Randy Blake is a name that if you follow Kickboxing in the United States, you’ve heard it before. You’ve heard him talked about as an up-and-comer, a real talent and a guy who is going to make an impact on the world. He fought in the WCL when he was just 21 years old, and for the past few years has been making his impact on the Oklahoma scene, but hasn’t left home much. That all changed this past weekend when K-1 brought Randy Blake into the fold, pairing him up against K-1 USA veteran Dewey Cooper.
LiverKick caught up with Randy Blake this afternoon and spoke with him about his big win over Dewey Cooper at the K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles, his future with K-1, his outlook for Kickboxing and much more.
“I felt pretty good after that win,” Blake stated. “Felt like I had a whole lot of pride on the line this weekend, like there was a big question mark on my head; are you ready for it? Are you big enough? Can you really do this? I stepped up to the plate on Saturday.”
Without a doubt, Blake stepped up to the plate. He has had a good, storied young career, making the unique decision to fight Kickboxing as opposed to MMA when a lot of fighters his age would simply choose to move over to MMA where there is more money and opportunities, but the return of K-1 and them scouting him has changed everything.
“Yeah, K-1 calling me up and putting on a show this big justified my decision to Kickbox,” Blake said, before reflecting on some decisions he was on the verge of making about his career. “I was getting to the point where I was gonna have to eventually jump to MMA. We had been talking about making that jump for a while now, but now that K-1 is back, I don’t have to. I feel blessed that K-1 is here.”
Blessed is definitely one way to look at it, but Blake has put in a lot of hard work over the years, and at just 25 years of age, he still has a promising career ahead of him. Dewey Cooper served as a tough challenge for Blake, his first big test on the world stage, and one he wasn’t quite sure to be prepared for.
“Hey, you know, Dewey is a great guy and a great fighter,” he stated about his opponent, the older and more experienced Dewey Cooper who has been focusing on his Boxing career over the last few years. “Dewey is a tough guy to prepare for in a way, because he can be 100% and be incredibly tough, or he can be mediocre and not be as prepared for a fight and look bad. I paid a lot of attention to Dewey’s preparation, and I felt like this would be one of the better Dewey Coopers to step into the ring, and I think that he gave it his all against me.”
“Right now, it’s just a big waiting game,” he stated about preparing for the Final 16. “I’m anxious to figure out who I’m gonna fight. I don’t really care who I’m gonna fight, really, but I definitely would like to know so I can prepare for him”
Of course, you can’t talk to a 25 year old, 215 pound Randy Blake without asking him about his size. At 6’3” and 215 pounds, it is difficult to call Randy a “small” guy -- because he isn’t -- but in a field of fighters like Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Sergeii Laschenko and Rico Verhoeven, there is no doubt that Randy will not have the same size that most of the Europeans will.
“My weight is a disadvantage, yeah,” he agreed reluctantly. “But you know, I have a lot of other advantages that most of these guys don’t have. So 1x disadvantage and 50x advantages isn’t that bad. Going into every fight, weight is going to be a disadvantage for me, but I’m going to use my speed and my skills to my advantage.”
We shifted topics away from Randy for a bit, and we talked about Kickboxing in general. For Randy to choose Kickboxing as his sport of choice, there has to be a certain passion there, and he definitely keeps up with European Kickboxing, noting that they will have size and strength advantages over him, and that they tend to work the low kick a bit more than his previous opponents, but he is a student of the game.
“You know, Andy Hug is really the guy that stands out the most to me for who I’ve modeled myself after,” he admits. “He was a smaller guy, and people call me flashy, but I have speed and finesse. Ernesto Hoost was a smaller guy for a while, too, and so was Dale [Dale Cook, Randy’s coach and mentor]. I haven’t really taken much away from the current guys fighting, as I’ve always looked up to the greats and taken cues from them, from the best.”
“As for the guys in the US, I didn’t see much, you know,” he admitted from this past weekend. “Xavier and Jarrell are really pretty cool guys, but I didn’t get to see their fights because I was getting ready for mine, but the guy that stuck out to me the most was Rick Roufus. I shared a locker room with him, and the simple fact that he’s 46 and still doing it is just... Hearing that guy hit the pads, it was just like thunder. Watching that guy move and being able to do things that young guys can’t do. I mean, a lot of people thought he ran, but you gotta realize he’s fighting Mighty Mo, who has sledgehammers for hands. It was impressive that he won and that he won using a smart game plan.”
As for the future of K-1 and Kickboxing, Randy sees a bright future; “I’m thinking it is definitely beyond a decent future. You know, I think it’s back, we have the right people, everything was done right. I was well taken care of, they took care of us. I mean, I was in a five star hotel, was given a whole lot of money, the food was incredible, just everything was taken care of.”
“My goal is to keep evolving,” Blake made clear of his future. “My goal is to keep getting better, for people to say, ‘gee, what’s next?’ I want to be the fighter that leaves people guessing; what song will he come out to? What color trunks will he wear? What will he do differently? How will he top his last fight? I’m in the gym every day, four times a day. Martial Arts is a way of life for me, when I started I wasn’t taking it too seriously, then I got a few knockouts and I was hooked.”
“I specialize in everything,” he ended with. “It’s more fun to kick. Even if I didn’t have arms, I’d still be there fighting, I’d still be kicking.”
Without a doubt, Blake made an incredible impact with his main event victory this past weekend, and it seems like the freight train that is Randy Blake is looking to keep marching forward. He’s right back in the gym, right back training with Dale Cook and has his passport ready for Japan and the Final 16.