around. Birchack gave MikeSwick.Com the exclusive on what happened.
“It was a huge blow to my ego. I had a great win over a super tough opponent, with a 19-2 record. He is one of the best Brazilians at 135 and for the UFC to kind of just lose interest in me, was hard to the heart. They said they would re-sign me in 2017, but waiting from July to January when you have a household of 6 is hard to do. Especially with the changing sponsorship scene and how the landscape of MMA is changing so rapidly.”
“Right around Thanksgiving, Aljamain Sterling was pulled from the Assuncao fight. I said I would take it on short notice, but still got no love from the UFC higher-ups. So, I just told them I’m fielding offers and taking to free agency. I got an influx of offers from organizations like ACB, Combate Americas and Titan FC (who said they would help out with some fights).
Birchak took to social media with a vengeance; Calling out everyone he felt would put on a good show with him. He wanted Takeya Mizugaki in RIZIN or Joe Warren in Bellator. Whoever it was… He just wanted a fight. Within a month, he was announced as out of the UFC and signed to RIZIN. On April 16th, he will take on 17-year MMA veteran, Tatsuya Kawajiri.
“RIZIN saw I was making some noise on social media and they asked how I felt about fighting at 145. I told them I wasn’t fond of it, but if the money and the opponent were right, I’ll put my big boy pants on and saddle up! Here we are about 20 days out and I’m training for Tatsuya Kawajiri with some of the most ferocity I’ve ever trained with.”
Birchak is obviously very candid with his answers and we wanted to know what he saw in Tatsuya Kawajiri, as an opponent.
“He’s had an illustrious career and is an icon of Japanese MMA. It will be exciting for me to test myself against someone who has done so much for the sport. However, as I said before, this is a young warrior’s sport and my presence in the ring should not be dismissed.”
“I respect Kawajiri, but I will enter the RIZIN ring KNOWING I’m coming out victorious! I’m too dynamic and too mobile. My takedown defense is world class. I’ve been training with some of the best MMA wrestlers on the planet like Aaron Pico, Juan Archuleta, and former Kawajiri opponent, Cub Swanson. I’ve been blessed with being able to test myself against the best, preparing for this fight.”
Obviously, Birchak is going to have great training. At that level, access to the world’s best is almost par for the course. What you may not know is that he is doing a balancing act between training, owning a gym, and training others. Sure, it’s a grind, but you do what you can to survive.
“I own and operate my own gym (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu in Tucson); Along with my MMA brand and style, TOROTech Mixed Martial Arts. Since opening; I’ve produced 5 NABJJF national champions, 8 total national medalists, 5 SJJIF world champions and a slew of more.”
“I have tough wrestlers and Jiu-Jitsu athletes that get me ready at home. I strength train with S&C coaches Chris Gomez & Hector Mar of Tucson’s only elite athlete development center (‘Performance Lab’). Once dialed in and in good shape, I leave to Las Vegas to flip the warrior switch on, with my team at Xtreme Couture.”
“Coaches like Robert Follis, Travis Calanoc, Dennis Davis, and Erik Nicksick get me ready. I get world-class rounds in with headliners and so many killers that you haven’t heard of yet! Travis Calanoc has been the one preparing me for the 10/5 minute fight, which is completely new to me. I’m starting to really like finding the timing of when to be on the gas pedal, when to throttle back, and when I need to smash on my redline!”