The myth is true: Canadians are extremely friendly. In the case of Ryan Jimmo however, Canadians are extremely friendly and dangerous. Since losing his debut fight in 2007, Jimmo has gone on to win his next sixteen fights in a row, got crowned the MFC light heavyweight champion and is now on the precipice of a promising run in the UFC. Oh, that’s not all. Jimmo is also playing one of the main bad guys in the sequel to Manos the Hands of Fate. The very film that has been long considered the worst movie ever made.
We talked to Ryan about his upcoming UFC debut, traditional martial arts, Skyrim, and of course the lovable character Torgo from Manos.
Congratulations on making it to the UFC man. Thanks.
Was the move to the UFC always something you had in your mind to be the pinnacle of your career? Or were you just going to take it as it came and not worry about it? Yes, oh yes. This is the culmination of some long plans that I have been working on for a very, very long time.
For those that may not be familiar with you, explain the evolution of the fighter: Ryan Jimmo. Well, I started off doing karate when I was knee high to a grasshopper. My father was my Karate sensei and he competed over in Japan in ’81 and ’83. He placed 5th in the world in his style of Karate. So I’ve been training for a long, long time. So I started competing when I was 10. I won regional and state championships. I went nationals a bunch of times and then I was shown MMA and the rest is history. Can I say that?
Do you think traditional martial arts are suffering due to the boom of MMA and BJJ training? A little bit, there are two different factions. Some people just do martial arts because of spirituality and exercise. I don’t think it will ever go away, but I don’t think it will be the big fad it was in the 80’s to go to a Karate school or a Kung Fu school because of the Karate Kid. Obviously the new thing is MMA. What Karate and Kung Fu was in the 80’s I think MMA is today. I don’t think you will ever see it go away though. It’s alive and well, MMA is just the new kid on the block is all.
Why do Canadians love their combat sports so much? I think by nature we are sort of blue collar. We are manly men up here, we have beards, we wear flannel and drink beer. The traditional Canadian stereotype is a manly man, so that might be part of it. Also we have some good role models like GSP. He is the one who brought Canadian MMA to the forefront and he’s a household name. So I think that has a lot to do with it.
Do you feel any pressure to become the next Canadian fighting star? I try not to think about that. I just want to be excellent in my fights you know? I can’t think like that. I think one foot in front of the other not three feet ahead. Otherwise I might stumble. I don’t want to trip and fall if I’m not paying attention to my next step. So not really…but maybe. I sorta do. I make sure my preparation is good and getting ready for my fight. I want to envision myself as a Canadian superstar but there is an old saying, make sure you pray to god but tie your camel. Which means you can pray and hope that your camel doesn’t get stolen or get lose, but you should also just tie it there too. So envision stuff but you also have to put the work in.
Did it take you longer than you expected to get to the UFC? Yes…and no. I think I would be able to hold my own and compete there a while ago even if that’s an untested theory. My manager and I had a plan. We didn’t want to go in too school. We wanted to make sure my skills were in place, my wrestling was in place. Now my wrestling is fantastic, I’m out wrestling wrestlers. I wanted to make sure my stand up was correct and my confidence was good enough. I wanted to make sure my life was in the right place and financially I was OK. We wanted to take all of these steps and make sure all of our ducks are in a row so we don’t go up there like some guys that have no wrestling or Jiu Jitsu, that are so happy to be in the UFC, but make a quick exit. That’s not what I envision for myself. I’m a complete fighter and I’m going to make my mark there.
So if they had offered you a contract in the UFC 3-4 fights ago, would you have still gone? Possibly. I was pretty close to ready. I probably would have taken the opportunity, I was borderline ready a few fights ago but now I am 100% ready. I probably would have done OK and developed as I went along but now I know I’m a good enough wrestler and I know I have the stand up. I know I’m mentally ready to do what I need to do.
Is there a particular fight or moment where everything clicked and you knew that you were fully evolved into a complete fighter? This is going to sound a little contradictory but I knew the Wilson Gouveia fight, I was floating on air for that one. Everything was moving in slow motion in that fight, but on the other hand I always make sure in my mind that I tell myself that I’m just a little not ready. I was watching this Mike Tyson thing the other day, and he was saying how for months he’s been scared of this guy, and this guy is coming to hurt him and I thought I was gonna get beat up. I mean this was when Mike was in his prime, and he was afraid of what was going to happen. GSP is the same way, he talks about always being a little insecure, and I feel the same way, but it makes me train ten times harder.
Tell us about Manos: The search for Valley Lodge. It’s an action horror sequel to Manos: The Hands of Fate and it’s one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movies of all time. Why? Because it’s considered the worst film in history. If you can sit through two hours of the whole thing people will commend you. So the director wanted someone who could fight, and he wants to make a badass movie. We have special fx guys from Hellboy and Spiderman, we have some serious people working on this film and he wants to make it completely badass. We have a lot of WWE guys in it, it’s a loaded up movie, and even if it’s based on the worst of all time, we are going to make it badass.
Have you personally sat through all two hours of the original? Oh yeah I have, oh yeah.
Do you agree that it is the worst movie ever made? Oh it’s atrocious. But you know what? This is going to sound really strange but some of the characters are really charming in it. I know it’s going to sound like it’s me just trying to sell the film, but it’s true. There is one character named Torgo and he’s the stand up character. If you go to Youtube and look up Torgo you will see. I mean the guy who filmed it was on acid and coked up for the whole shoot and Torgo is this little awkward guy who has fetishes and it sounds weird but he;s a charming character. If you have the guts and you think you can do it, sit down and watch the original, then come 2013 watch me in the next one.
Have you ever acted before? When I was younger I did a lot of martial arts theatre and breakdancing on stage. I was an extra for a few.
Anything on your holiday wish list? I was going to go home and spend time with my family but after I got the UFC fight I decided to not go home and just stay here training. So I will spend Christmas alone so I can train. I’ve been wrestling in some tournaments, I’ve been training pretty hard. After my last fight I sat around for a few weeks and got really out of shape. I ate pizza, sat around and drank beer and played Skyrim. It’s so awesome. I don’t know if you’re a videogame geek like me…
You have no idea who you are talking to. Yeah dude! Skyrim. It’s so awesome. For a few weeks all I did was game. I’m feeling good right now though, I’m fit and motivated and competing the last two weekends in wrestling competitions.
How are you doing in those? Pretty good but you know what I do? Stupid me. I get my MMA and wrestling wires crossed, so when we go to the ground I keep going to my back. So I keep getting pinned! I’m like ‘oh shit’ every time I do it because I put myself in such horrible positions and I’m upset because I know I’m better than that guy but…at the end of the day I’m an MMA fighter trying to wrestle haha.
What level are you in Skyrim Haha, I think I’m level 36 right now
Very nice. See! I told you I haven’t been up to much. I’ve only done a little of the main quest, because I keep on doing the side missions to build up my level. I just joined the Thieves Guild. There is so much to do. Are you playing it?
Dude, I’m level 44. Yeahhhhhhhh!
In my opinion Skyrim has impacted the site in a ridiculous manner. Some would construe it as negative. Make sure you just make leather bracers and steel daggers to level your smithing by the way. Just make the cheap shit huh?
Yeah, it will level you the same as anything else and it’s cheap. Also train your skills then pickpocket your money back. Ahahahahahah! That’s a great idea! That’s amazing! I’m gonna give that a try man!