In what is arguably the deepest talent pool in Australian MMA, Rusty McBride is rapidly establishing himself as one to watch in the highly competitive lightweight division. Coming off a quick first-round stoppage of Richard Buhrmann at AFC 2 event in September, ‘The Wrecking Ball’ has his sights set on the sport’s upper echelon of fighters.
Born into a family of martial artists, McBride’s introduction to the world of combat sport was a natural one with his involvement in Goju Kai karate from an early age. His parents, both of whom were avid practitioners and instructors of karate in their own right, oversaw the development of their prodigiously talented son as he rose through the ranks in his early years of the sport.
“I well and truly grew up with the sport. It wasn’t until about five years ago or so that I decided to give Mixed Martial Arts a go. I’ve always been into sport, it was just another chance for me to test myself and compete at a high level. It really just grew from there.”
Prior to his involvement in MMA, McBride had excelled in various sports growing up. With his extended involvement in state development squads in swimming, representative teams in Australian Rules as well as representing Australia at under-18 level in Rubgy League, it was clear that young Rusty was more than just your average ‘sporty’ kid.
Despite the successes in other sports, it was eventually MMA which McBride chose to dedicate his training to and now spends time between his father’s Goju MMA gym as well the highly regarded Dominance MMA in Richmond, Melbourne.
“The two coaches that help me the most are David Hart and Cameron Rowe. They are a great bunch of guys and all the training partners are great over there. There are always training partners there to emulate my opponent. Obviously there are fantastic BJJ guys there but there are also great striking guys too. Other days I’m at my old man’s gym. I do a lot of training there because it’s closer. I also have a pad holder that works with me every other day, he also lives close by.”
Plying his trade as a qualified personal trainer during the day, working from his own studio, McBride believes the nature of the job and commitment to fitness also helps a lot in his training and fight preparation.
His last victory, an impressive TKO, highlights the evolution of his game in what is currently still a young MMA career. After rocking his opponent Richard Buhrmann with a powerful right hand, the ‘Wrecking Ball’ swiftly finished the fight with a flurry of vicious knees and strikes, securing him KO of the Night in the process.
“In the past I’ve liked taking the fight to the ground and finishing there. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve gained the confidence in the stand-up.”
Like so many Australian fighters plying their trade on local shows, the dream of fighting overseas remains the goal. For McBride, this is no different as he continues to impress on his quest to climb the ladder of Australian MMA.
“The US is where everyone wants to go, particularly the UFC of course. Any means that I see as a path there I will definitely take. These things don’t come overnight though.”
In regards to the current MMA scene in Australia, McBride is quick to point out that the sport is still finding its feet. With the use of a cage for sanctioned MMA events still outlawed in Victoria, McBride acknowledges that the sport has a long way to go despite its progression in recent years.
“Once the cage gets legalised in Victoria, fighters can fight in a safe environment without having to worry about flying through ropes. I feel that will help the sport pick up. A lot of gyms are just starting to get decked out with equipment to replicate the fighting in the cage and this helps us fighters out a lot.”