The rise of the ‘Killa Bee’ 2.0 – Bryony Tyrell


Bryony Tyrell  - BELLATOR weigh-in - Credit: Bellator
Bryony Tyrell – Bellator weigh-In Credit: Bellator

 First released 21st June 2019

On Saturday, June 22nd, 2019, Bellator MMA will be making their return to the SSE Arena in London.

Making her debut for the promotion will be U.K’s Bryony Tyrell, and if you had told her six years ago that she would be on one of the world’s largest MMA promotions and competing in front of her home crowd, I’m pretty sure she’d be laughing at just the thought.

Born and raised in Sevenoaks, Kent, Bryony has always enjoyed the thrill and excitement of extreme sports; from BASE jumping, Bungee jumping, and sky diving, to testing herself in mixed martial arts.

Holding a Masters Degree in nursing and a Degree in Molecular Cell Biology, the critical care nurse now based in Southampton has always had a passion for martial arts.

Starting in Kickboxing and Kung Fu 19 years ago, Bryony quickly fell in love with all aspects of martial arts so much, that, she added in Krav Maga, Japanese jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai before finally concentrating on Wrestling and Brazilian Jiujitsu, forming the mixed martial arts career she has today.  “Martial arts are my passion in life.  I love the contrast that they can be beautiful and deadly at the same time” Bryony said. “Anyone that practices a martial art to a high level knows that it involves incredible dedication and discipline, and also pushes your body and mind to the limits of endurance.”

Originally part of U.K MMA pioneer (and ex UFC athlete) Rosi Sexton’s mentoring scheme, Bryony went about taking Rosi’s advice on training, nutrition, competing and training with Rosi. “I was very privileged to be on a mentorship scheme with Rosi. I gained invaluable advice at the beginning of my amateur career” said Bryony.

The 18th of May 2013 is a day that Bryony will forever have as a fond memory. It was when she made her amateur debut and found out exactly what she is capable of in the cage. “I think the only way to truly know how good you are at fighting is to compete. Being locked in a cage with another trained fighter who can use pretty much any style or technique against you is the ultimate test”,  Bryony said when recalling the first time she stepped into the cage.

Not only content with competing in amateur MMA bouts, but Bryony also tested her skills by competing in white-collar boxing bouts, Muay Thai bouts, and grappling matches to gain invaluable experience before turning pro in November 2015.

Holding a current professional record of 4 wins 3 losses and 1 draw, with all 3 of those losses coming from title fights with two of those athletes currently competing in the UFC and Bellator, Bryony is no stranger to adversity in the MMA industry.

Having started in her MMA career aged 33, Bryony was considered by some promotions and coaches to be ‘too old’ to be competing in the sport.  Once Bryony turned pro at the age of 35 and started to win, it was only then that she began to believe in herself more and knew that ‘age was just a number’.  At least, to her anyway, and she set about proving just that.

Having gone 4-3-1 in her pro career, taking short notice fights and a title fight in a weight class above her usual weight division, Bryony felt that her current gym, Exile, had let her down. “I felt like the industry had written me off for being too old, and some of the coaches at my gym had said I was too old and slow after I lost the Cage Warriors title fight against Molly McCann.  When they wrote me off because of that loss, I didn’t think that was fair.  It was quite demoralizing for me.  The whole experience was quite demoralizing, and I just stopped the enjoyment of the sport.

On top of that, Cage Warriors wouldn’t give me a fight at strawweight, and I felt I was not valued as a fighter, and not being given significant opportunities.  It just wasn’t worth the sacrifice anymore. So, I decided to retire in July 2018.”

Since retiring from competitive MMA, Bryony thought that she’d feel better because of the less stress involved and would have more time to spend with her husband and two children.  However, she felt like there was a massive hole in her life and felt very down, having nothing to work towards with the Adrenalin rush that she always knew she had.  “Having just a normal life is not good enough for me.  I know it is quite a selfish attitude to have especially the fact that I have got young children and an amazing husband and a stressful job.  I need that buzz to make me happy.”

Looking to replace that ‘buzz’ Bryony decided she would concentrate on achieving the top levels in grappling.  After taking home silver at the IBJFF and silver at the UK ADCC, she didn’t have the same drive for grappling as she did in MMA, stating that “I didn’t put 100% in because I just didn’t have that kind of fear factor that someone is going to smash your face in if you don’t train properly, and it wasn’t dangerous for me.”

On May 30th, 2019 it was officially announced that Bryony had come out of retirement and will be competing on the Bellator London card on June 22nd at the SSE Arena, where she will face the current kickboxing champion Denise Kielholtz in a flyweight MMA bout.  A fight that has been over a year in the making, as Bryony initially accepted a short notice (1 week) fight against Denise back in February 2018 but had to withdraw due to being medically suspended after her fight with Molly McCann.   It was suggested to Bryony that Denise wasn’t matched up for the London card and did she fancy another fight.  It was at that point that Bryony messaged her managers, who then contacted Bellator, and they came back with a yes straight away.

With ten weeks to prepare for the bout, Bryony went to Cross Face gym in Watford, training with head coach Dave Lee and Charlie Leary who is also on the London card. For the final two weeks of her training camp, Bryony flew out to Thailand to train at UFC athlete Johnny Walker and Leo Gosling’s new gym Chokchai Muay Thai. “While Johnny and Leo were here in Southampton, I trained with them, so it made sense for me to go out and spend two weeks over at there new gym in Thailand.  They have a few UFC athletes training there, and Jorge Kanella who is also on the London card.  Being surrounded by world-class coaches and fighters, this fight camp has been on a different level to any other I’ve had.  They treat me as an equal, and I’m keeping up with these guys who are top-level pro fighters, so it’s been a massive confidence boost to come back to fighting after people had written you off.  I’ve got some amazing people around me that believe in me, and I know I can win this fight.”

With the advantage of having 16 MMA fights compared to Denise’s 4 MMA fights, and factoring in that Denise is Bellator’s kickboxing champion and has had numerous kickboxing bouts,  Bryony realises that Denise is a superb striker,  having watched a lot of her fights just purely to learn from her and improve her own striking.  She is also a classy athlete and represents the sport incredibly well.

Feeling that this is a good match-up and an opportunity Bryony had been asking for throughout her MMA career, she now thinks that having dedicated her life to MMA and competing for the last five years, come June 22nd it will have paid off.

With the fact that Denise is a world champion kick-boxer, Bryony knows that it is unrealistic to think she could beat a multiple world champion striker on her feet, and therefore feels Denise will probably think that Bryony will want to get her to the ground as that is where she tends to do best.  “She will be physically stronger than me and be powerful so it will be down to see who can implement their fight game, as always in MMA.

“It’s going to be a fair fight as we both have had a good preparation for this bout.  I think I am probably going in there as the underdog and that’s fine with me as that’s normal, but the nice thing for me is she may well be a top striker in Bellator and the promotion, but we are fighting in London in front of my home crowd,  which is nice for me because it’s rare that I get to fight  in front of a home crowd.  It is going to be amazing to have support there, and I’m also fighting on the same card as good friends of mine, Kate Jackson, Charlie Leary and Jorge Kanella, and Johnny and Leo are also going to be there.  It is going to be amazing.”

Aiming for a submission win, Bryony has one last thing to say.  “Last year my fire went out, this year it’s back with a vengeance! I am incredibly honoured and grateful for this opportunity on the world stage against such an impressive opponent. I got written off as a fighter.  This year, I’m training alongside Bellator and UFC athletes treated as equal. Don’t let anyone crush your dreams if you surround yourself with the right people you will succeed!”

‘If this fight goes to the ground I think I will dominate it’ – Bryony Tyrell


Bryony Tyrell will be making her fifth amateur MMA appearance tomorrow night, Saturday, February 21st on UIC 14 at GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester.

Bryony trains out of Exile Gym in Southampton; is a working mum with two children and competes up and down the country.  Here I get to find out what Bryony has been achieving since I last spoke with her 18 months ago and I for one can say WOW!

Bryony Tyrell
Bryony Tyrell

It has been awhile since I have last caught up with you [July 2013] and since then you have been one busy lady.  Can you talk me through the last year of your achievements for which I know you have achieved a lot.

It’s lovely to catch up with you again, I can’t believe it’s been that long! Yes it has been a very busy couple of years.

In October 2013 I fought on Extreme Cage Championships – Banned 1 in Blackpool and won by split decision.  A few weeks later I was asked to do a white-collar boxing match at short notice in Andover which I won by decision.  

In November I fought on the Muay Thai World Series in Bournemouth and lost by decision.

In December I fought Main Event (MMA) on a small local show in Andover and won by first round rear naked choke.

The day after that I competed in the Grapplers Showdown Strike and Grapple UK Championships in Watford winning Gold in my weight division (-60kgs) and Silver in the absolute (NoGi).

In February 2014 I competed in the Hampshire Open Grapplers Showdown and won Silver in both my weight division (-60kgs) and the absolute (NoGi).

In April, at the Grapplers Showdown London Open in Watford I won Gold in my weight division (-55kgs) and bronze in the absolute.

In May I was lucky enough to fight on Cage Warriors 68 in Liverpool and lost by decision.

In September I competed in the Grapplers Showdown London International NoGi Open and won silver in my weight division (-55kgs) and amazingly won the absolute!

The week after I competed in the British NoGi Open in Birmingham and won Gold in my division (-56kgs) and Bronze in the absolute.

The week after that I fought on Warrior Fight Night in Bournemouth (Muay Thai) and won by decision.

Last but not least (lol) in November I fought on Shock ‘n’ Awe in Portsmouth (MMA) and won by TKO second round. 

That’s a lot of achievements for a working mum of two, to fit all of those achievements into your ‘spare’ time. How do you do it?

I’m not really sure how I managed to do all that. My life is absolute chaos for the most part to be honest, but I love it! I couldn’t do it without the amazing support of my husband, coaches and teammates.

You train out of Exile Gym in Southampton, alongside Arthur Frost who is another top amateur MMA fighter and also Pro fighter Benny Carr. How does it feel to train alongside Arthur and Benny when it comes to a fight camp?

Benny and Arthur are a massive inspiration to me. Arthur in particular has helped me out immensely; I’m very lucky to train side by side with someone of his calibre.

Your’re now 2-2 in your amateur MMA career; have been on one of the biggest shows as in Cage Warriors, when can we see you make the move to the Pro ranks?

My aim was to turn pro at the end of this year if I do well in my next two amateur fights. My concern with turning pro though is the lack of opponents at my weight. The amateur scene for women is definitely expanding but the pro level still seems to be very scarce in the UK.

Bryony Tyrell at 'Shock N Awe'
Bryony Tyrell at ‘Shock N Awe’

You’re facing Jemma Jacques at UIC 14 at GL1 in Gloucester this Saturday February 21st in an Amateur MMA bout; do you know much about your opponent or the challenges she may pose on the night?

I know quite a lot about Jemma because I’ve been matched against her before. I’ve never met her but I like her. She seems savvy and a bit fiery, good characteristics for a fighter . We’re both from a kickboxing background so I’m quite familiar with her fighting style. She has powerful striking which I’ve got no doubt could cause me serious problems if I don’t keep moving (lol). 

Where do you feel that you will be stronger in this fight and where do you feel it may end up?

To be honest I’m not sure what will happen on Saturday, I’m quite comfortable standing and on the ground, although I think my grappling is stronger. I expect this fight to go to the ground at some point where I think I’ll dominate.

Are you still part of ‘Rosi Sexton‘s’ mentoring scheme? If so, how is that going?

I’m not part of Rosi’s mentoring scheme anymore. She was understandably very busy when she got signed to the UFC so I think that went on the back burner. I will always be very grateful for the help and advice she’s given me. She’s a true icon for WMMA.

What did you think of TUF 20: A Champion will be crowned?

I really enjoyed TUF 20. It was quite interesting to have an insight into some of my favourite fighters. It’s a shame they gave so much airtime to the more unpleasant characters in the house. Angela Magana was particularly vile. It was nice to see Jo Jo and Aisling coming across so well, both a true credit to WMMA.

Bryony Tryrell at Grapplers Showdown
Bryony Tryrell at Grapplers Showdown

After your fight will the ‘Gazelle’ be eating lots of cake?

Haha…yes I’ll definitely be eating lots of cake after the fight, I might even indulge in a cheeky cider too! I can’t relax too much though because I’m fighting again in March.

Lastly, is there any sponsors or anyone you would like to thank?

I don’t have any sponsors, only my brother who spoils me with random MMA related pressies..lol. So obviously I would like to thank him and my beautiful sister-in-law Lisa who are always there for me. I’d also like to thank all my fantastic coaches and training partners at Exile and Look Borai, in particular Daniel Bourne, Gareth Blair, Dean Kendall, Janis Meiksans, Trevor Birmingham, Jarrod Speed, Rich Harding and Arthur Frost. I’d also like to thank my Mum for being brave enough to come and watch me and last but not least my husband for enabling me to chase my dreams and only complaining a little bit..lol.

Thank you for your time Bryony it is very much appreciated.

Bryony is next fighting on March 28th on Phoenix Fight Night XXV at the 02 Academy in Bournemouth.

You can follow Bryony on her Twitter here.

Bryony’s Facebook page here.

If there are any sponsors out there that would like to sponsor Bryony (every little helps) you can contact her via her Facebook.  I for one know she would be very grateful.

Photo Credit 1: Vandal Panda Photography

Photo Credit 2: http://www.grahamfinneyphotography.co.uk

Photo Credit 3: Grapplers Showdown

 

Ultimate Impact 14 Event Poster
Ultimate Impact 14 Event Poster

Fightcard:

  1. SHANE RILEY V ADAM BOUSIFF 77.2kg Welterweight Title
  2. MARC ALLEN V TERRY DOYLE 70.4kg Lightweight Title
  3. STEVE SMITH V DAVE CONLON 78kg Catchweight k1
  4. IAN DALBY V LEE RUSSELL 56.8kg Flyweight pro
  5. LAURA HANDY V FFION DAVIES 61.3kg Bantamweight ammy
  6. PAULINA MALINA V AMY O’MARA 52.2kg Strawweight ammy
  7. HARRY DAVIS V OLLY MYERS 77.2kg Welterweight ammy
  8. JEMMA JACQUES V BRYONY TYRELL 56.8kg Flyweight ammy
  9. ANDREE WARBRICK V ASHLEIGH JOHNSON 54kg Catchweight k1 ammy
  10. POLLY BEAUCHAMP V CHARLOTTE FREEMAN 52.2kg Strawweight ammy
  11. JORDAN PATEY V WILL JONES 90kg Catchweight ammy
  12. MACK STEVENS V JOSH OZANE 74kg Catchweight ammy
  13. BARTOSZ RUSIECKI V LAURENCE COATES 72kg Catchweight k1 ammy
  14. DAVE TIBBETS V PAT BENSON 90KG Catchweight ammy

 

 

 

Season One.. Episode Eight.. Female UFC Fighter Rosi Sexton


Before making history as the UFC’s first ever female fight to happen in Europe and UK.  I caught up with UK MMA pioneer and Cambridge graduate Dr Rosi Sexton ahead of UFC® MANCHESTER back in September 2013.

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EB. You’re a pioneer for women’s UKMMA, starting your professional career back in 2002.Was it ever in your own thoughts that one day women would be in the UFC and you would be here in the UFC representing the UK now?

RS.  I always thought it would happen one day. I think early on I hoped it would happen in time for me, but as the time went on I kind of gave up hope it was going to happen to me a few years ago as it wasn’t looking very likely, then the first women’s fight came around very quick, it happened very fast with the Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche fight and a lot of opportunities opened up and took me by surprise it wasn’t something I anticipated, but embraced it.

EB. Having said that if the UFC were an option back in your earlier career, would you have also taken the opportunity back then?

RS.  I’m in a better position now and the division is better on a whole as it’s a lot more competitive, to be honest it happened just at the right time.

EB. How close were you to throwing in the towel and hanging up this side of your career before being signed to UFC?

RS.  You have to remember no Professional athlete goes on forever and I didn’t actually say I had retired from the sport; I had reached a stage where I had done most of what I wanted too, and also it was getting difficult to justify the financial terms that go hand in hand with the sport, along with being a single parent to my son, I guess you can say I was just waiting for a bigger opportunity whatever that may have been, and for me, thankfully it was the UFC.

EB. Can you talk me through your feelings, emotions and pressures of being the UK’s sole Female representative in the UFC; fighting in the UK on October 26th in Manchester which is also the UFC’s first ever female fight to happen in Europe and UK in your home town?

RS. Very excited as it is huge. It will be the first women’s UFC fight in Europe, and I will be fighting in my home town for the first time in my whole fighting career. There will be pressure, but I feel it will be a kind of good pressure and I will rise to the occasion.

EB. How easy has it been to get back into training on the back of your loss to Alexis Davis? Can you talk me through the fight and your own opinion of your performance?

RS.  It was a good fight, very competitive, good performance. I could have done better and some things cost me the fight. A lot of people were expecting me to get beaten before I went into the fight, no one was talking about me before the fight, they were all talking about Ronda Rousey and how Alexis Davies would walk right through me, but she didn’t. I think she did win it, but it was really close, I was pleased with what I did, not satisfied, pleased. If I could do again I would.

EB. It is no secret this is not your usual fighting weight division, but when an opportunity such as the UFC comes knocking on your door (when you have been a UK MMA pioneer in the sport for just over 10 years, you’re not going to turn it down) – How are you finding the higher weight division?

RS.  Good question, 125lb is my best weight class, 135lb I would say I am a bit on the small side but I will give any 135lber a good run for their money in this division , win or lose they will know they have been in a fight when faced against me.  Jessica Andrade is a good fight and we have similar styles, I belong in this weight class, I am strong at this weight, I can hang with the other girls; other girls are bigger, that maybe a factor, it depends on the individual, I have upped my game slightly as I cannot rely solely to power through in this weight division.

There are some good fun fights for me in this division, having just recently fought and in my own opinion held my own against the worlds ranked #4 or #5, I belong in this weight class and of course on the flip side I am enjoying being able to eat more. (Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream).

EB. How is your training camp going for this fight? Are you implementing anything new into your training schedule or is it a case of drilling everything you know?

RS.  Going real well, had a good week, feeling sharp, have great training partners in flyweights, bantamweights at Next Generation. I’m currently training with a World class Olympic Judo athlete  Sophie Cox,  who is very solid and has dangerous throws. I am very fortunate in that  I also have Laura Howarth helping me out, who has a great striking background. Come October 26th you will see a better version of me.

EB. Now that the sport is evolving and there are more females, how has this helped you and is helping you in your current training  as I’ve seen you’ve got the likes of Laura Howarth and Sophie Cox training with you? It must be nice to mix things up and have females involved in a training camp?

RS.  It is important to have men, having always trained a lot with men, women are also important, they are different in a whole other way, which is also a whole other question as they really go at you, it is great to have a mix, you can judge where you are at with the females as in size and strength; both females are great to work with as previously mentioned, Sophie is a World class Olympian and Laura comes from a great striking background with a great future ahead of her.

EB.  What are your thoughts on the current season of TUF18 with it being a mixed household?

RS.  It’s interesting, I’m not up to date as I’ve been training but what I’ve heard is that it is going well, people are talking about it, the women are great and are serious athletes.  The women’s fights are great and this is what needs to be showcased for people who are not familiar with women in the sport.

EB. What can the fans expect to see come October 26th at The Phones 4U Arena in Manchester?

RS.  Exciting, fast paced fight, with fast paced rounds, combining powerful striking, good grappling; from what I see Jessica also has a strong background in Judo with some Jiu Jitsu skills; she is a dangerous fighter and if you’re not ready for her intensity she can catch you out, but I am ready.

EB. How did you get into MMA? I heard that you watched a TV documentary and was hooked from there?

RS.  (Laughs)  I was watching a TV documentary back in 1999 which had UK Pioneer Leigh Remedios in and now recently retired ex – UFC veteran Ian Freeman, I thought I wanted to do that, little did I know where it would lead to and that I would end up being the first UK female fighter in the UFC.

EB.  Besides the fact that you are on the Manchester card, which fights in particular have caught your eye and you are looking forward to watching?

RS.  Michael Bisping Vs Mark Munoz, Ross Pearson Vs Melvin Guillard and of course my fellow midget Phil Harris, all the fights have great UK talent on them.

EB. Anyone you would like to Thank?

RS. My team coaches Paul Williams, Danny Rimmer, Steve Campbell, Mike Leng my Nutrition coach, PhD Nutrition, Funky Gums, Ainsley Fry, Global Therapy  for keeping me in one piece, Strength and Performance gym, Rev Gear and Next Generation Gym.

Rosi Sexton takes on Jessica Andrade at The Phones 4U Arena in Manchester on 26th October. Tickets for UFC® MANCHESTER 2013: BISPING vs. MUNOZ  are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.phones4uarena.co.uk.

This interview went to print before it was announced Michael Bisping had to withdraw from the event, therefore Lyoto Machida replaced him to face Mark Munoz.

Last post for 2013 – A lot of Thank You’s and some pictures :)


2013 1

It’s been a challenging year for me but I wouldn’t change it for one second, after all I got to do what so many of you still want to do and I have achieved all of it in the six months that I started this harsh challenge – which fell into my lap purely by coincidence (you will have to refer back to my very first blog read about that one)!

I will however give a big shout out to the person who got me started not only in writing my own blog but who introduced me to what I currently do, and that is Jonathan Millard, for whom I am forever grateful to.

What alot of people, more than likely do not know about me, is that I have been in the ‘combat sport industry’ for just over 20 years now, so I have legitmately worked my way up the ladder  – although, it’s fine for you to believe whatever you choose to believe, I personally don’t give a shit, again those that really know me, know that also!

I got to cover local grass root shows, which to me I have always been a great fan of and will always take time out of my schedule to go cover them as much as I can, I  covered Pain Pit 3 times, Ultimate Impact,  Into The Cage, Neilson Promotions White Collar Boxing then I also covered Cage Warriors, BAMMA and UFC Manchester, not bad even if I do say so myself!

Then a great event happend for UKMMA – The UKMMA Expo in Manchester and I got to be part of the only Media Team that had Access All Areas and when I say that, I truly mean that; not like all the other Media people that came in, the team I was with we were set up in the ‘Green Room’ with all our equipment and at one point their was one great surreal moment that I for one will never ever forget 🙂

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It was a great run event by Darren Sherlock and Paul Crossley and of course Darren’s wife Michelle, all timed perefectly for when Michael Bisping would be in the UK, Manchester as it happens (his own town) and just after being announced he would be facing Mark Munoz, here also in Manchester in October (unfortuntaly due to Michael needing eye surgery he was forced to withdraw from the bout and Lyoto Machida replaced him)!

There were UFC athletes, Guest athletes, Guest speakers, Seminars to train with some of the  Guest athletes and stalls for the MMA community to come together and show there products of to the public; also there was the stall for SAFE MMA – for which I personally went over to Izzy Carnwath and spoke to her to see SAFE MMA  was all about, how promotions could get involved and WHY they should. I had such a better understanding afterwards.

Here is mine and Izzy’s SAFE MMA interview we also talk BAMMA 13

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBGFMXpvdHE

There was also a big NoGi BJJ competiton on, running throughout the Sunday which was awesome and six females took part amongst the hundreds of men.

At the show I managed to Video Interview (yes that was a very first for me) The Legend Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman straight after his MMA Seminar – let me tell you know this guy is 100% gentleman when talking to him, Ian made my first video interview effortless (well I thought) 🙂

Here is mine and Ian’s interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLO5WYrGcCM

I would however like to say a very big thank you to all the athlete’s I have worked with (so far)  without you giving up your time I would not of had your stories/journeys to write about and some very memorable moments to say the least, so in list of when  they were interviewed  here they all are:

Leigh Remedios

Alexei Roberts

Mario Saeed

War Machine

‘Rowdy’ Bec Hyatt

Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman

Hector Lombard

Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher

Bryony Tyrell

Aaron ‘Smackwell’ Blackwell

Jack ‘The Hammer’ Marshman

Lew Long

Jorge ‘Michelan’ Bezerra

Rosi Sexton

Faisel Ghazghazi

Mark ‘The hand of’ Godbeer

Lauren Murphy

And of course it would not be me, if I did not add in afew pictures of me with some of the athletes I had met 🙂

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Have a great New Year.

Emma

PS I’ve kept all my boxing ones out of this one but look out for it next year  🙂 

Season One..Episode Three… Bryony Tyrell MMA Fighter and mum of two


bryonny ECC banned I

Back in July 2013 I caught up with Bryony Tyrell, a 34 year old married mum of two from Southampton, you may also be thinking who? But after this reading this interview, this is one person who will be firmly on the Tip of your Tongue.

EB. Hi Bryony thank you for your time today, I know that you’re a very busy person.

BT. Thank you very much for asking me.

EB. You’re a Nurse, working in Cardiac Intensive care at Southampton General Hospital, and you also do Clinical Research as your job, how do you cope with this really stressful job?

BT. Yes, that’s right I work 30 hours a week, not quite full time, although sometimes it feels like it! It can be stressful but I’m very lucky to work in a fantastic team who help and support each other.

EB. You also hold a Master Degree in Nursing and a Degree in Molecular Cell Biology, do you want to study further and gain more knowledge in this area, or is this enough studying for you?

BT. I’ve only just finished my Masters so I definitely need a break from studying. I would like to do a Phd one day, probably when I’m too old to compete in MMA. I don’t think I could manage doing both.

EB. You have 2 lovely children aged 5 and 2 who live at home with you and your husband in Southampton. What do your family think of your new added career in MMA?

BT. Well my son is too young to understand at the moment, but my daughter is starting to follow in my footsteps, which is great. My husband has mixed feelings I think. We met doing Jiu Jitsu so he understands the martial arts side of it but he can’t get his head round wanting to step into a cage and fight for your life (laughs). He is incredibly supportive though!

EB. I also hear you’re a bit of an adrenalin junkie?

BT. Yeah, I love extreme sports! Although, I broke my leg BASE jumping a few years ago, which was a bit of a wake-up call. I’d be devastated if I got injured and couldn’t do Martial Arts. Also, having children makes you a bit more aware of you mortality, not to mention having less money (laughs).

bryony sky diving

EB. You’re not a stranger to the world of Martial Arts, I hear you hold several belts, in several different Arts can you tell me what belts in which Martial Arts you have, and also how long you have been training in them for?

BT. I’ve been involved in martial arts for 13 years now. I’ve trained in Kickboxing and Kung Fu for 12 years, Japanese Jiu Jitsu for 2 years and Krav Maga for 2 years. I hold a black belt in Kickboxing, second degree black belt in Kung Fu, an orange belt in Jiu Jitsu and I’ve just passed my P3 in Krav Maga. Since starting MMA I have added Wrestling, Muay Thai and BJJ to the mix. Jack of all trades, master of none springs to mind (laughs).

EB. What is the difference between Japanese Jiu Jitsu and what people more commonly associate in MMA Brazilian  Jiu Jitsu?

BT. I wouldn’t like to generalise because there are so many different styles of Jiu Jitsu but in my experience, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu predominantly involves groundwork. In the Japanese style we practiced a lot more throws and other stand up techniques such as escaping from grab holds, evading strikes and weapon training. Both are brilliant to learn but for MMA I think the BJJ is more beneficial.

EB. What is it about Martial Arts that interested you in the sport?

Martial arts are my passion in life. I love the contrast that they can be beautiful and deadly at the same time. Anyone that practices a martial art to a high level knows that it involves incredible dedication and discipline and also pushes your body and mind to the limits of endurance.

EB. What do you remember about your first ever training session, especially with the move into MMA?

BT. I remember my first MMA lesson very clearly, I’m afraid I was a bit foolhardy and turned up to one of the top MMA gyms in the country thinking I was a bit special because I’d done martial arts. I said I didn’t need a beginner’s lesson and inadvertently ended up in one of the fighter’s sessions, as I walked in I was greeted by the head instructor of the gym who said to me in no uncertain terms….”you’re going to die”, I made it through the lesson (much to his surprise I think) but, realised that I could probably do with going back to the basics (Laughs).  We live and learn!

EB. Where are you training now? And what gym do you train out of? 

BT. I now train out of Exile Gym in Southampton. Without a doubt the friendliest most fantastic gym I have ever been to. I cannot thank them enough for the incredible support and encouragement they’ve given me over the past year.

EB. You made the decision to go into MMA just over a year ago, how did this come about?

BT. I think the only way to truly know how good you are at fighting is to compete, and that’s where the MMA comes in. Being locked in a cage with another trained fighter who can use pretty much any style or technique against you (with full power) is the ultimate test. I’d always liked the idea of MMA but I wasn’t sure if I was tough enough for it, it wasn’t until I started Krav Maga that I thought I should go for it, Krav Maga is also a form of mixed martial arts but there are no competitions because it is purely based on self defence, MMA is the closest thing to it and also compliments it very well.

EB. You’re part of UFC fighter Rosi Sexton’s mentorship scheme can you tell me what this is about? And how it all came about for you?

BT. Yes, I’m very privileged to be on a mentorship scheme with Rosi, I can’t believe it really. I happened to be following her on facebook and she put up a post about starting the scheme and I applied straight away! She’s given me help and advice with regard to training, nutrition, competing etc… She set up the 2 fights I’ve had so far and I’ve also been lucky enough to train with her on a couple of occasions.

EB. You were due to fight Rebecca Davies on July 20th, at Merthyr Mayhem in Wales, this would have been your 3rd fight, was you approached for this fight?

BT. Yes, surprisingly I have been approached for all the fights and I’ve even had to turn some down due to other commitments. I thought it was going to be hard to get match ups but not at all so far.

EB. Your fighting weight is at 55kg, as a female in the sport I personally know how hard it is 1. to train with females, 2. to find females in the sport, 3. find a female in your own weight division, 4. with the same experience as yourself; how did you feel when you knew there was someone who had personally ‘asked’ to fight you?

BT. I must admit I didn’t know that anyone had personally asked to fight me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not (Laughs) I don’t really mind who I fight, at this stage I just want the experience.

EB. Did you know at the time, that your opponent, who had asked to fight you, was not anywhere near your scheduled fight weight;  although bearing in mind, you were 12 weeks out from the set fight date, which in all honesty is before professional athletes start their fight camp?

BT. Yes I did know and I think she took on a huge challenge to try and loose that much weight, it was perhaps a little naive to think she could drop to that weight. Although, I read in an interview she had done, it did state that she fights at 55-60kgs so perhaps that’s her normal weight, I don’t know.

EB. The fight was agreed at 55kg to start with, but it got changed to u60kg, this is not your normal fighting weight. I can see by you accepting this, you really wanted the fight to go ahead as long as Rebecca could weigh in u60kg on the day, but that was not to be, Rebecca came in over weight and the fight rightly so did not go ahead; how was you feeling at the time?

BT. Yes I did really want to fight because I’d trained hard and I need the experience. The first MMA fight I did was u60kgs as well. After having done that I realised that a few kgs, although it doesn’t sound much, can actually make quite a lot of difference. I was disappointed not to fight but not altogether surprised to be honest. Rebecca has since apologised to me which meant a lot. She’d also had a very difficult time for personal reasons and I admire her for carrying on training under those circumstances. She’s a brave and determined lady.

EB. Had you known how much weight there was for Rebecca to cut, in hindsight would you of still agreed to the fight? having gone through a big training camp yourself, dedication of your training, having your full time job, being a mum, weight cutting yourself and everything else that comes with preparing for a fight?

BT. Yes, I would have agreed to the fight. I love training and I’d like to stay fighting fit as much as possible. I’m lucky I’ve not needed to cut weight yet. If anything I should have been putting weight on. Also, David Nicholas is a great promoter to work with, I would gladly go on the show if he was to invite me back again.

EB. This goes to show, how much females will do to go and still fight, even if their opponent does not make weight as you still wanted the fight to go ahead, are you glad your corner said No to the fight?

BT. I totally stand by my corner’s decision it was quite nice to have the decision taken out of your hands because no fighter wants to turn down a fight they’ve trained for. She was 7 kgs heavier and with rehydration that would have been closer to 10. It wouldn’t have been safe.

EB. What, if anything, have you learned through this experience? Will it make you more wary of more opponents in the future?

BT. Yes, I will be a lot more wary in the future. It wouldn’t matter so much if it was just down the road but at the moment I’m having to travel pretty long distances which involves organisation and expense not just for me but for whoever comes to corner and support me.

EB. It’s just been announced by Cage Warriors that they have around 40 females to sign up, with around 18 of them being confirmed, in a new 4 weight division, which in my opinion is a long time coming; Although you are still an amateur, do you see yourself moving to the pro ranks anytime soon, especially with a organisation like Cage Warriors leading the way forward, who will offer female’s the chance to get regular fights and be evenly matched?

BT. Yes that’s very exciting news! I would love to move up the ranks at some point if I’m good enough. Being signed to Cage Warriors would be a dream come true and I love having a goal like that to work towards.

EB. What is next for you? Do you have another fight lined up at all?

BT. I have 2 Muay Thai interclub fights lined up this month. I’ve also been asked to fight on Extreme Cage Championships in Blackpool next month which is very exciting but not as yet confirmed.

bryony tyrell side kick

bryony spinning kick

EB. Your fellow team mates Arthur Frost and Benny Carr were both fighting July 27th on the ShockNAwe card, which both whom won; were you there? If so how was that seeing them in true winning style? 

BT. Yes, I couldn’t miss that! They both did fantastically, we were all so proud to be there supporting them. Benny’s fight was deservedly the fight of the night, they’re both superb athletes and destined for great things.

EB. Is there anyone you would like to thank?

BT. First and foremost I’d like to thank all my fantastic instructors, training partners and team mates at Exile Gym and Essential Krav Maga. I’d also like to thank Rosi Sexton for her invaluable insight and help, also my husband for putting up with my ridiculous training schedule and last but not least my amazing brother, Vaughan and sister in law, Lisa, for their unwavering support and for traipsing around the country after me .

5 Quick Questions

What is your fighting Nickname?

At Exile they call me the “Gazelle” because I bounce around and have a silly run apparently (Laughs)

Favourite  Fighter ?

I’m going to have to say Rosi Sexton and Joanne Calderwood because they both have such unique skills.

Favourite  Film ?

Argh that’s tough I think it’s got to be ‘Last of the Mohicans’.

Favourite  Food ?

Definitely cake! Don’t mind what type just any cake.

If you were to hold a dinner party, which 3 guests past or present would you invite and why?

I would invite Gordon Ramsey so he can cook (because I really can’t!), Bruce Lee so he can teach me the one inch punch and Will Ferrell just because he’s brilliant!

After this Interview Bryony Competed in the following events:

August  17th  Muay Thai + K1 Interclub

October 12th   ECC Banned I   Amateur MMA – Won Decision

October 26th   Charity Boxing Match  – Won

November 16th  Mens Health Survival of the Fittest 10k run 30 obstacles – Just for fun!

November 23rd   Muay Thai World Series –  Lost in a close decision

December 7th    Fight Night  in aid of Womens Breast Cancer – Amateur MMA – Won RNC Rnd 1

December 8th Grappling Showdown –  NoGI BJJ – Gold (Own Weight Division)  + Silver  (Absolute Division)

I for one know this young lady will be going very far in this sport, watch out for her in 2014 🙂

Photo Credits: Mark Watson, P4P Photography, Muay Thai World Series and Bryony Tyrell