It's been a long time coming, but light heavyweight Reese Andy will soon step into the Octagon.
A longtime presence behind the scenes of MMA, Andy has been inactive as a competitor since ending his 12-month stint on the International Fight League's Seattle Tigersharks team last June. Today, Andy confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that he has a bout agreement in his email inbox for a July 19th fight with Brandon Vera at UFC Fight Night 14, and he intends to sign it.
"That is one opponent that would be good to add to my resume as a win," Andy said from Seattle.
It's certainly the most significant uptick in the level of talent Andy has faced. A three-time All American wrestler at the University of Wyoming, Andy was introduced to MMA by veteran trainer Matt Hume. At Hume's AMC Pankration in Seattle, Andy helped a who's who of the sport prepare for their fights, but didn't step into the spotlight until 2005. He found success in the IFL, going 5-1 in the International Fight League with a 7-1 overall record. His strong wrestling base overpowered most of his opponents.
Since then, he's been offered several fights in the last year, including ones for the UFC and Hardcore Championship Fighting in Canada, but time and money always precluded a return. At 35, he had to be smart about the fights he chose.
"I wanted to fight somebody tough or with the recognition I deserve," he explains. "Or obviously have a good enough payday to fight. I've been at it too long to take fights to just fight."
Vera is undoubtedly the strongest striker he's faced, and the most dangerous. As such, Andy's game plan is not much of a mystery.
"You can probably say I intend to go towards the wrestling," he said. "That's been my strength, and I'm sure he'll expect that. But I'm getting a little older, a little wiser, so I'm not just going to dive into takedowns. If they're there, I'll take them. If they're not, I'll trade with him."
With half the time of a traditional camp to prepare, Andy is focusing on his conditioning more than anything else. Andy feels that when he is in shape, no one can stuff his takedown. Even though it's just a month, it's an opportunity he can't pass up.
"My main thing is just getting my cardio going so I'm comfortable wherever I'm at, on the ground, on the feet, or against the cage," he said. "A lot of people who go away from the game and come back in, they've never had any wrestling background or any kind of fighting, they don't know how to breathe, and they get tired all the time. I think a month's good enough."