Meet Ryan “The Kid” McGillivray (Here is his FightFinder profile). He is a 11-4-1 professional fighter from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that traveled to Las Vegas last week to tryout for The Ultimate Fighter season 13. He is one of the relatively few that made it all the way through the tryouts and now he is waiting for the phone call to let him know he needs to drop whatever he is doing and come back to Las Vegas for a chance to become the next “Ultimate Fighter” and win a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
As an up-and-coming fighter, it is the ultimate dream. The waiting must be incredibly intense. To know that you have put in the years of work and have everything other guys who have been on the show have, but maybe some producer did not like the way your hair was parted or did not like the color of the shirt you wore to the casting call, and something as small as that could keep you from realizing your dream, well, that can not be easy.
But then again, who ever said this business is easy? As a matter of fact, few things worthwhile are ever easy. But to know that you have all the skill and talent, yet whether or not you will get the chance to live out your dream rests on someone else’s opinion of you, that can be an extra hard pill to swallow.
But let’s try to think positive. Just know that Ryan McGillivray has everything it takes to be on The Ultimate Fighter season 13. And you could very well be reading about the future Ultimate Fighter winner and UFC fighter, Mr. Ryan McGillivray. ProMMAnow.com spoke to the TUF 13 hopeful this week to learn more about his background, find out what the tryouts were like from his perspective and hopefully butter him up enough so he will want to come and blog for us when he makes it on the show.
PRO MMA NOW: You seem like the perfect candidate for The Ultimate Fighter. You have a good record, you’ve fought on all of the big shows in Canada and you’ve been training partners with established UFC veterans. How are you feeling about your chances of getting the call?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: First of all thank you for the compliments. Second, I feel confident in my abilities and know that if chosen I would perform well and feel like I would be a serious contender on the show. As far as my chances to be picked, that’s tough as I am not 100% sure what they’re looking for. I think there are a lot of factors skill, record, appearance, personality etc. and it all depends on what they need for balance and for the show. On the other hand, I felt like I made a good impression in all areas of the tryouts and I have as good a chance as anyone who was there.
PRO MMA NOW: Now you made it through all aspects of the tryouts, the striking, grappling, and interview. Could you kind of tell us a little about your experience with each aspect and how you felt you did? Also, what kind of questions did they ask in the interview?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: First up was the grappling, you’re paired up at random for a roll starting from your knees. The rolls varied in length, I think depending on how Dana White and Joe Silva felt and what they saw both good and bad. I felt I did well I controlled the entire roll in the sense of positioning and was able to secure one submission. Then to striking where we were paired with someone holding Thai pads for us that the UFC provided. We threw basic combinations and were told just relax be crisp and make every shot count.. I felt I did well in this area though it was somewhat of a challenge working with someone for the first time in a situation that is at such high stakes. Then to the interview with the producers. This was a little less about fighting and more so based on personality and if we were going to be entertaining at all on T.V. As I said before, apparently as Canadians we have been labeled as boring, haha so I worked hard to have a good conversation and try to underplay this preconceived notion. They try to throw odd questions at you to see your reaction and personality and to be honest it was quite fun and the Producers were great to work with.
PRO MMA NOW: How old are you Ryan and why was this the right time for you to try out for The Ultimate Fighter? Was it your first time trying out?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: I am 24 years old and this was my first time trying out. I think this is a great time in my life because I have found a new dedication for training, I am somewhat established as far as my record, and I feel ready to make that next step. It is a long road, and an endless one in our sport, and I feel I am set up well with my coaches and skills to take that next path in my journey wherever it might lead.
PRO MMA NOW: Have you heard any word on who the coaches will be for TUF 13? If you could have as your coach on the show anyone in the UFC, who would you most like to work with and why?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: I have not heard anything to do with the coaches for this show. If I had a choice for my number one pick for a coach on the show I think it would be Randy Couture. I think we are similar in style (not comparing in any way, I have so much respect for him and his career) he has great work ethic, a vast knowledge of the sport and competing in general, and lastly I think he is just a fantastic role model for young fighters as well as as a person.
PRO MMA NOW: Do you have things set up so you can take the time off necessary if you get called to do the show? How long exactly is the taping process?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: I have set up hypothetical situations in the case that I would get the call. I believe in preparation so I am making sure (cross my fingers) if I did get the call that I have nothing but training to worry about so I can take advantage of this amazing opportunity. I am not too sure how long the taping is, I have heard that it is anywhere from 6-8 weeks long but am not sure.
PRO MMA NOW: Did they tell you when you might hear something? What do they tell you as far as when they will contact you and do they contact you even if you don’t make the show?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: They let me know they will be calling within the next week or so. I have heard of guys getting calls a little after that but it looks like within about a week. They do not contact the fighters who do not make it, as an old hockey coach I understand that it is very time consuming and never a good experience giving the bad news.
PRO MMA NOW: So tell us about your training background; how did you get into the sport, where have your trained and how did you get to where you are today with owning your own gym and teaching others?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: I have no prior back round for fighting until I decide to take it on as a profession. I broke my back when I was 16 and when faced with recreational sports or something like this at age 18 after recovering my competitive nature took over and I needed a challenge. I have never been in a fight in my life besides professionally and do this solely to challenge myself as a person and an athlete and my love for competition. I started training with UFC veterans Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald and Victor Valimaki for about 3 years and had some relative success at that time and learned so much from those guys as a fighter and more so as a person especially from Jason who is an amazing role model. I went through some tough times financially and personally as is common in our line of work and unfortunately my training and fighting suffered in the way of some tough losses. I have been fortunate to be blessed with an amazing family, and their support means a lot. My father and I decided to start a gym so I could train where I work and bring in the best we could to train with. It has been a great experience helping the younger fighters as well as training more and much more efficiently than I ever have and am a new and better fighter every day..
PRO MMA NOW: Talk about your gym a little bit, where it’s located, what programs are offered and how people can learn more or find you online?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: My gym is called Legends Training Centre (www.legendstrainingcentre.com) we are located in Edmonton and just moved to a 12000 sq. foot facility. We moved our Jiu Jitsu instructor from Brazil and he is a second degree black belt in BJJ and third degree black belt in Judo. His name is Rodrigo Resende and he has improved everyone’s game to a point where words cannot describe it. We have some great young fighters who are doing very well. Rio Wells, Steve Beaumont just to name a couple. We teach Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, beginner MMA, have a certified strength and conditioning coach who is a genius Jean Francois Dufour, as well as kettle bell classes with Mike Chomitch. We’re a young gym but doing well and have a great facility, instructors, and have no egos, we’re a very fun and caring group of people.
PRO MMA NOW: What is your relationship like with Jason MacDonald these days, do you guys still train together and what sort of influence did that experience have on your career?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: Unfortunately the distance between us has been tough to train together as well as us both owning a gym so we do not train together anymore at this moment. We still talk and stay in touch as best as I can and when we’re in each other’s city are always there to help each other out. He has made me, in many ways, the fighter I am today. I learned more than I could ever explain from him from the ground up from diet, conditioning, ground, stand up, wrestling pretty much everything. Once again more importantly he has a great influence on me in a personal capacity as well, he may not know it but I look up to him as a man a lot. He has great moral standards, is an amazing family man and just an overall good person. I owe a lot to him in many ways and hope one day I am able to pay him back in some way.
PRO MMA NOW: What is your biggest motivating factor as a fighter?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: I have two things that drive me to be the best everyday and work harder than the last. One being that I strive to challenge myself and be the best I can be and compete at the highest level I am capable of. The second and more important factor to me is my 20 month old daughter Peighton. She is my world and giving her the best life I can is my highest priority. I have a tattoo of her hand print on my right bicep symbolizing that she is my strength and since she was born always embroider her name on my fight shorts, she is my world.
PRO MMA NOW: Do you have any fights coming up Ryan or anything in the works right now?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: As of right now I have nothing on the go, I was planning on taking some time to improve my game in hopes of making the next step in my career. Also I want to keep myself open in case I do get the call to make the most of this experience and focus all of my energy to training and being the best prepared to take on this challenge if I am blessed with being chosen.
PRO MMA NOW: You are a welterweight. There’s a big welterweight fight coming up in a couple of weeks between BJ Penn and Matt Hughes. What do you think about that match up and how do you see that rubber match going?
RYAN MCGILLIVRAY: It is a great rivalry on many levels, the hard working farm boy (Hughes) against the naturally gifted (Penn). They both have hall of fame careers and have proven so much to the world that I think they’re both champions. I am personally a bit more of a Penn fan, keeping in mind I think they’re both great fighters and like them both, I have to lean towards BJ. I think he has proven he can handle stepping up in weight, and though Hughes has shown great improvement in his stand up I give a slight edge to BJ there. BJ has shown that he is almost impossible to take down and has phenomenal skills on the ground. Being so well rounded I believe BJ can take the fight where he wants and control the fight. I predict second round submission from BJ.
UFC fans be sure to follow Ryan on Twitter @KidMcGillivray .