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Fury Fighting Championship 45 —Interview with Fury FC LightweightChampion, Nico Echeverry

By Sijin Kurian

Fury FC Lightweight Champion Nico Echeverry (9-3) defends his title for the first time against Le’Ville Simpson (9-5) on April 18 for Fury FC 45 in Houston, TX! Nico won the title in December in a hard fought victory against Brazilian Edmilson Freitas. It was a long time coming for him, ever since he fought as an amateur around a decade ago.

“Winning the championship was an amazing experience. There have been times when the title had been within my reach, but it would be snatched away from me whether it be a loss or something crazy happening that keeps the fight from happening. Like a crazy global pandemic for some reason. But winning the title means a lot to me. It's a goal I set for myself to win the belt since I'd been a pro. And seeing that realized proved to me that with a whole lot of hard work, dedication, and a good support group behind you that dreams do come true. It was truly magical. I know it's cheesy as heck, but I was like a kid waking up at Christmas when they announced my name as the new Fury FC lightweight champ.”

Nico has made sure that despite the new hardware and attention he now has, he keeps the same routine without a lot of distractions.

“Outside of doing more interviews than I've done before not that much. I've always trained hard. I'm still friends with the same people. I still play D&D on Sundays with my friends. And I still spend time with my girlfriend any free chance I get. It's a simple life, but I have always been a fan of simplicity.”

Most of your experienced fighters today have that moment that got them into MMA, where they saw a fight or fighter that dazzled them. Convinced them that maybe they should give the sport a try.

“When I was a teenager I started getting into the UFC because I saw Anderson Silva fight Chris Leben and thought he was the coolest thing since sliced bread. At 19, a buddy of mine told me to come train at his gym, ACS MMA. I walked in and I was in love with the place. Everything from the people to the instruction to the culture. I loved it. And I haven't left since.”

ACS MMA was founded and run by head coach, Drew Ratichek. Nico still trains under Drew, who has grown ACS into one of the top MMA gyms in Houston with plenty of tough gritty fighters.

“It's fun, but boy is it tough! We got so many people from different walks of life. We got former military, nurses, stay-at-home parents, college students, computer wizards, construction workers, you name it! It makes things very fun. But at the same time, we have a lot of killers. They push me like no other. And Drew? Well the man is like a big brother to me. He knows how I train. He knows when to push me. He knows when to pull back. The man is a wizard. As long as I've known him he's been a student of the game. He is never satisfied with where he is as a coach. I'm not saying he doesn't look down on himself. He is constantly striving to improve. He is always looking at new techniques to bring in and teach us. He's the hidden coaching gem of MMA.”

Getting to this level required dedication and a good training regimen that Nico and Drew have honed in over the years.

“Monday through Friday I train twice a day. Tuesdays and Thursdays I do [strength and

conditioning]. Saturdays I come in and move around to work up a sweat. Sundays are my rest days. I wish I could say that I have some extravagant lifestyle when I train, but it's super simple and I love that simplicity.”

Nico will be headlining the Fury FC 45 card, which will take place at the Bayou Event Center and will also be broadcasted around the country on UFC Fight Pass. This provides much needed exposure to the fighters on the card, especially Nico and his main event opponent, Le’Ville.

“Not gonna lie, I got super giddy when I found out. But it's still a fight. Doesn't matter where it's being streamed. Whether it's for the UFC or in some sports bar. And no matter what, at the end of the night I'm going to get my hand raised.

“I want to thank my coaches, Drew and Gary at ACS as well as all of my training partners. My friends and family for supporting me through the years. My [strength and conditioning] coach Dominick Castillo of Cast Iron Athletics. The man is a wizard. All the guys at Iridium who have had my back this last year and have been helping me. Eric Garcia and everyone at Garcia Promotions for putting on one heck of a show! And last but not least, my beautiful girlfriend Veronica Sanchez who has helped me get through this fight camp with the best food possible as well as being there to support me through all of

the hard times. Love that woman. Can't wait to put on a show for everyone!”

You can watch Nico defend his title against Le’Ville Simpson at Fury FC 45 live at the Bayou Event Center on April 18, or on UFC Fight Pass!

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