Andy Souwer

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Andy Souwer Discusses His Combative Career and Retirement Goals

Andy Souwer is a combat sports legend with championship accolades in K1 Max kickboxing, Shoot Boxing tournaments, and he also has pro boxing as well as pro MMA experience too.

I spoke with Souwer after his retirement from fight sports. Excerpts from our chat are below.


Being regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest Dutch fighter of all time

“I’m thinking maybe sometimes I’m too focused on being down to earth or something. But I don’t feel the need to tell that I’m the best, to be honest. To be a little arrogant, well not arrogant. But just to tell the truth, nobody did the same like I did. The only championship I didn’t got was the ONE Championship title. The rest, I got them all. Where I fought, I won the world titles. I fought a lot compared to other Dutch fighters. I had like 300 plus fights…So I think I did a good job and that’s okay for me. So there’s nothing more after that.”

Andy Souwer continued, “There’s no extra feelings and to be honest. I shall be honest to you Dylan and to the listeners. The feedback that I got from the people, from the fans, from the whole world. It gave me the same feeling. Just that I can be just down to earth. So I got recognized by a lot of people. So it was enough. It was perfect. It couldn’t be better…I felt so comfortable with it and I felt really good about it.”

Andy Souwer

Being in rarefied air having earned kickboxing victories across four different decades

“Thanks a lot, by the way. Because that’s also a compliment, of course; your question. Yeah, but how does it feel? To be honest, maybe I went for a long period, I kickbox and didn’t get the opportunity to develop as a human being, to be honest. I shall tell you the story of as a fighter, you need a lot from your reptile brain, right? When you get born, your instinct. You need it a lot. Your intuition, reflexes, and things like that. That’s your reptile brain working. For a long period, I used it too much. Also in private, if you can understand that.”

Andy Souwer continued, “So I didn’t develop. To be honest since COVID, it gave me so much back. I’ve read books. I was developing myself as a human. So my human brain developed more and more in a short period of time. And of course, do some bad mistakes and choices that I made in life. I look back and I felt so strong when I get more developing. My brain is working hard nowadays. But that’s good. I feel comfortable.”

How Souwer is doing following his decision to hang up the gloves

“Yeah, doing fine. Evening is coming. Just finished dinner with the family… I’ve been back to The Netherlands for two weeks almost. Feeling good. Like the tension is gone. The tension of being a fighter. It’s a great experience so far. Thanks for asking.”

His last bout vs Marat Grigorian and being in a tournament the magnitude of the ONE featherweight grand prix

“You know what Dylan to be honest, I’m not a fighter anymore for more, let’s say for more than 10 years. I kept on going as a fighter because there were many reasons to go on. While there was just one good reason needed to quit. One good reason I had. I got a few but on the other hand, I never dared to stop fighting due to some different reasons. As you could see, next year I will be 40 years old. And to be honest, you can see that I still can box. So that’s not the problem. But one thing that fighters have on the expert class, that will to win.”

ONE: First Strike

“Or like Muhammad Ali said in his previous primetime, he said you need a desire. You need a desire to be the best, to conquer the whole world. To conquer every title that you can get and not to be arrogant but I’ve already done that. I just kept on going but I missed that one thing that has many names. For example, like Muhammad Ali said I missed the desire to win. As you could see Marat (Grigorian), he has it still. He still wants to be the best in the world. Wants to shine. He wants to sell on the big stage and he wants to be champion. Of course, I want to be champion. But like I told in the previous interviews that’s really difficult to explain.”

Andy Souwer continued, “The thing is, once again not to be arrogant, I’ve already done it. It’s really difficult to tell people who never understand this because it’s a weird thing. I just miss the fight, I miss the greedy greatness to be the best of the world. I just did it for a couple of reasons. Also financially because I did bad business. I need to come back financially. So to be honest. That was one of the reasons if you go into the ring, or in this case, I went in the octagon with the mindset of owning the money.”

“If you don’t care about anything anymore, then it’s really dangerous too. In the past, I had a few fights that didn’t go really great. Because I didn’t have 100% focus against top-level guys. For example, Yodsanklai punched me in the eye. I had cataract damage and I had several surgeries. Yeah, that’s not a smart thing to do.”


The high-level fight IQ across multiple combat disciplines (MMA, Shoot Boxing, Kickboxing, etc) and if that was his biggest variable in fluidly transitioning between sports

“Exactly. To be honest, I was always insecure. I was always thinking that my opponent would be better. So I was always looking… So many Dutch kickboxers would say No, I’m going fight for my own confidence, my own skills. No, man, I never did it. I always, in my opinion, was the weakest of the two. So I was really looking forward to see and to recognize all the things that I knew from my opponent. So before the fight, I was always looking to my opponent. What they did best.”

Andy Souwer continued, “So that’s why I always was skilled about as you name it, smart IQ as a fighter. Just I was standing, I was feeling, I was recognizing things. When I felt that I recognized everything and I didn’t do crazy things or something, I was just developing. I would just go on. Step by step by, I control the fight mostly.”

Having a submission win in an MMA competition and how important those kinds of moments are

“The manifesting it was a bit weird because probably you didn’t see it because I’m always focused. But I really really got a problem after Daron Cruickshank. So my second fight was against a former UFC fighter who had 20 plus fights. The Japanese guys asked me, do you want to fight him? Maybe that’s from kickboxing, especially in Holland. We don’t mind, we don’t care about taking fights. We don’t mind it. It’s a bit rough. It’s a bit of ego. Sometimes it isn’t smart. Especially in my case. My second fight, I just trained for nine months, 10 months. They asked me to fight Daron Cruickshank.”

“And I told myself, this is gonna be so difficult. But we’re fighters, let’s do it. Eventually, he played with me. I thought, Oh, yes, I can defend myself. I felt really stuck in the beginning. But I couldn’t avoid these attempts or defend these attempts. I think I’m really good but he was just playing around. Since then my confidence went down. My third fight I was fighting against an Olympic silver medal winner, Japanese .”

Andy Souwer continued, “But under the saying of yeah, he’s old no worries. He (Kazuyuki Miyata) had also 20 plus MMA fights and it was my third fight. So my confidence went down, it’s crazy. But then again, it was a great experience. To be honest. It was a really, really nice experience.”

K1 Max

Being in classics like the third Masato fight and what fight Souwer looks back on as especially significant across his vast body of work

“Yeah, to be honest, there was a moment where I was already asking for the fight against Masato. Of course, he was the big star of Japan. To be honest, it was truly earned. He was different than the rest. Was different than every other Japanese fighter because he was in control. He punched hard, and didn’t have the; With all the respect, it’s the weakness of the Japanese in some way. Maybe it’s too hard what I’m saying but I can’t explain it differently than that. But he was really good. And I was already asking for the fight while I was in Shoot Boxing.”

“In a magazine in Japan, he said, you know what? Go in line, brother. And to be honest, your level is not that good. You’re just Shoot Boxing, we are K1 and just step behind in the lane. Maybe we see each other but for now, your level is so weak. So no worries. That triggered me a lot. Suddenly, a couple of years later, like four years later, I had the opportunity to fight him in a tournament. I was already in his bracket and I thought to myself. Oh, if I win he’s gonna be my second opponent. And then eventually in 2006, I met him in K1 Max. And it was the semi-final. I had a tough fight against Virgil Kalakoda; boxer already got knocked down in the first.”

“Eventually at the end of the third round, I was able to knock him out. It was a really spectacular, spectacular fight. He (Masato) had a spectacular fight… We both had hard fights. In that way, it was equal. And then I met him (Masato). I won and I even scored him down. While the Japanese were always protecting him, they gave me a down. I was surprised about it. That’s why I also won the fight.”

“That extraordinary feeling that I had… But afterward, I had to fight in the finals against Buakaw. That feeling at that moment was so strong. It was so hard then wow, it was the most heaviest feeling emotionally that I ever felt. It never went back and it never came back like that.”

Souwer’s legendary Buakaw fights and how much that inspired me in my own training

“These were good fights too, but it was a different style against a different style. We’re both good, and that’s why it was so difficult to fight each other. And that’s why I didn’t get the feeling because, for example, Masato had kind of a Dutch way of fighting. That kind of Dutch style. So I could reveal with him. I could go deeper into my game with him. But against Buakaw it was so annoying to fight him. Probably I was annoying for him. So they weren’t the best fights. In my opinion, my feeling is just emotional. So then again, I’m always getting recognized for my fights against Buakaw.”

Parting thoughts for Andy Souwer

“No, man. I want to thank you. I want to thank the listeners. Want to thank everybody. I got so many feedback, positive feedback. I didn’t even get bad feedback. So I’m really happy about it. Feel recognized and looking forward to the next step of life. Thanks a lot guys. And I’m really happy that I still can make you happy with my fights. Just being here.”

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