Andrew Van Zyl is one of the biggest names in South African MMA. The EFC Heavyweight champion has a record of 14-2 and is undefeated in his last 3 bouts. On the 3rd of October he will be defending the title against French fighter Cyril Asker.

We caught up with the champ to see how he’s doing.

Question: Firstly, how did you get into MMA?

I started training as an 18 year old at Rodney Kings Street Tough Gym, I originally wanted to try something different as I had competed in more traditional sports such as Rugby and Water Polo, I am a competitive dude so I started competing back in 2001 when SA MMA first started.

Question: What’s your favourite strike/submission to use in a fight?

I think the more versatile and experienced you are the better your arsenal becomes. I will use everything at my disposal.

Question: Your nickname is “One Gear” – tell us how that name reflects your fighting style?

It was given to me by Rodney King, I think it’s because when I trained it was only at a high intensity(very clumsy for the most part) but it stuck. I couldn’t use my other nickname at the time which was ‘face block’ 

 Question:  You also work as a teacher. How do you balance such different careers?

To be honest, with difficulty. I train early morning and in the evening. Some afternoons I’m able to get out early to train but I’ve learned to manage it.

Question: Who is your biggest inspiration?

My Father, the greatest example of selflessness and commitment I know. What a legend!

Question: What does a training day look like for you at the moment?

Twice a day, 5 days of the week. Mornings 6:00 to 7:30 strength and conditioning at the UJ high performance centre with my coach Jacques Durant. Monday and Wednesday, sport specific training at BJMMA with Bobby Kariaginnidis, Tuesday Friday sparring at BJMMA. Thursday’s running. I play Water Polo on a Saturday for some cross training.

Question: What Holes do you see Cyril Asker’s game?

I don’t really, I think he has total game. We haven’t really seen anyone push him hard in terms of endurance bar, Ricky Misholas fights haven’t lasted longer than 1 round.  
Question: How do you see the fight ending?
It will be a grind either way, need to get him out of his comfort zone and see if he can be forced into making
Question: A few South African MMA fighters have recently gone to the US to take part in the UFC. Have you been following them and what are your thoughts? 
I have, I think Garreth Mcllenan is a very professional athlete and his approach to the UFC has been the right one. He put in the work and it was good on debut. The Americans and Eastern Europeans all have a great wrestling base( from an early age)and they build the other MMA skills on top of that, I feel that as SA MMA athletes don’t have this and this puts us at a big disadvantage. We need more athletes competing/training at this level to become more successful.
Question: If you could have one dream fight with ANYONE, who would it be?
Cyril Asker
Question: What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career?

As an athlete that was professional and hard working, someone who was involved in growing South African MMA.

We wish you all the best Andrew!




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