‘Baby Face’ says opponent not well-rounded enough for bantamweight brawl

Ryan Benoit may be dubbed “Baby Face” because of his age and youthful looks but he fully grasps the meaning of an age-old adage.

The sentiment “Jack of all trades … Master of nothing” goes a long way to describing Benoit’s feeling towards his upcoming opponent, Anthony Birchak, whom he’ll meet at MFC 37: True Grit in the Maximum Fighting Championship’s very first major bantamweight bout.

Benoit respects Birchak’s talents. He just doesn’t feel there’s much depth to any of his skills.

“He’s a respectable opponent, but I’ve watched him before and I don’t think he’s all that much,” said Benoit (Twitter: @babyfacebenoit).

“He’s fought some tough dudes but he’s never fought anybody like me.”

Well-rounded is something Benoit takes pride in, yet his philosophy goes beyond the standard level of acceptance for the term. The 23-year-old from Dallas, Texas, is a firm believer that there are, in fact, two distinct levels of being well-rounded.

Essentially, there’s well-rounded, and then there’s really well-rounded.

“I’m what I consider well-rounded. Birchak seems OK at everything but not especially good at anything,” declared Benoit.

“If you want to compete in a straight stand-up fight, I’ll do very well at that. I actually think his striking is his weakness so if he wants to test me on the feet I’m more than ready for that. I’ve wrestled at a high level and he’s not going to stop me with that. He can’t take me down.

“He’s going to see some things that he never expected. He might be well-rounded but not what I’d call well-rounded. He’s not well-rounded enough.”

Benoit (6-1) will square-off against Birchak (9-1) in the semi-main event of MFC 37 airing live on AXS TV Fights on Friday, May 10 from the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. The televised card launches at 10 p.m. ET/8 p.m. MT/7 p.m. PT (check local listings for channel designation).

After honing his well-rounded craft in Texas, Benoit is eager to make his first appearance in the Maximum Fighting Championship ring, and he’s squarely targeted getting past Birchak en route to becoming the MFC’s inaugural bantamweight champ.

“I’m super excited because I’ve wanted to be in the MFC for a long time. It’s a high-level promotion, definitely one of the top ones in the world,” said Benoit.

“This door is now open and it’s like a dream come true. I want to go through even bigger doors and I’m really viewing this opportunity as a chance to really expand myself and have more and more people know who I am.”

And while wrestling is certainly Benoit’s fallback area of expertise, he’s made it clear that fighting with a more electrifying approach is much more to his liking. Lay-and-pray is absolutely not in the game plan.

“I’ve developed a Chuck Liddell style,” he explained. “Definitely wrestling is my background and it’s my comfort zone, but I love to strike and I like to kick a lot. I think you’ll see I’m pretty explosive on my feet.”

Tickets for MFC 37: True Grit are on sale now and available via www.ticketmaster.ca or by calling the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024.

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