On this edition of The Insider, we speak with TUF Smashes competitor Benny Alloway. We had the opportunity to speak to him about his training, his TUF experience, and his future plans in MMA. Here’s what he had to say:
You got a late start in MMA as a professional. What was it about MMA that drew you to join the sport?
Yes, I didn’t start training until 2010 and had my 1st fight in February of 2010. Originally I was getting back into shape after being injured from soccer and after a month or so decided I wanted to experience being in there.
Do you still currently work another full time career, or are you now able to devote 100% of your time to your training?
I continued working for the first half of my career but after a few training trips to the HITSQUAD in the U.S I realized if I wanted a chance to be successful quickly I needed to immerse myself into MMA 100%. For around the last 18 months I have been training and competing full time, I was quite lucky to have a partner that was okay with me traveling a lot and being gone for up to 3 months at a time quite regularly.
What was your perspective of TUF prior to competing on the show, and did it change after having been on the show?
Obviously, I have watched TUF before and from that perspective I really thought it was a tough thing to complete, from all this drama that we get to see on TV, all these guys leaving the house because they miss there girlfriend etc
For myself I don’t see what the big fuss was about, I enjoyed being there and really for any fighter it’s the perfect setup with zero problems. The only thing you had to do was show up for training and manage your down time, which after living in fighter dorms for months on end I felt very prepared for everything that could have happened in the house.
Did competing on TUF help you prepare for some of the adrenaline rush, or adrenaline dump as people commonly refer to it, for your UFC debut?
I think being around and involved officially with the UFC on the show made everything a bit more real and being able to fight in the Octagon definitely helped myself be a bit more prepared mentally for my debut. I can imagine stepping into the UFC cage for the first time, in front of the cameras and big lights, can be daunting to fighters.
How did training with the world class coaching staff on the show most improve you as a fighter?
We had a great coaching team and I loved training with all of them, for me the time we had in the house wasn’t really enough time to take to much technique in off the coaches it was more experiencing the attitude and work ethic they had towards training and preparing for fights. Our coaches were from some of the biggest gyms in the world and along with that they were and are very accomplished fighters and coaches.
What was the best part about being on TUF? The worst?
Best part of TUF was being part of the original team Austrilia, taking the first win and first knock out finish. For me the worst part by far was losing a split decision and missing out on fighting for the title because I wasn’t in shape.
You won your UFC debut in a ‘Knockout of the Night’ performance. Tell us a little about how it felt to have such a great UFC debut.
Very hard to describe the exact way I felt, very excited and happy on one hand, and a bit teary on the other. For me to perform like I did and take the KOTN in my home town is something I will never forget. A lot of fighters don’t get to do anything like that so I’m very grateful I have had the chance to do it.
In your last fight you came up short against the undefeated Ryan LaFlare. You were the first person to take him the distance in a fight. Talk to us a little about that fight, and the disappointment you must have felt with the result.
That fight was a fight I never should have taken, I damaged my ankle pretty bad a few days before we were due to fly out to Sweden, and had been battling a knee injury for the past few months. I really acted like an amateur in that I let my emotions and pride make the call if I should pull myself from the fight or not. I thought I could get the job done on one leg and it has been a very painful learning curve.
It was very disappointing considering I was at 50% for the fight, it went the distance, and I really didn’t have a mark on me, so to lose a decision that felt like I was in a grappling match is really something I never want to be a part of again.
When can we hope to see you back in action? Do you have any information on a potential next fight?
Now I’m healed up and back to 100% my manager has been in touch with the UFC and let them know we are good to go. Whoever they match me with should be expecting that same guy that stepped into the cage last December looking to do damage and get the knock out.
Anyone, coaches or sponsors, you’d like to mention as we wrap up?
Without Marc Fiore, Vince Perry, Mark Edmonson, Jason Roebig, the crew at PUMMA and AXIS gyms I really wouldn’t be where I am and accomplished the things I have today. Mike from Planet Max Australia, Eddie from mmaapparel.com.au for having my back with continuous sponsorship and my wife and son Shonel and Chael for helping me stay motivated to compete against the toughest guys on the planet.
Thank you for your time Ben and best of luck in your future UFC career!