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With international focus turning to the Australian MMA scene thanks to The Ultimate Fighter taking an interest in our local talent, one fighter is finding it extremely difficult to defend a belt that he won in March this year.
Dylan “The Villian” Andrews holds a professional record of fifteen wins, four losses; He currently holds the Nitro MMA Middleweight title and is considered by many to be Australia’s number one middleweight.
With a title defense set for October this year at Nitro Seven it isn’t his camp or weight cut that is the challenge, it’s the simple task of having a competitor that is proving troublesome.
Before the Nitro Seven title fight was booked a couple of weeks ago, all indications show that “The Villian” was having trouble with simply booking a fight.
Andrews is even taking to social media to search for a fight overseas, following the trail that the majority of successful fighters such as Kyle Noke and George Sotiropoulos have taken in order to become the Aussie MMA names that we currently know.
The plan is quite reasonable, with a limited amount of local shows available; an international affair would be needed to gain some great exposure and catch the eye of the likes of Zuffa (UFC/Strikeforce) or Bellator; especially given that Andrews for one reason or another, didn’t make the final cut at the tryouts for the local and inaugural Ultimate Fighter season.
But that setback hasn’t deterred the Gold Coast based fighter, and the determination shows both in his fight style and in his day to day interaction. Andrews isn’t just sticking to his goal, he is living it, trying to create the path rather than sit there and wait for it to happen.
This determination must have been what appealed to new sponsor Lonsdale London (Australia) in signing Andrews to a sponsorship deal and inclusion to their Real Fighters team among fellow names such as Lauren Eagle and IBF Featherweight Champion Billy Dib.
This sponsorship brings a sense of mainstream opportunities for the fighter, in a sport that is continuing to experience rapid growth in this country.
While the benefits of such growing sports are long-term, it’s the short-term issues such as lack of competition that will hinder the popularity of local MMA shows.
What is certain is that Andrews is one of the men to beat on the Australian MMA scene and it will be interesting to see over the coming weeks who picks up the gauntlet that he has thrown down for his title defense.