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Exclusive: WSOF 4's Tyrone Spong, motivated to build a legacy as one of the best fighters ever

"King of the Ring" will be back in action this Saturday night (Aug. 10, 2013) at WSOF 4 in the main event against Angel DeAnda. Spong recently caught up with to discuss his upcoming fight, differences between kickboxing and MMA, training full blast with the Blackzilians crew and plenty more.

Photo courtesy of GLORY

Tyrone Spong is a busy man these days.

"King of the Ring" is headed into his second-ever mixed martial arts (MMA) fight this weekend (Sat., Aug. 10, 2013) against Angel DeAnda at WSOF 4 in Ontario, California. It hasn't even been two full months since the world-renowned kickboxer blew through the competition at Glory 9's Light Heavyweight tournament in New York City this past June.

The Surinamese-Dutch fighter explained what is required to keep himself prepared and sharp for a quick turnaround.

"Just taking care of your body and being focused," Spong explained to recently. "Knowing when it's time off and when it's time to get back on it. That's exactly what I did."

This will be the first time Spong is the main event on an MMA card, something he has grown accustomed to in his kickboxing career.

"It's a good feeling," Spong admitted. "I'm used to it. I've been headlining a lot of events since the age of 18. It's not something that's new to me," he continued. "But, I feel appreciated also because of the fans. The fans really want to see it. I think I am going out there and becoming a much bigger name in the MMA scene now, too, and I like that."

Spong said he feels "confident" after winning the Glory 9 tournament, which he called a "great victory." But, he warned, "The only thing is this is not a kickboxing fight, it's an MMA fight, so you have to adjust and switch."

Deanda is not an opponent the Blackzilians-trained member is taking likely. Spong admitted he has spent more time in the cage.

"The one thing is he is more experienced than me in MMA," Spong said. "He took the fight and he is pretty confident about it. He's hungry. He just wants to win. I see in him a guy who wants to put on a show and shock the world."

Known predominantly for his striking ability, the multi-champion is still learning the ropes when it comes to having a complete overall game suited for MMA. So far, he is pleased with his progress.

"It's going very good. I'm happy," Spong said. "I'm training with some of the best guys in the MMA scene with the Blackzilians," he continued, heaping praise. "We've got Rashad Evans, we've got Jorge Santiago, Danillo Villefort and Gesias Cavalcante. All the guys have real experience in MMA. I'm just taking my benefit out of it."

One of his training partners he mentioned, Evans, spoke recently on how Spong isn't allowed to go 100 percent when they spar together.

"Yeah," Spong said laughing. "It depends on what kind of shape I'm in. If I'm in my zone than it's something that could be dangerous. He's a big guy. His striking is real good, he's on point, you always have to be sharp when you are training with him."

Another Blackzilians training partner, Anthony Johnson, said recently that he and "King of the Ring" go at it hard quite often.

"We have Friday night, meet night," Spong admitted. "Anything goes at meet night. Anthony is a big guy. He can take a lot, so when he trains with me, we go pretty hard."

In his first fight, at WSOF 1 in Nov. 2012, Spong famously walked away from Travis Bartlett after knocking him down, like he would in a kickboxing match.

"It's in my system," Spong explanined. "I've been kickboxing for such a long time that if you drop someone, you walk to the neutral corner and wait for a count. This is MMA, they don't have a count here. If I drop him, I'm going to finish him."

Just because he has the ability to jump on a downed opponent to finish him, unlike in kickboxing, the 27-year-old fighter spoke of the risks involved, whether standing or not.

"It's the same. If your drop him, you learn that a wounded animal is always a dangerous animal," Spong explained. "If somebody is wounded, you have to take your time. You've got to be smart to finish it. In MMA most of the time when they end up on the ground and are hurt, you can jump on it and you can try to finish it.

"Even then you will see some guys making mistakes, getting knocked out or falling into a submission or whatever. So, I'll just take my time. If I hurt somebody, I'm a guy who is known for his finishes, and I will go out there and finish it."

Spong is very happy being with the WSOF and with president Ray Sefo-who he once fought.

"Ray is a great guy and I respect him a lot," Spong said. "I'm really happy I can do business with him because he treats me well. He understands all the fighters because he is a fighter himself. Look at this show. He is going to fight on his own show. I like that a lot."

After DeAnda, the "King of the Ring" will be pursuing a fight, in yet another combat sport.

"I'll be having a professional boxing fight probably end of this year, beginning of next year. I'm just looking forward to that. Like I said, I'm at a stage in my career where I need challenges to motivate me. These are the things that I like to do. I like fighting. I like challenging myself. I'm just looking forward to building on my legacy as one of the best fight athletes ever."

He one day may very well be.

Spong's boxing match will have to wait though, as it was announced after this interview that he will headline the Glory 11 card in Oct. 2013 against Nathan Corbett in Chicago, Illinois.

The fighter seeking to be the best ever, in all disciplines, is indeed a busy man.

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