Monday, November 26, 2012

Make my dreams a reality

In 1979, six years before Rick Nuno (pictured @ left) was even born, the music group GQ had a disco hit song called 'Make my dreams a reality'. 33 years later, the 27 year old Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Bethlehem, PA is doing just that as he prepares for his professional debut on Friday December 7th @ the PA Caged Combat VII Show at The Sands Casino in Bethlehem.

Back in August, I interviewed Nuno before his fifth amateur fight at the PCC VI show. It ended up being his fourth win in five fights, with his only loss coming at the discretion of a stopped bout due to a cut. At the time, Nuno was splitting his training between the renowned AMA Fight Club in Whippany, NJ and the Allentown Boxing Club under the tutelage of Lemuel 'Indio' Rodriguez.

While things remain relatively the same, the level and intensity has risen under some subtle changes. Nuno AKA 'El Numero Uno' (The Number One), who holds down a part-time job, commutes to AMA five days a week an hour each way. He then trains his boxing with Rodriguez in the evening three or four times a week at Rodriguez's new gym in Bethlehem, which he opened with his prize pupil, boxing welterweight contender Ronald Cruz.

The level of training at AMA has always been tough, but now that Nuno is a professional, he attends pro practice; this means he's working side by side and with some very well known fighters. Since he will be competing in the lightweight (155 lbs.) weight division, some of the names Rick told me he's been working closely with include, UFC veteran Charlie Brenneman, UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller and 'Ultimate Fighter' alum Andy Main.

It was Brenneman who cornered Nuno in August and who told me, "If we can get his ground game to be as good as his hands, he's going to be really good;" pretty high praise for a guy who's only been at this game for two plus years. Yet, for all his advancement and success, Nuno remains grounded; "I'm very fortunate and blessed to have all these great people in my life," he said. "I'm very excited for what lies ahead, but I will always remain humble because I remember where I came from."

It's that attitude and commitment that has many, including Mike Constantino, Trainer and Manager at AMA, believing Nuno has a promising career ahead of him. I asked Nuno, who used to compete at (170) if he's having any issues making weight and he told me, "Not nervous at all about the weight. I've been following a strict diet, doing what I'm told and I feel phenomenal."

When asked if training as an amateur is any different than training as a professional, his response was, "To be honest, yes and no. I always trained as a professional and treated myself as such, even when I was fighting as an amateur, so no not really."

When asked if there was any pressure fighting in front of his family, friends and hometown fans, he said, "No, it's already a normal thing for me. Having had five amateur fights all in my backyard pretty much has made it a normal thing for me now; my comfort level is there. When I know its game time, all my preparation and confidence comes into play. I have tunnel vision, thus I tune everyone out other than my coaches; it's all business brother."

On December 7th, his opponent Brad Mountain (1-2) will have the professional experience on Nuno, but Nuno will have the backing of 'The Christmas City' fans. He told me, "My opponent prefers striking like me, so I'm hoping to give the fans an exciting fight." Just 18 days before Christmas, I wouldn't blink, because if everything goes according to plan, he's going to make his dreams a reality and give everyone in Bethlehem an early present.

I want to thank Rick Nuno for his time during this interview.

Rick Nuno would like to thank AMA Fight Club, Ron & Indio's Boxing Gym and Nazareth Barbell Strength & Conditioning

He also would like to acknowledge his sponsors: Home Base Skate Shop, ABE Empire Clothing, DMS Transport and El Greco's Pizza

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