Dylan Hare has finally completed his journey from ‘wimp’ to ‘warrior’.
The Sydney-based 29 year-old, who grew up in Deni, completed his time as a competitor on the international reality TV series Wimp 2 Warrior in Sydney on Saturday night.
The show’s ‘wimps’ were trained by professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters and coaches, with competitors originally set to take part in a six month MMA camp before having a professional fight in the octagon.
Dylan started his journey in February 2017, but various injuries had postponed his fight date until the past weekend.
The 18 months of hard work culminated with a fight against Gino ‘ The Peruvian Nightmare’ Espinosa, with Dylan forcing his opponent to tap out 36 seconds into the first round via rear naked choke.
Dylan said it was a relief to finally step into the cage.
‘‘It all happened so quick,’’ he said.
‘‘I was told before the fight that my opponent had a bit of a jiu jitsu background and that it would be quite a challenge. Because of this my head coach said to try and avoid going to ground.
‘‘Right before the fight though, my jiu jitsu coach said that I had a strong ground game and that he felt confident in me to take it to the ground if I needed to.
‘‘I remember starting the fight by throwing a push kick and landing a kick to his ribs soon after.
‘‘Gino tried to throw a push kick of his own but made the mistake of not planting his balancing leg to the ground.
‘‘I defended it with a leg sweep and was quick to control him on the ground.
‘‘He initially defended well by tucking his chin so I couldn’t put the choke hold on. So I postured up and threw a couple of punches.
‘‘As soon as he lifted his chin I went for the rear naked choke. I wrapped my legs around him like a koala and had complete control.
‘‘When I locked in the submission I knew I had it. I was already smiling at my coaches telling them that I had it and Gino tapped out.
‘‘Part of me feels that it would’ve been nice for the fight to go longer and that I could show off everything I had learnt over the past 18 months.
‘‘I’d worked hard on my head kicks and striking but didn’t really get to show that off at all.’’
Dylan first signed up for the show as a tribute to his late friend Clark ‘Grubby’ Jones, who sadly passed away in November 2016.
When they were children Dylan and Clark dreamed they would play basketball in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls as well as compete in the ring as professional wrestlers in a team called ‘Bull Bashers’.
While he doesn’t play basket- ball, Dylan carried that dream over to the octagon for his fight, wearing a custom made mouthguard with a childhood photo of himself and Clark in a fight pose with the words Bull Bashers on it.
‘‘It was awesome to be able to dedicate this journey to Grubby,’’ Dylan said.
‘‘He was my driving force to make sure I got up for my 4am starts to train and push me through all the tough times during my training.
‘‘I came out to the song ‘Hold on to the Vision’ by Kevin Chalfrant, which is the song Grubby and I were going to use as our fight song. The song was from one of our favourite movies, No Retreat, No Surrender.
‘‘I’m so glad I got to do all of this in his honour. It was always something Grubby had dreamed of doing too and he was there with me for the fight.
‘‘I want to fight again but I’m not sure if I can commit to the early starts and training like I have over the past 18 months. I need a break for now but hopefully in the future I can step in the cage again.’’