British athlete Chi Lewis-Parry will be making his GLORY World Series debut this Friday, April 3rd in Dubai on the Superfight Series 20 section of the card.
The 6ft 9in, 115 Kg heavyweight, who, is also still actively signed to Asian Mixed Martial Arts company ONE Championship, will be facing Yong-Su Park in his debut performance for GLORY World Series.
I caught up with Chi before he flew out to Dubai and all I can say is, we managed to cover, GLORY WS, Yong-Su Park, ONE Championship, Brandon Vera, Alistair Overeem, and much more, have a read.
I know you have had a family vacation in Canada, was there any ‘slipping off’, say to Tri-Star Gym to fit some training in or was it purely a family vacation?
I did think about it and it did cross my mind. I did contact Tri-Star but because I was only in Canada for seven days to see my family as it was my sons 2nd birthday, I would have been there a whole day. As anyone who knows me, family come’s first.
It was announced on 24th February 2015, that you signed to GLORY World Series, congratulations. Can you talk me through how that opportunity presented itself to you?
I got a call from my management (Mogul Fight Management) whilst I was in Canada on vacation, stating that GLORY World Series were interested in me. I asked my manager to email me over the contract there and then so I could look it over, after going down to concierge to receive it, I signed it practically straight away and emailed back. I was more than excited to showcase my striking skills to the world.
Your opponent for your debut GLORY bout has now changed and you will now be facing Yong-Su Park instead of Xavier Vigney. How long ago did you know of the change and what was your initial reaction to the news?
I found out Vigney had pulled out before I had another opponent; obviously I was disappointed. I’d been struggling to get fights and thought ‘oh no am I cursed’ but it didn’t take them [GLORY] long to get another opponent for me, within a week. It is a testament to GLORY as a promotion for how they got another opponent so quick. I didn’t think for one second I wouldn’t get a fight, I knew I would get one.
As for Vigney it would have been a one-sided fight if he was still my original opponent, he would have had nothing to trouble me with. When our paths cross meet again, and they will, he wont trouble me. I also see no problems with Park, ‘he is a good kicker but as soon as I am inside kicking range he will go to sleep’. Everyone has got a punchers chance. Every fight starts standing on their feet. I do not see any of these fights lasting [Vigney and Park]. You can read that anyway you want. I am not arrogant or cocky in that way. Buy the fight you will see.
Yong-Su Park brings a lot more wealth and experience than your original opponent. I for one know you will welcome that, having said that, do you feel that there maybe any pressure on yourself now?
There is never any pressure. I feel pressure to hurry up and get a flight to Canada and go and see my son, watch him grow up. Everyday, is a day lost not watching him grow up. This is a guy fighting for whatever his reasons are, just like I am. His skillset vs. my skillset although, my skillset is ultimately better. He is a good kicker for which I am excited about and that is a good scalping for me, coming from a Taekwondo background and saying I knocked you out with my hands, I didn’t kick you, what good were your kicks when you got knocked out?!
MMA fans know you for being signed to Asian Mixed Martial Arts company ONE Championship, now that you are also signed to GLORY World Series can you clear up the confusion between the two organisations and set the record straight?
I’m still very much with ONE Championship. I’m an active fighter within their promotion and I am very happy with them. I will be fighting for the title very soon, I don’t doubt that for a second, they are fully aware that I have signed with GLORY WS and vice versa. They are both totally different promotions one in Kickboxing and one in MMA , ultimately both great promotions. I feel this is the dawn of a new era, not just for fighters, but for british fighters coming out and with that I am saying we can fight on the biggest kickboxing shows and the biggest MMA shows side by side.
You have always stated that you have a great friendship in Alistair Overeem who has been a wealth of support and knowledge to yourself. With you now competing in both MMA and Kickboxing do you see yourself aiming to achieve what Alistair has already achieved in both sports thus far?
Absolutely. That’s exactly what goes through my mind. No one has done it since Alistair. It has come full circle. Alistair has been my inspiration, from watching him in the sport to becoming my friend and training partner. I am in the position where I can repeat what Alistair has done for which there has already been a mapped out plan and it is running its course, that is the penultimate, that is where I want to be. It’s not like it can’t happen, I have to get through some tough guys, guys who are worthy of being champion, but I am not focussing on anybody else, I am just focussing on me. I’m not even thinking about Park and what he can do, I am thinking about me and what I can do, where I am going and where I am going to be in a year from now. I’m not doubting that I can achieve the greatness on the level that Alistair Overeem has previously shown, that will happen. I will get a shot at Rico Verhoeven [current heavyweight champion] and I will be the ONE Championship Heavyweight champion.
Talking of Alistair Overeem, the performance he gave at UFC 185 was in my opinion reminded me of the old Alistair Overeem and what he is still truly capable of. What were your own thoughts on his performance that night?
Brilliant. I spoke to him after the fight and said “Dude you were a scary man before, but you looked monstrous out there despite you were caught in the third round you looked very elusive”. Being down at Jackson’s MMA you can see he is absorbing a lot of other styles in him, you can see Jon Jones in him a lot, he looked like an animal.
His [Overeem’s] knees are hard, I know having sparred with him plenty of times, now I have to look for new patterns in him!
Being amongst one of the most mentally focussed athletes I have met and interviewed, where do you see yourself going in the ranks of GLORY World Series and ONE Championship?
In the title mix for GLORY and I will be the champion of ONE Championship. I will earn my stripes for GLORY World Series but I will definitely be in the mix as a title contender. The promotion is bigger, it will take a bit longer, but I am willing to earn my stripes, but I will be in the mix. ONE Championship it is a lot smaller division and I will be Heavyweight Champion.
In ONE Championship it appears Brandon Vera is hot on your list of opponents for whom you would like to respectfully challenge next, also it appears this is one the fans would also like to see, but he appears to be somewhat maybe, avoiding you?
I’ve had enough trying to be diplomatic about it, he is fat when he fights, he is out of shape when he is not fighting so he is probably super fat and super out of shape, therefore thinks this……This guy is on it, younger than me, he’s hungrier than me, hes game. Eventually he has 3 options 1) Drop down the division and go to Light Heavyweight, 2) Retire or 3) Face me. I’m ready to face him.
Chi Lewis-Parry GLORY 20 DUBAI Photoshoot by James Law
Who would you like to face next at GLORY World Series? Is there anyone that you already have on your ‘respectful achievement list’ so to speak?
I’m happy to earn my stripes. I’m happy to face whoever GLORY World Series put in front of me. I’m sure they a plan for me.
At GLORY ’10’ Nick Diaz’s good friend ‘Joe Schilling’ was taking part (for which he won) and he was quoted on saying “For me this is a little more of a hardcore sport than MMA or Boxing” with that in mind, what are your thoughts on the two different sports; MMA and Kickboxing?
You’re going to come across a different level of striker in GLORY as that is all they do, for a guy to come from a MMA world to go against a 100% striker you will be naive to think you can out strike a guy who does this all the time, everyday. I have to break my training up, wrestling, jiu jitsu, striking so everything flows, my timing will be impeccable, so in that respect, yeah you’re just standing there taking a beating, especially if you’re losing, you can’t take the guy down so you better man the fu*k up. Take care of business.
Your legendary training videos with best friend and training partner Danny Brennan; for people who do not know you or have not met you, can you describe the movement and motivation behind them?
I have a great relationship with Danny, we are the best of friends aswell as training partners. I was born a kid, I am still a big kid, I just like to have fun. When you’re in the gym everyday, all day, just battering your body you need to have a bit of a laugh. That is the method behind my goofy antics.
Your training camp for your upcoming GLORY World Series debut, has that solely been based here in the UK or have you managed to train anywhere else at all?
I will eventually move it to the US at the end of the year. All my camps have been here. Nothing is broke. I’ve have not needed to fix anything so I’ve stayed here.
Lastly, is there any sponsors you would like to give a shout out to and anyone you would like to thank at all?
Golds Gym UAE, Hooligans United, JYNutrition, Danny Brennan, Nick Chapman, Ollie Beard at Uniq Physique Gym.
Thank you for your time Chi, as always I appreciate it.
You can keep up to date with Chi’s movements by following his Twitter account here.
Chi’s website page here.
You can help support Chi by heading over to his clothing line here.
GLORY 20 DUBAI and GLORY Superfight Series 20 take place on Friday, April 3 at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The former airs in the US on Spike TV at 10pm ET while the latter airs via tape-delay on the CBS Sports network on Saturday April 4th. 8pm ET.
Uk viewers follow the link below:
Click here on how to watch GLORY 20 DUBAI from their LIVE stream from around 2.30pm on Friday, April 3rd, for only £6.74 ($9.99).
For the full fight card on GLORY 20 DUBAI click here.
Photo Credits: James Law