Ireland seems to be breeding prosperous MMA talent by the dozens these days. When scrutinising the last 5 years (avoiding the obvious household names such as Crumlin native Conor McGregor, adopted Irish son Artem Lobov and fighter turned celebrity Paddy Holohan) it is clear to see why in the grand, ever-expanding world of MMA, that Ireland is among the leaders for talent production.
On scratching the surface of the amateur and professional regional ranks, there is a host of talent that seems to be bubbling away ready for the big time. One that is climbing the ladder in the amateur (soon to be pro) ranks, is Romanian born Andreeas “Judoka” Binder who hails from the Shaolin Academy in Galway.
Shaolin Academy fighters are sculpted under the tutorage of veteran professional fighter Ben Davis. They have gained momentum and are now flourishing as one of the busiest MMA clubs in the country and have earned a solid reputation for consistently breeding promising fighters, competing on a range of shows, on all different levels.
A skilful Muay Thai practitioner, Binder has already gathered himself a spotless record of 6-0 in the K-1 amateur leagues. He is more than comfortable with trading shin from the centre of the ring and this type of competition has certainly shaped him in respect to the striking fundamentals, where he demonstrates a clean yet powerful kicking game.
However, make no mistake, Binder is no one trick pony – prior to him competing in MMA, he was a competitive Judo player from 12 years old, earning a second-degree black belt in the process. Two of his seven wins in his MMA career have been by submission with a impressive Round 3 armbar to take the super welterweight strap at Cage Ring Championship 6 against a durable Dawid Wisniosz being the most notable.
On November 25th in Galway, he looked to add to his title collection, however, this did not come to fruition. A close decision loss to John Mitchell but a slight spanner in the works of his quest to grab another strap.
Binder has since fought twice in the cage, finding a new stride. He has, by all means, redeemed himself with a very closely contested split decision over Ian Garry at Clan Wars 31 where he showcased his Judo repertoire, throwing his opponent to the mat multiple times with heavy slams and tosses.
Most recently in June 2018 at UK Fighting Championships 7, a slick Rear Naked Choke finish against Graham Mealand solidified his current double win streak with subsequent talks of going pro in the not too distant future.
I caught up with Andreeas to discuss Irish MMA, his career up to now and future plans. Here’s what went down…
Brad Dalrymple: Andreeas, its good to catch up. Can you start by telling me a little around your beginnings and home life for the people that don’t know – how did you end up in Ireland training and competing in MMA?
Andreeas Binder: Well, I came to Ireland when I was 7 years of age, I was always fighting in School so my parents decided to throw me into something related to Martial Arts to kill my energy and keep me busy. I started Kickboxing but didn’t really enjoy it, so I then started Judo at the age of 12 and in the space of 5 years, I got my black belt and dominated everyone in my division. I then entered a novice MMA event, representing my Judo club “Athenry Judo club”. Then Benjamin Davis spotted me and said I’m talented and should give it a go, so I did. The rest is history. Now, at the age of 21, I have 4 belts and my 2nd Degree Blackbelt in Judo
BD: So, with respect to your move to Shaolin Academy under coach Benjamin Davis, how do you think this has impacted your skillset and career?
AB: Ever since I joined [Shaolin Academy and Benjamin Davis] it has shown me new skills. Because of his high-level boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background, I have learned how to implement them in my game. The Judo played a big part in my career, but it has opened my eyes to more opportunities.
BD: So, it looks like your game has developed over the past few years. How would you describe yourself as a fighter? What can people expect when you are on a card?
AB: My game has developed big time, people love seeing me on the card because they are excited to see me throw people with Suplexes and other Judo throws because you don’t see it often. Like I said, I can finish a fight standing up or on the ground.
BD: I agree, the art of Judo is somewhat a rarity in today’s game. So as for your current career, you are currently 7-4, on a two-fight win streak. What is next?
AB: Yeah, I’m 7-4 on a two-fight winning streak, beating top level opponents. But, records are for DJ’s at an amateur level. I want as much experience before going Pro. I’m defending my UKFC title in Preston on 13th October and then challenging for the Clan Wars belt on the 17th November. This will be for my fifth title.
BD: Five titles would be a hell of an achievement, even at amateur level for sure. So in respect to going pro – what is your plans and when are you taking the plunge?
AB: Well, November is my last amateur fight, so I’ll talk to my coach and see when I can make my pro debut. He will tell me when I’m ready, I’m looking for pro debut probably January or February.
BD: Any preferences on the promotion for your pro debut? Can I be cheeky and ask if you have had any promotions approach you up to now?
AB: There have been two promotions approach me for my pro debut already, but I’m focusing on these two amateur fights first, then we can discuss [contracts]. I don’t mind which promotion, as long as I get good opponents and good pay. I would like to fight for BAMMA, Bellator, or KSW – I’d like that!
BD: It is good to hear you already have an idea of where you want to be. So looking forward to your fight with Simon Ridgeway at UKFC in October, what do you know about your opponent?
AB: I know he is a stand-up fighter, he is 4-1. This is nothing special, I have fought guys like him before. I can’t wait to go in there to make a statement, I have a lot of experience so it will be good and retain my belt.
BD: Brilliant, we will certainly be looking forward to that and hopefully, we can catch up post-fight. Last, of all, should you win your next bout, where do you aim to be in the next 5 years?
AB: There is no doubt about it, the real answer is WHEN I finish Simon Ridgeway, I have my last amateur fight booked on Clan wars for the 17th November, challenging Stu Mulpeter from SBG for the title. That will be my last amateur bout, I see myself as a World Champion in 5 years. Promotion-wise I don’t care. By the end of this year, many people will know who I am, and I will prove why I will be Number 1 in Ireland and the UK.
Binder will hope his aspirations come to fruition in the coming months, and we at MMAMotion will certainly be keeping an eye on his progress. UK Fighting Championships will go down on October 13th at Guild Hall, Preston.
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