Salford-born fighter Sheldon Ryan, 26, has made a name for himself in amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) and is now hoping to turn professional.
The fighter has amassed an impressive 5-1 record including a win at a top promotion in Cage Warriors, using the Salford anthem Dirty Old Town as his walkout music.
He is now hoping to put a troubled past behind him.
Sheldon stated: “As a kid people were always picking on me a lot because I was small. I was always fighting.”
After being targeted by bullies in his childhood, it was his nana who told him to learn how to defend himself and he heeded her advice again years later, picking himself up from the canvas to join ONE MMA academy in Swinton.
At first a hobby and a means to keep fit, it didn’t take long until he was hooked and wanted a career in the sport.
He added: “I was on holiday with some of my mates in a bar watching Paddy Pimblett fight on Cage Warriors, and I thought I wouldn’t mind having a go at this.
“I have a really good strength and conditioning coach who gets us to write down our aspirations, along with the time frame of when we think that goal is possible and what we believe needs to be done to work towards them.
“My main goal is UFC, but first I want the Cage Warriors flyweight belt.
“Cage Warriors was always one of my dreams since watching Paddy fight on holiday. It’s the iconic yellow gloves that make it and so many great fighters have been on the show.”
The up-and-coming fighter continued his ascent with a win via unanimous decision against a tough opponent at Cage Warriors in his latest fight.
The pressure competing for a top promotion didn’t phase him. He said: “Without sounding cocky, it felt like I should have been there.”
Where some freeze under the lights Sheldon does not.
Despite being unable to have the best training camp due to circumstances at home, he was elated to celebrate the win with his girlfriend.
The future and beyond
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought along many problems for athletes forcing people to train alone at their homes.
But this hasn’t distracted Sheldon who now has set his sights on turning professional as he continues to train at home and keep fit during the lockdown.
MMA fans can follow Sheldon on Instagram @sheldonryan94 and catch his latest fight here: