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Tony Ramos Sees UFC Gold Potential In Austin O’Connor | UFC FIGHT PASS

Through Austin O’Connor’s Storied Career At UNC, Few People Knew The Five Time All American As Well As Tony Ramos, Who Assures Fight Fans That O’Connor Is Here To Achieve Anything He Wants.

Coming from a guy who goes way back with North Carolina’s most recent National champion and knows a thing or two about MMA, Assistant Coach Tony Ramos says O’Connor’s MMA debut is years in the making.

The UNC Tar Heel had a reputation for being one of the toughest, most gritty wrestlers to ever take the mat. Regardless of the sport, previous generations point to the toughest guy in their era as if to say, “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore!”

It doesn’t matter what age of wrestling fan it is, from 8 to 80 they leave O’Connor’s name out when they refer to the “softer” new generation.

O’Connor’s grit is universally respected, but Ramos said if you told him to describe him in one word it wouldn’t be the word you’re expecting.

“If I had to describe him by one word it wouldn’t be gritty, it wouldn’t be tough, it wouldn’t be any of those,” Ramos explained. “I’ve known him since he was a little kid, he’s a freaking winner. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one-point match, one minute left, he finds a way to win. Big wins, whether it’s a close match, whether it’s a knockout or whatever it’s going to be, he’s going to find a way to win.”

Ramos understands that winning on the mat doesn’t automatically translate into wins in the cage. Sure, he’s watched O’Connor do almost nothing but win for the entirety of his life, but there’s a lot more that goes into the fight game.

Knowing full well the personality of the former face of UNC wrestling, Ramos laughs and explains that if O’Connor chooses to be in the cage, he’s right where he belongs.

“I’m not too worried about it,” Ramos laughed. “From knowing Austin and how he grew up in the area he grew up in, I’m pretty sure he’s had his fair share of fights and taken his fair share of punches. It’s different when you have people that are doing this for a living and its technical skill. Those are the things I haven’t seen. I haven’t seen him really in a gym, I haven’t seen him with someone who’s also as skilled or as tough in their craft. A big one that sometimes raises worries is the grappling piece. What happens when he gets to the mat and starts grappling around with these guys? Do you know how to get out of the submissions? Can you get out of the ankle locks, the heel hooks? I definitely think he’s a guy that is tough enough to stand in there, take some punches, and give some punches back.”

While Ramos may have never seen O’Connor take a punch to the face or kick to the body, he’s very comfortable in what he has seen to predict that O’Connor’s got the tools to show up prepared for any fight but also has the will to win and toughness to throw the playbook out the window if he has to and simply find a way to get it done.

It doesn’t always need to be pretty, but with Austin O’Connor it’s likely to still be pretty damn painful and effective.

“[O’Connor] is a kid who always adapts to what’s going to make him win a match,” Ramos said. “When he says, ‘I’m going to do what I can to win, the kid has been a winner his whole life and he finds ways to beat the best people because he is very calculated and he’s very smart when it comes to breaking down film and understanding technique, knowing his weaknesses or the other guy’s weaknesses. That’s where he does a really good job and I’ve told people all the time, even when he got hurt with his knee, the kid’s a winner, he’ll find a way to win. If you take away his offense, then he’ll win by defense, he’ll win with headlocks. His attacks and his wrestling in MMA, he’s going to beat you on his feet. He’s going to find ways to win and not focus on the style, because that’s how he’s been his whole life.”

While Ramos may have never seen O’Connor take a punch to the face or kick to the body, he’s very comfortable in what he has seen to predict that O’Connor’s got the tools to show up prepared for any fight but also has the will to win and toughness to throw the playbook out the window if he has to and simply find a way to get it done. It doesn’t always need to be pretty, but with Austin O’Connor it’s likely to still be pretty damn painful and effective. “[O’Connor] is a kid who always adapts to what’s going to make him win a match,” Ramos said. “When he says, ‘I’m going to do what I can to win, the kid has been a winner his whole life and he finds ways to beat the best people because he is very calculated and he’s very smart when it comes to breaking down film and understanding technique, knowing his weaknesses or the other guy’s weaknesses. That’s where he does a really good job and I’ve told people all the time, even when he got hurt with his knee, the kid’s a winner, he’ll find a way to win. If you take away his offense, then he’ll win by defense, he’ll win with headlocks. His attacks and his wrestling in MMA, he’s going to beat you on his feet. He’s going to find ways to win and not focus on the style, because that’s how he’s been his whole life.”

Deeply rooted in a sport that admonishes those who don’t keep quiet and keep grinding, we’ve yet to see O’Connor build a match or fight. It may come as a surprise, but the five-time All-American actually went as far as telling his coaches he was going to be the next Conor McGregor before bidding farewell to Chapel Hill.

As Ramos and everybody else knows, though, there’s a lot of guys winning fights but there’s only one Conor McGregor. It’s going to take some serious gift of gab to reach those heights, but Ramos refuses to count him out.

“The big piece I always talked to him about is fighting is not about just winning the fight,” Ramos said. “You have to be a showman. You have to have a personality. You have to be able to talk. You have to be able to do a lot of these extra things that sell fans and sell people that will make them want to come and watch you fight. I’m excited to see that piece of it, too.”

Ramos makes it very clear he doesn’t speak to simply make people happy. Despite being one of the most likable coaches in the game, he didn’t get that way being a people pleaser. It can be taken very seriously when somebody with the time spent with O’Connor and charmingly realistic outlook says he thinks O’Connor’s ceiling reasonably is UFC champion.

It takes far more than he’s used to doing so far, but no 145ers in the game have done what he has. It’ll be an uphill climb, but so was every match against Austin O’Connor.

Catch Austin O’Connor’s MMA Debut LIVE At Fury FC 91, Sunday, June 9, ONLY On UFC FIGHT PASS!