Blessed with the ability to whip up a pretty delicious Caribbean dish and also render any man who dares set foot in the cage with him unconscious with his powerful array of devastating kicks, Ammari Diedrick, is undeniably a talented man. And at Oktagon 50 on Saturday night, he’ll look to exhibit his fighting skills in front of 12,500 raucous fans.
Possessing an unrivalled warrior spirit, the Brit is diving straight into the deep end, taking on dangerous operator — Máté Kertész. But while his adversary has triumphed over the likes of Christian Jungwirth, Diedrick is used to upsetting the applecart. After all, this is a man who jumped up multiple weight divisions to win the Road to Glory tournament.
But his remarkable performances in the esteemed kickboxing competition didn’t come overnight. When he was just a teenager, Diedrick walked onto the mats at the famous Rough House Gym in Nottingham and went through gruelling sessions, trading leather with Dan Hardy and Paul Daley.
In an exclusive interview with Sporf, he explained: “That time period was the best and worst time of my career. I was 15, going on 16, when I joined Rough House. At the time, I was still in my amateur Thai boxing career. So when I was training with those guys, they were in their prime. You got Jimmy Wallhead, Andre Winner, Matt Howard, Matt Hallam, Dan Hardy, Paul Daley and Ross Pearson. We even had Alexander Gustafsson at one point. I’ve been sparring and training with nothing but monsters since I was a kid. So those Rough House days were horrible and not for the faint-hearted.”
But while those sessions would have been enough to break the will of even the hardest of men, they did nothing but fuel Diedrick’s fire to become an all-out fighting machine.
Ammari Diedrick on his emotional road to winning the Road to Glory tournament
With years of hard work in the bank, Diedrick jumped at an opportunity that changed his life forever. In a decision that optimised the phrase, ‘Anytime, anyplace, anywhere’, the gladiator stepped up far beyond his natural weight and earned a Glory kickboxing contract through the organisation’s notable tournament, ‘Road to Glory’. And it’s fair to say that his crowning moment still holds a very special place in his heart.
He reminisced: “It was crazy, especially because it was a weight category that was three weights above me at the time. I was fighting 72 kilos at that point. It was actually a favour. We thought, ‘Let’s jump in. There’s nothing to lose; it’s not my division; I’m never going to be a middleweight. So why not just jump into it?
“The fact that I managed to stop two of them and get a split decision over the other was just crazy. The first guy I fought was the favourite to win it. So, the fact that I stopped him in a minute and a half was just crazy.
“After that first fight, I went into the changing room with a massive buzz. It was just a crazy feeling. Then, winning the second one and going into the final fight, it was emotional. That’s been the highlight of my career. To win an eight-man tournament in a division, which was nowhere near my natural weight, is my biggest achievement. When I jumped on the scales, I was 80KG, and they were 85KG, and had to cut to that; I stood on the scales with a tracksuit on. I made myself, my team and my family happy.”
Ammari Diedrick is a cracking chef
When he’s not knocking people out with thunderous head kicks, the Team Renegade star, who’s currently honing his craft alongside UFC champion, Leon Edwards, and Oktagon star ‘The Jedi’ Akonne Wanliss, is in the kitchen rustling up delicious Caribbean dishes.
He beamed: “As I am Jamaican and St. Lucian by heritage, all my food is Caribbean cuisine, so I don’t really have a specific dish. If you want curry chicken, if you want brown stew chicken, if you want curry goat and rice, if you want oxtail — you got it. So when it comes to the cuisine — I’m the man. So, aside from being violent and brutal in the ring and cage; if you want me to give you a little 10 out of 10 dish in the kitchen, I can do that.
“Cooking is my hobby. I’ve always been passionate about it. My mum taught me to cook when I was 11 years old. You have to know what to cook as an athlete. You can’t just depend on people to do it for you. It’s good to have a nutritionist, but outside of camp, you want to be able to just go, ‘Yeah, let me try this. Let me just add this to this thing. And let me take this away and add this thing’. So, for me, it’s a good passion.”
On Saturday evening, Diedrick will collide with a seasoned opponent who has the crowd on his side. But as he has throughout his career, the Englishman will rise to the occasion and produce a display that entertains his legion of supporters watching back home. And when the fight is said and done, he’ll hope to have his hand raised and subsequently go the extra mile for his fallen foe by making him an extra special dish.
He laughed: “Once I’ve taken the legs off him, he can have whatever he wants. I’m going to stand in the middle of the cage and take his legs off. If he comes to wrestle, we can wrestle. He’ll probably underestimate my wrestling.
“I can’t wait for this; it’s the biggest platform I’ve been on. I’ve never fought in an arena that size before, so I’m very happy to go there, perform and do nothing but bring violence and more violence.”
Featured Image Credit: Oktagon MMA