Most 20-somethings searching for superstardom typically jump at the first big offer that comes their way. Although Tyrone Spong owns an impressive 67-6-1 (1 NC) kickboxing resume, which includes countless titles in multiple divisions, the 25-year-old is taking his time in transitioning over to the world of mixed martial arts.
“Nothing is confirmed yet, I got a few offers from a few organizations,” Spong told 5thRound.com. “I can’t speak about [which companies] right now, but a few of the bigger organizations approached me already. I can say that.
“I’m a natural born fighter. I can adjust very fast, whether it’s on the ground, Muay Thai or boxing. When the contract is good and everything is correct, I will make the switch for sure.”
With time on his side, Spong decided to take his talents to Florida and perfect his game with the Blackzilians. Although the unofficial MMA team has plenty of studs in their stable, former UFC light heavyweight champ Rashad Evens has been Spong’s biggest mentor.
“Rashad told me to take it easy. Practice, but I don’t need to rush,” he said of Evans’ words of wisdom. “I’m only 25, I’m turning 26 next month. I already have a respectable record in kickboxing, but I still got a long way in front of me.
“Most of the time when you’re in the middle of a camp, you have the pressure of the fight coming up. For me, that’s not the ideal time to learn new stuff. I think you learn the best when you have some free time, but you’re still hitting the gym and enjoying training with your teammates.”
While Spong is soaking up all of Evans’ knowledge like a sponge, it’s not as though they have a one-sided relationship. Spong not only worked extensively with Evans in the weeks leading up to his UFC 133 showdown with Tito Ortiz, but he also stood in “Suga’s” corner and witnessed his devastating TKO of Ortiz in Philadelphia.
“I worked with him every day, on his movement, his punches and his striking,” Spong shared. “Rashad and me are like brothers. We help each other out and build each other up.
“Rashad is a fighter, so if you’re a real fighter I don’t need to teach you how to fight. I just [helped make everything] sharp and got him to believe in some certain things that he’s capable of. From the first day I could see he was a great athlete and he picked things up very fast, and the last day that I saw him he was doing the stuff that we practiced very fluently and he did that in the ring, too.”
When the time is right, Spong intends to compete in the light heavyweight division. He hasn’t set a deadline for when he would like to make his MMA debut, because he understands that slow and steady always wins the race.
“I am just taking it easy. One step at a time,” the humble striker said in closing. “I like a challenge, so when I take this challenge I want to be the best I can possibly be.”