INTERVIEW: Ryan Loder chats UFC aspirations, split decision loss in January, training with Max Griffin

Originally published at INTERVIEW: Ryan Loder chats UFC aspirations, split decision loss in January, training with Max Griffin

Hailing from California, Ryan Loder is a pro MMA fighter that has tallied up five total wins in his fighting career with one loss.

Loder’s fighting style is one that includes amateur wrestling and while speaking to the D1 All-American, he talked about putting that skillset to use while at the Apex Wrestling Academy where he was the head coach.

The school is currently ‘on hold’ as Loder put it, but he does coach every Friday for the wrestling portion of Team Alpha Male MMA’s sessions.

So right now, I kind of put the Apex (Wrestling Academy) on hold. Just that part of the everyday type-coaching. I do wrestling camps with that, so when I’m not in fight camp, I’ll do wrestling camps and just kind of one-offs there. I do coach every Friday for the wrestling portion of the MMA for Team Alpha Male so that’s kind of where I’m giving back and then a lot of my coaching has shifted to MMA stuff so I can get my practice in along with helping guys out and a lot of guys here, they’re way better strikers than me. They’re world-class kickboxers, I mean world champion kickboxers, Muay Thai, Karate. So I’ll teach them wrestling and they’ll teach me their striking stuff and that’s kind of how my teaching has changed from more high school and elementary to more MMA fighting type-guys. I still have my guys that I coach all the time though so, I’ll send them messages and we talk all the time, the guys that I’ve been working with a lot.

Back in October 2022, Loder helped Max Griffin prepare for his fight against Tim Means at UFC Fight Night. Griffin won via split decision.

Ryan stated that him and Max help one another and added that training with Griffin allows him to see where he’s at amongst the field of fighters. It is important for Ryan to be able to assist someone in their training while also being able to get it done when it’s his turn to get in the octagon.

I think it’s really important (to be able to help fighters but also deliver myself). Because me and Max (Griffin) are not only partners but we’re coaches to each other. He teaches me striking and I teach him wrestling and we teach each other back and forth different things because we both have different styles and came up differently but, our martial arts in general, the same concepts apply to a lot of things… It feels like you’re going into war when you’re going into the octagon and when you’re having your guys that you go to war with every day and they’re badass dudes, you’re like, okay, I had Max Griffin, I had Alex Munoz, I had Anthony ‘Fluffy’ Hernandez, I had Slava Borshchev. I had all these dudes who are UFC fighters in my corner. It’s like, yeah, I feel pretty badass right now, and then on the other side, I know we’ve been to battle, I’ve choked you out, you’ve choked me out, you’ve punched me in the face and now you’re in my corner and like, seeing what Max has done in the octagon and then having me go against him every day, it gives me a good feeling like, okay, I know where I’m at. He wants me in his corner because he knows I’m good at wrestling so that’s a good feeling to have and then also, just having him in my corner, he’s such a good dude, you know? That energy of having all those dudes that just this is what we love to do. It’s not a scary thing. It’s like, you get to go have fun out there in the octagon tonight. You’re lucky. It’s a cool feeling to have instead of being like, oh, we’re about to fight. You get to have fun man. I wish I was you (he laughed) … It’s all about doing what you’ve been doing your whole life. It’s pretty cool.

Last month was Ryan’s most recent bout. He suffered a loss via split decision to Troy Green at Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat 7.

He dove into how he was able to bounce back from that and explained that it took him a while to get over it, although he was trying to convince himself it did not bother him. Ryan said normally, he’ll be nervous going into a fight but that go-round, he was having fun. In preparation for it, he focused on striking but did not put as much emphasis on strength and conditioning.

There was a split decision. You can’t really take anything (away), what the refs say, or the judges (Loder said about his loss on January 13th). You fight your fight. Whatever they decide, they decide and you got to move on from that. There’s definitely things I saw and I could have won that fight if I just change a couple things. Things that my coaches talked to me about-about swinging kind of heavy and then outside and I got dropped in the first round, very, very end, maybe (the) last three seconds and if I didn’t get dropped from swinging too hard and maybe going on my back foot, I would have won that round and just little things you kind of look and pick and oh, ‘That’s what I should’ve done, that’s what I should’ve done.’ But, I’m a wrestler and I talk to this with my coaches and I have a mental coach that kind of talks to me beforehand. We talk once a week kind of going up to the fight and then kind of day before the fight, on the fight. Just little things about why you’re doing this and we have our own little statements of, ‘On January 13th, 2023, Ryan Loder’s gonna have a dominant performance’ so just that type of (reinforcement) in my head and I had a great pre-fight. I was the calmest I’ve ever been. Getting in the fight, I was having fun in there. Normally, I was terrified to be in the octagon so I lasted with a big, big dude for 15 minutes and I’m like, taking that away, I lost the fight but I learned so much to be in that position and I had really good strikes. The things that I wanted to do landed really well and I was like, okay, I just gotta put that together a little bit better. My wrestling, I took him down a couple times. I got nervous that I was gonna get tired and get punched (he laughed). I kind of cut him… There’s little things throughout the fight that if I just fixed one of ‘em, that would have changed a lot of the fight. But, I learned a lot. The last six months, I did all striking training so I can get ready for a guy like him, just in case I can’t take him down and I did no strength and conditioning… Losses really suck but… even if I won that fight on that split decision, I wouldn’t have learned even half as much because I wouldn’t have gone back and I mean, mentally, it’s taken me a while to get off of that and I lie to myself and say I’m fine… It’s taken a while, because you know, you always wanna be undefeated. Losing is just like a dagger and everyone’s gonna, oh, you’re this and that. You’re gonna have 27 wins and they talk about that one loss. It really irks you but, now it’s over. So the pressure of not having that, oh, you’re gonna be undefeated is over. It’s like, no dude, you just go out there and fight and if you lose, you’ve already lost before in a fight so it doesn’t matter. So that type of feeling kind of relieves you from a lot of this stuff.

This past July, Loder scored a definitive win over Sean Sullivan at an A1 Combat show. In what Loder describes as one of his best fights, he was able to trap one of Sullivan’s arms and got control of the other arm which left Sullivan exposed for elbow after elbow. 

That move, I’ve never done it before (Loder said about his finish to Sean Sullivan in July 2022). I was trying to figure it out as I was in the position, trying to look for things and I was like, well, this kind of works and this puts me here and this, okay, now I’m in a position where I have his arm pinned behind his back, his other arm in between my legs and I got his elbow. Then I can just kind of go crazy with (it) but yeah, it was an awesome — taking him down, kicking him, that was one of my best fights for sure. Never practiced that move before. I know how to now. I know how to get back to it… So kind of falling into that one, kind of figuring it out on the fly, it was fun, it was cool.

That was a lot of bows! Impressive win by Ryan Loder! #A1Combat4

— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) July 31, 2022

When it comes to what’s next for Ryan, his management team is eyeing April 28th as the next fight date. He’s hoping that it’ll be quicker to secure a fight now that he has a loss on his record.

We’re looking for April 28th right now (for my next fight). So there’s a fight that they’re looking to match me up with somebody. So pretty soon, two or three months. Take every two or three months in there… I like to get two or three months, especially if I’m not hurt or injured or anything so, I’m ready to go, I’m already sparring again so…

Hopefully now that I have a loss, it helps out but, a lot of people don’t like going against a wrestler that can hold them down and elbow them in the face so, it’s hard for my management to find fights for me so, that’s kind of why every time they find a fight, I’m like ‘Yep, let’s go.’

To wrap up the conversation, Loder was asked what his aspirations are and where he sees himself in the coming years and months.

One of his immediate goals is to work his way up the ranks of UFC and become champion. After he achieves that, he’d like to open his own gym.

I mean, four years, I gotta be UFC Champion by then. That’s the goal right there, and another goal besides that, once I get there, I can start doing other things but, after that, maybe open up my own gym. I really enjoy fighting, it’s really cool for me. I think it takes a lot of character development and you can see some really big strides in people and I think I can coach some champions, you know? I think I can get people around me and I like this environment so, getting to the UFC is the six months goal. Get a couple wins underneath my belt, would be the two, three and then probably three, four would be UFC Champion.

Ryan can be found on Instagram @ryan_loder. He spoke highly of the Mental Health San Diego site which can be found at this link.

The video version of our chat can be watched via the player at the beginning of this article or on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.