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You don't have to go near a cage to experience the fitness benefits of MMA

The sport is growing in popularity as a means of keeping fit.

Former world champion boxer Ricky Hatton putting MMA fighter Paul Sass through some pad-work.
Former world champion boxer Ricky Hatton putting MMA fighter Paul Sass through some pad-work.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE FANBASE FOR mixed martial arts in Ireland has grown massively in recent years, but the rise in its popularity hasn’t been confined to armchair spectators.

MMA gyms throughout the country have seen significant increases in membership numbers, as the likes of Conor McGregor, Joseph Duffy and Aisling Daly represent Ireland in the sport’s biggest organisation, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

According to one of Ireland’s UFC representatives, however, a very small minority of newcomers to MMA gyms are getting involved with a view to competing. For most, it’s a unique way to keep fit while simultaneously learning something new.

Paul Redmond is Ireland’s newest UFC fighter, having been signed by the organisation back in January. The 28-year-old Dubliner is currently preparing for his featherweight bout against Robert Whiteford at UFC Glasgow on 18 July.

Redmond is based at the Team Ryano gym — one of the country’s best — in Finglas, where he trains alongside a host of top professional fighters including UFC colleague Neil Seery.

When he’s not being put through his paces himself, Redmond coaches classes at the gym, as well as offering private sessions which cater specifically for the individual requirements and aims of clients.

“It’s a very small percentage of people who come in actually looking to compete,” Redmond explained. “It’s just that the training is second to none. I’ve had a few GAA lads come in and they keep themselves in phenomenal shape. Even people running marathons.

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Cage Warriors 52 UFC fighter Paul Redmond is one of Ireland's top MMA stars. Source: Dolly Clew

“You do a bit of boxing pad-work with them or a little bit of wrestling and they’re zapped very quickly. It’s completely different for them. You’re also learning something new at the same time; a new skill that you might be able to use. Hopefully you won’t have to, but it’s definitely beneficial in terms of self-defence.”

Boxing is obviously popular, but the number of people training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu — a form of grappling — is growing considerably, Redmond says.

“Jiu-jitsu tends to be very popular with people who want to train hard without getting punched or whatever. It’s ideal for that, it’s a great work-out and as a sport it’s phenomenal.

“You can tailor it for everyone in terms of what they’d feel comfortable doing or what they want out of it. Some people might want to just lose weight or improve their overall fitness, whereas others want to learn some techniques for self-defence or improve at a certain aspect, whether it’s boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu or something else.”

If you fancy availing of the expertise of a UFC fighter, you can get in touch with Paul Redmond and Team Ryano via Facebook.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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