(Osipczak pounds his way to victory over Matt Riddle)
“Slick” Nick Osipczak became a fan favourite on the ninth series of The Ultimate Fighter: UK vs. USA. His exciting style and likeable, ‘cheeky chappy’ personality formed a valid combination, though this obviously this wasn’t hindered by two knockout wins over Tommy Maguire and Mark Miller.
Osipczak progressed to the semi-finals of the show, eventually dropping a decision to Damarques Johnson in a tough, back and forth battle. The loss did little to damage his credibility, however, due to the nature of the contest and he was invited back to fight on the finale on June 20th, 2009. Again, Nick showcased his repertoire of techniques with a submission victory over the durable Frank Lester and this was enough to cement himself a spot on the UFC’s roster.
All set to return at UFC 105 in Manchester, it was the events leading up to the November bout that propelled Nick’s fight against American wrestler Matt Riddle into one of the most anticipated of the night. Bad blood was rife, and Osipczak’s third round stoppage victory over the previously undefeated American was enough to silence his previously vocal adversary.
Now, four months on, Osipczak is scheduled to face Rick Story at the UFC’s inaugural event in Abu Dhabi and we caught up with the Rough House man to get his take on the encounter.
FIGHT! Magazine: Nick, you’re returning to action in Abu Dhabi in April. First and foremost, how does it feel to be a part of a first and memorable moment with the organisation?
Nick Osipczak: Feels great, I asked to be on that card so I’m really appreciative to get on it. It’s gonna be one of the best UFCs ever I think; a great card in a great stadium. Plus, I like going places I’ve never been before, and it doesn’t hurt that the weather is nice!
FIGHT!: It’ll be almost five months since we saw you last. What have you been up to in the layoff?
Nick: I’ve been getting better! In particular I’ve been working my ground game by training in a gi at BJJ School under head coach Felipe Alves De Souza. I’ve also been spending lots of time at my own club, New Wave Academy MMA, helping my students compete.
FIGHT!: You’re back at the Rough House with the most elite welterweights in the country. Has the camp been a good one and how are you feeling?
Nick: It’s been a great camp, what with so many of the other guys having fights lined up a few weeks either side of mine, so we’ve all been pushing each other and are peaking at a similar time. I’m feeling very excited at the moment. In fact, I’ve literally just come back from a session with my mental performance coach Eamonn Madden, so I’m buzzing with confidence!
FIGHT!: Were there many differences from this camp to the last one, considering both guys are/were primarily wrestlers?
Nick: Not a lot to be honest, we’ve just adjusted some tactics for the height differences and worked on some more specific combinations which are likely to work against Rick.
FIGHT!: What do you make of Story’s skills and is there anything in particular you’ll be looking to exploit?
Nick: I don’t think his skills match up well with mine, and I plan on exploiting everything he does! I am confident I can finish him.
FIGHT!: There hasn’t much anywhere near the level of bad blood coming into this one (yet!), do you prefer to keep it professional or do you think the banter with Riddle was good for you and hype for the bout?
Nick: A bit of trash-talking hype is becoming a bit of a tradition with the Rough House! But I’m easy either way. At the end of the day, I’m still gonna win. I guess I just didn’t like Riddle’s face, but this Rick fella is less offensive.
FIGHT!: Coming back to Riddle briefly, that must have been a satisfying feeling? Were things amicable afterwards?
Nick: No, he still hated me! I couldn’t give a f**k though. He just couldn’t get over the fact I said I was gonna piss on him!
FIGHT!: Should you get a victory over a tough Rick Story, where would you be in the 170lbs pile?
Nick: I’m not thinking like that, I’m just taking it one fight at a time and enjoying my evolution. I’m more than happy to let Dan and Paul rule the welterweight roost for now and represent Rough House…my time will come.
FIGHT!: A lot of your partners and Brits are getting huge fights. Obviously Hardy vs. GSP, “Semtex” vs. Kos and then you have Hathaway vs. Sanchez. Is that a level you think you’re ready for or are you happy taking it steady?
Nick: I’m happy taking it steady, but I know from how I perform in the gym with Dan and Paul so if I’m called to step up and fight a big name then I’m ready.
FIGHT!: After taking a ‘piddle on Riddle’, what could you do to Story as there doesn’t appear to be any amusing rhymes?!
Nick: I might read him a bed time story and put him to sleep.
FIGHT!: Finally, as it’s a massive debate that’s raging in the MMA world, what do you reckon will happen when your man Dan takes on GSP?
Nick: I reckon I’ll get much better odds from the bookies than I should be getting!
Just a quick thank you to finish; big thanks to my team and everyone around me as everyone’s been great. I couldn’t do this without them and my sponsors like Maximuscle, Jaco, Tokyo Five, Love MMA, Hayabusa and Mighty Mouthguards!
Look out for Nick on the UFC 112 card as he prepares to say “night, night” to Story and continue his ascent onwards and upwards in the UFC’s welterweight division, further diluting 170lbs with British talent from the Rough House.