Minnesota bantamweight Sean “Lucky” McPadden looks for his fourth straight finish against local Mark Slyter at Shamrock FC 326 on Dec. 7 in Kansas City, Mo., on FITE TV.
We spoke to bantamweight prospect Sean McPadden (3-0) ahead of his return to action this weekend at Shamrock FC 326.
First of all, how did you get into MMA?
I turned on Spike TV when I was 12 or 13 one night and thought that’d be fun to mess around with. So, my friends and I started rolling and boxing in my basement and it eventually led to me getting involved in a gym and so my career took off from there.
How did you get the nickname “Lucky”?
When I was young — 16 or 17 — I used to spar with the pros and I started to do very well and catch them with submissions, so they called me “lucky” and it just fit perfect and stuck.
Do you have any background in any other sports? If so, explain?
I started playing hockey at a very young age and did that for 14 years. After my sophomore season of hockey, I decided to embark on my martial arts journey. I competed in a decent amount of BJJ tournaments as a white and blue belt, even got a Muay Thai smoker fight in before I was 18. But as soon as I stepped in the cage, I felt a real purpose — that this is what I was created to do.
What do you do for work or would MMA be your full-time job?
I’m a server at a bar, so I put in a lot of late nights, and train between 2-4 hours in the mornings. I’m hoping to make MMA my full-time career that supports my lifestyle by the end of 2020.
Who are you currently training with and who are some of your main sparring partners?
I train out of The Academy under Greg Nelson and McCune’s Martial Arts under Chris McCune. My main partners that I worked with this camp would be John Castaneda, Jason Huntley, Kazim Khan, Grant Boulden, David Quito, Adams Isah, and many other high-level killers that push me to my limits daily.
List of accomplishments such as titles, belt ranks, etc…?
9-1 amateur, Driller MMA Amateur Bantamweight Champion, a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. I’m currently on an eight-fight win streak and have finished seven out of eight of those opponents within two rounds. I also have many grappling tournament 1st-place medals.
What are your favorite striking and grappling techniques?
Striking, I love to drop knees. Any time you give me space I’ll be dropping one of my punishing knees on you. I’m a very flow-focused grappler, so it’s hard to have a favorite technique. I’ve developed a solid leg lock game, but also I love my kimuras and RNCs.
You’re set to fight Mark Slyter. What you think of him as an opponent, and how do you see this fight playing out?
Sharky is a super tough kid at 5-2 and I personally know three people who turned this fight down. He has solid wrestling, throws hard, and he has the one thing you can’t teach and that’s a whole lot of heart. That being said, I am on a different level in every category of this game. I will be putting on a striking clinic; butchering the body early and finishing to the head. He doesn’t have the necessary speed or technique to touch me.
You fought ten times as an amateur (going by Tapology). How important do you think it is to have a lengthy amateur career before going pro?
It’s so important to be an established amateur to set yourself up for a successful professional career. In my 10 amateur bouts I was put into every position in the cage, I know it’s OK if I get rocked, or taken down because my technique shines through in tough situations and it’s truly where I separate myself from other fighters.
You have one loss in your career. What did you learn from that and how did it change you as a fighter?
I lost an extremely controversial split decision, that even lead to one of the judges apologizing to me after the fight. But it was the single best lesson I learned as an amateur. That lesson is no one makes it to that final bell; I’m in there to assassinate my opponent, hunting them until I pin them against the wall and break their will.
If you weren’t fighting today where would you be?
I would more than likely be working in a hospital as a nurse (laughs). I left college after two years to fully commit to this dream and give it a real shot to be able to live this sport at a career level.
Is there anyone on the regional scene you have your eyes on?
Anyone who is ranked in front of me, I have a couple of guys specifically who I think have inflated pro records, but their time will come and if I get to play executioner, all the better.
Tony or Khabib?
I like Tony’s style better; man is a psycho. But Khabib showed that no matter how good of a striker you are, he can just flat out dominate you and enforce himself on opponents at will. Tony doesn’t get tired, so 50-45 Khabib via UD.
Last question. Why do you fight and who do you fight for?
I’ve always been a competitor, and have craved the highest level of competition, MMA is that for me. I live to compete and test my will and skill versus my opponents. Lastly, I feel as if this is God’s gift to me and for me to do this sport is just following God’s plan. I fight for myself, but also for everyone who pours their energy, attention, and support into my career. Although it is just me in the cage, I truly have an army of people backing me. They push me to be the best me every single fight, and that is the reason why you have seen so much improvement from fight to fight from me.