The CES world champion is competing on DWCS, and feels he has prepared for this moment his whole career
Tony Gravely isn’t a young new fighter on the block, he has fought all over the country. In fact he holds two title belts, one on each coast of the country. A belt in the Northeast with CES MMA, a promotion based out of Connecticut, and one on the California coast with KOTC.
For those who closely follow the ‘local scene’ or the next up and coming fighters, many should know that Gravely has been on the UFC’s radar for some time now, and for good reason. It is now though that he finally got ‘the call’ and is really in the moment to wow the promotion.
“I got an email from Sean Shelby asking me about fighting on Contender Series, and if I was interested.” When asked what his response was to Shelby, Gravely states “F Yeah, I mean in a more professional way.”
Gravely had to keep quiet about the news for some time, even though some media outlets had thrown rumors around that it was official, it took months to finally let it out.
“I hated it because of how excited I was, people would ask and I had to play dumb. It all feels right though, I feel like I’ve prepared for this moment my whole career. It has been an emotional roller coaster and it isn’t over yet.”
When asked about competing, Shelby was not hesitant on whom Gravely would meet in the cage. Ray Rodriguez, an LFA veteran, and similar to Gravely, is not new to the fighting lifestyle. A Texas native who has fought under many promotions, Rodriguez stands at 15-5, and is riding a two fight win streak.
“He’s tough, but why wouldn’t I want this to be tough” Gravely told MymmaNews. Something I’ve done my whole career is train as if every fight is my toughest to date, because one loss can set you back so far. This is the toughest fight of my career.”
Gravely, who stands at a solid 18-5 record professionally, has an insane wrestling background with some greatly improved standup game. Dana White has made it no secret that he is looking for killers on this season of the show, and Gravely understands this is different from many other fights he has been in.
“At first I was focusing my gameplan around getting a finish, they look for killers on this show not just winners. As I thought more about it though, for every finish I’ve ever had I didn’t go in thinking ‘I need one’ I went in looking for a win, and an opening prevailed, so no I am not worried about rushing a finish.”
He has dominated the CES scene, and done it in impressive fashion. In his three performances under the promotion, the Virginian has two KO’s and one submission victory. One of his key attributes is his ability to patiently await an opening, while dominating and utilizing pressure on his opponent.
“My strong suit is patience, but my best ability is outworking opponents, just having a lot of heart and knowing if I work that much harder I can win. I’ll work through exhaustion, I’ll push for it, nothing needs to be a rush.”
It is a special moment for any fighter to feel their time for “that call” is near, for Tony Gravely he has heard rumbles after his past three fights of the UFC looking into his name, but nothing became official until now, and although an emotional time for the CES champion, a time that he has visualized for a long time is ahead.
“I visualize man, I do it with everything. I can’t put into words what it would mean to win. I’m not overlooking anything or anyone, I know how hard this will be, I’m visualizing success not overlooking. I’ll be in tears, its a once in a lifetime chance.”
It is absolutely a chance that not many can say they have had the opportunity to do, and Gravely feels as though there isn’t much left to do except to turn that visualization into a reality come fight night.
“I predict hard work from both of us, A lot of pressure and patience. If you’ve seen my fights you know what I mean, I like to break my opponents with uncomfortability and patience.”
Tony Gravely takes on Ray Rodriguez this Tuesday, August 13th on week 8 of the Dana White Contender Series watch live on ESPN+.