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  • Writer's pictureAudra Murzycki

Q&A With Anthony Loycano Ahead of The CS/R Phoenix Invitational.

Updated: May 22

Windham, NH - I had the opportunity to sit down with Anthony Loycano out of Renzo Gracie, New Hampshire who will be competing in the Lightweight Division at the upcoming CS/R Phoenix Invitational. He has some exciting plans to bring his New England toughness out to Arizona.

Q: What motivates you to accept matches on this scale? Some guys like the stage, for others it's money, or is it the action?

A: Well, it has nothing to do with money; most of the time it costs me money, especially to travel. No, I need the motivation. I feel like if I’m just coming to the gym and I don’t have something that I’m working toward, I’ll just get into the laziness of ‘I don’t have to go live today,’ and I don’t want to be that way. I’m 36, I’ve been competing since I was an eighth grader wrestler, and after that it was MMA. I’ve always had something to work toward. It has nothing to do with the spotlight. Well, I guess there’s an adrenaline rush. No one can deny that and I guess I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. But at the end of the day that’s not why I do it. I do it for my training so that I don’t get complacent and lazy. And as soon as one match is done, I’m looking at what’s next.

Q: You’re known for seeking tough matchups. Are you addicted to the challenge?

A: I don’t like saying no to a fight. There’s no reason I can’t, you know, I’m always training. I can never say that I’m out of shape because I’m here five or six days a week. I’m always fight ready. And I’ve taken match ups where people have fifteen pounds on me. I just think, oh well, I’ll be the underdog. Obviously, you want to win but win, lose, or draw, you gain experience and have fun with it. I have no ego. Not anymore. I’m just known for tough fights because I don’t want to say no. Also, I’m a one stripe black belt. Anyone I fight is going to be tough. At my level, there’s no easy opponent.

Q: How do you feel about being an unknown in Phoenix? The local academies aren’t familiar with you and you’re unofficially listed as the 2 seed.

A: I love it. Bring it on. No one knows my style. I have no idea what any of their styles are. Not everyone in this area knows me but people around here know what I want to do. And in Phoenix, I guarantee you when I leave, they’re going to know exactly who I am.

[Thoughtful pause.]

I’m the number 2 seed? I had no idea. I can’t wait to meet the number one seed. Now that you’ve said I’m number 2 that means someone is over me. Cool, that’s who I want. I’ll take them my first match, I don’t care.

Q: Tell me about your wrestling background.

A: I’ve always been a defensive wrestler. I don’t do too much shooting. A lot of my style is about underhooks, slide-bys, stuff like that. I was always a smaller guy. I don’t really like being stuck underneath somebody and I also feel like when you get sprawled on there’s a lot of energy to lift them and then in jiu jitsu there’s a lot of chokes. I don’t like the idea of having to fight out of a guillotine even if it’s a perfect shot. If someone gets a guillotine choke, even if they’re not better than you, if they’re just strong, it’s a lot of wasted energy to get out of a position that I don’t like to be in. So, my wrestling is very conservative.

Q&A With Anthony Loycano Ahead of The CS/R Phoenix Invitational

Q: Do you find wrestling as useful in a sub only?

A: It’s not something we do a ton of in jiu jitsu but if you watch the big championships, those guys all wrestle. They can score two points for the takedown, scramble back to the feet, score another takedown, and now they’re up 4-0, you know what I mean? So, I’m definitely starting to get back into my roots as far as wrestling goes. In my last match against #LeonDavis, I was expecting an eight-minute submission only match and the day of the fight it became a six-minute referee’s decision and he won by wrestling the entire time. After

that, I was like, ok, I shouldn’t be getting out-wrestled like this. I’m going to start focusing on my wrestling again. I kind of feel like jiu jitsu guys don’t like wrestlers. We’re aggressive. And as you get more and more into training, they start pulling you more into jiu jitsu and out of the wrestling and I feel that I don’t get to use my wrestling as much as I should. So now I’ve been sharpening that sword so when I go to this match, we’ll have to see if they can out-wrestle me, deal with my aggression, and with my takedowns. I have a very strong feeling that as I start getting deeper and deeper into this tournament, people are going to see my wrestling and not know what to do with it and then you’re going to be seeing a lot of people pulling guard on me.

Q: What made you decide to focus on BJJ after a career in MMA?

A: I think my last fight was 2013. I was getting hurt like crazy. I broke my L5 vertebrae in my back training for an MMA fight. The fights themselves weren’t as bad, but fight camps for MMA are just brutal. Sparing all the time? Yeah, and MMA mentality is just a different switch. Jiu Jitsu is beautiful, you know what I mean, you can help people. It doesn’t have to be that aggression side. When you’re a fighter you have to have a different mentality. And I was just done with it. I had my daughter in 2012. I have responsibilities. I’m married, I own a house, and the way I looked at it, if I get hurt fighting, its selfish. My family will be the ones who suffer for it. I can still be a very big part of this sport and not have to put myself through that side of it. There have been many times where I think I want to do a come-back fight and then I talk myself out of it because there’s no reason to. When I was younger, I feel like it was all ego and I wanted to show that I was one of the toughest people. I feel that I don’t have to do that anymore. I know what I am. Anyone in this school would tell you I’m tough. And that’s what it always was to me. I don’t have to be the best but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be out-toughened. That’s what I say about wrestling. I may not be the fastest, I may not be the strongest, I can’t control that. But there’s no one who is going to out-work me. I

can control that.

In jiu jitsu, it’s a little softer. You’re not getting punched in the face or kicked. Don’t get me wrong, you still get injuries, of course, but its just a different type of injury. You wake up sore not battered. I feel like I’ve been grappling long enough that I can control the outcome a little bit more. I can fall how I am supposed to fall. When you’re getting knocked out, it’s like you’re fighting from a fog. You’re there but you’re not really there. Like I said, there’s times I miss it, there’s times I think I could still do it. And if anything, at that point, it would just be to prove it to myself. But I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made.

Anthony Loycano takes the back of Dion Rubio in competition

Q: I like the mentality of ‘No one is going to outwork me; I can control that.’ Do you impart that on your students or training partners here who are getting ready for matches?

A: I have a reputation at this gym for training very hard with certain people. When we roll it is almost a fight. Heavy crossface, knee on belly, and these guys can really take it. They can handle the grind and I need that type of mental toughness. Because at the end of the day its too easy to quit. Any time you have a jiu jitsu match you can end it whenever you want. All you have to do is tap. To get that mentality of ‘I’m in a bad position’ or ‘I’m exhausted’ but to reach down a little bit deeper and to pull it out of you is a tough thing to do and not everyone has that but I want to bring it out of them. I make them go into deep waters and when all they want to do is quit, I put so much pressure on them. They can tap, but they won’t do it. They’ve got to dig deep and learn what that’s like. That’s something I’ve always done. I wrestled varsity for all four years in high school and one of the only reasons is that I was tough. I’d have the mentality that ‘I don’t care who you are. I don’t care if you’re an Olympic champion. Come beat me.’ That was always my mentality. Wrestling practice is awful. But I’d look around a room and think I’m exhausted but then wonder ‘Why is that guy still going’? So, if he’s still pushing, there’s no way I can quit. How can I look at myself in the mirror giving up when somebody else is still going. I can’t do that.’ So I bring that toughness and that’s 100% how I train the people who I take under my wing.

Q: Why do they call you “Chip”?

A: I’ve had it my whole life. Even in high school my teachers wouldn’t know who “Anthony” was. Everyone always called me Chippy or Chip. My grandmother hated the name Anthony growing up so she started calling me Chip when I was a baby. I had fat cheeks and looked like a chipmunk. And there was a baseball player she loved named Chipper Jones so she called me Chipper. And as I got older everyone started calling me Chippy. All of my close friends have always called me Chip, none of them ever called me Anthony. Here, it’s a half and half. The people I am close with call me Chip but the new people call me Anthony. But in high school even when I got called down to the office, they called me Chip.

Q: Anyone you’d like to Shout-out?

A: Yes, you can check out my sponsor @chokeartist.bjj and get some cool gear from them. And then I want to thank my gym #RenzoGracieNewHampshire, especially my coach #KevinLandry who does a lot for me.

Q: Any last thoughts you’d like to share with us?

A: These new kids, they may be younger, they may be faster, they may be stronger but I just don’t think they have any idea what its going to take to beat me. I bring that old school mentality and I just don’t think people have it in them anymore. I feel like this new generation doesn’t have that toughness and while they have all their fancy moves, all these leg locks, I think when it comes down to it, old school jiu jitsu and old school toughness will take them for an absolute ride and I don’t think they have any idea how they’re going to deal with it. In theory, it’s easy to withhold the storm, but you have to bring my type of aggression, my type of pressure, and I just don’t think they have it in them. And if they do, I can’t wait.


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