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Tobias Hellström, an Swedish MMA fighter in K-1


Tell us a little about yourself. How are you as a person, both as a fighter and in private?
I´m a pretty regular guy. I am married, I got two kids (three soon), I live in a house on the countryside and got a dog and a Volvo. I am rather humble and very interested in philosophy and similar subjects. I´ve had a couple of different occupations but the one and only thing they have in common is that I work very strictly to fulfill and chase my dreams. When I was growing up, I wanted to become a writer :D
As a fighter I am most of all a working dog. I believe in hard work and beside regular martial arts training you need to put in a large amount of time in cardio and fitness and not to forget the psychological aspects. I have learned to listen to my coach and let him decide over my training, otherwise it´s easy to over train or get injured, simply by wanting too much.

What made you start training MMA? And in what age did you start?                       First time I got in touch with martial arts was when I was six years of age. A friend of my parents was at a party at our house and he showed me some muay thai (he had lived in Thailand for a while) and I was impressed. Since I was bullied around rather much when I grew up, therefore I started with karate when I was thirteen. All the sudden my life got better and my confidence grew bigger and I was truly hooked. I tried many different styles during the years.

What are your strengths?
I am well rounded and confident in any distance and I put it together good and I would also say my cardio. Of course I have been around for a while also and that gives me a bit of calm. I don´t need to rush things in a fight.

What has been your toughest fight so far?
Tricky question. Every fight is somehow the most difficult but never in the same way as the previous. I got a couple of though moments that I think of as the most difficult or toughest. In the Nordic amateur championships in Shooto I broke my nose in the first exchange, it got to an extra round and my nose didn't like that, but I won it with a 13-0 score. Another moment was my pro-debut at The Zone in November. I was so focused on my opponent that I forgot everything that surrounds the cage, like 2000 people, big screens and stuff. I realized that when I got into the cage and after that everything felt like going in slow motion.

Who have you as a dream opponent?
I don´t know. Miguel Torres maybe, he is very slick. But I got a long way for that fight.

Do you have any role model?
GSP, BJ Penn, Demian Maia, Miguel Torres, Sean Sherk, Urijah Faber and of course Genki Sudo. Probable I could go on with that list for a while :D

The K-1 event in Luleå November 31, 2008 was the start where the MMA is included. As a MMA fighter, what do you see for the future and interest in the mixed events?
I think mixed cards is a good thing, but I don´t think MMA is depending on them. Regular boxing though may benefit a lot from this, especially in Sweden since the interest in boxing is rather low. MMA is growing very quickly and doesn´t need this to grow faster in the same way. But I think any card with MMA is good from a personal view, and especially for us fighters. It isn´t that easy to get a fight. So everything that gives us more fight-opportunities are welcome.

On February 27, 2009 you met Carlos Prada in K-1 Norrköping. Tell me about the fight, how it felt before and during the match.
I was nervous of course, mostly because I had a cold the week prior to the fight. Carlos is a very aggressive opponent so the plan was to make him work in the first round to wear him out a bit and then put in a higher gear. But, we got into an exchange and man he hits hard! I was rocked real bad but kept fighting, the next thing I remember is that I am on my back and I see his fist coming down on my nose, busting it up a bit. And I remember thinking; ouch, that hurt, I got to move. So I started to work open guard and got a sweep. But his punches took its toll, I don´t remember getting in his guard. I kind of woke up when I was passing out in his triangle and had to tap.

What have you done after Norrköping and what is planned? The next match?      After my last fight I took some time off to relax and heal up. After a week I had to go to the gym, I did some jiujiutsu for an hour, nothing tiring but I had to step off the mat. It turned out that I got a minor concussion which probably would have gone away with one more week off, but instead I made it worse. So I had to rest for a couple of more weeks. I just started training again actually. I hope to get a fight in September/October so that I get time to restart and refocus. I´ve been contacted for a fight in the U.K in May but that is too early for me. If they agree to postponing the fight until fall, then it´s on.

What are your future plans (dreams) as fighter and also as an individual?
I plan to take this step by step and simply see how far I can take it. Of course I dream of the WEC, Dream and so on. The biggest dream would be if the UFC starts a featherweight division and get into their roster. On a more personal level I dream of becoming a writer after my fighting days have ended (horror preferably). Of course I would like my family to be healthy as well.

Written by Gry Pärnerklint


Post new comment
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2009-03-30 at: 09:53
Great job, Gry! Good reading, he seems to be a modest, honest fighter with a clear mind on his expertise area, a solid record and a firm attitude; it's nice to learn about his training background and ideas in his own words
Daniel, Sweden reporter (2501 posts)
Posted: 2009-03-30 at: 10:30
very nice interview good work Gry.
Rob, Holland reporter (1964 posts)
Posted: 2009-03-30 at: 03:14

I stand by Pablo's words. Nice job Gry!
lakso (2 posts)
Posted: 2009-04-04 at: 10:56
Very nice reading Gry!!!! you are the best writter here. I keep forward to read moore reports from you=)
Good work
Daniel, Sweden reporter (2501 posts)
Posted: 2009-04-04 at: 05:03
just one thing, what is K-1 Sweden? Never heard of it before, is it something new?
Gry (35 posts)
Posted: 2009-04-04 at: 06:21

No Danne, just K-1 in Sweden.. if you want to bitch about it
Daniel, Sweden reporter (2501 posts)
Posted: 2009-04-04 at: 06:44
? okay, thanx. I was just curious if there was some kind of new K-1 org in Sweden, but i guess that the old topic just was a bit confusing. no big deal. Atleast not for me...
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