Two-sport athletes are a rarity in modern competition. And although kickboxing and MMA may not be polar opposites, competing at a high level in both requires proper dedication to each skill set.

That’s the reality that 27-year-old Surinamese-Dutch fighter Tyrone Spong is currently living. After establishing himself among the kickboxing elite competing in K-1 and It’s Showtime, Spong made his MMA debut in November. Staying true to his roots, Spong scored a first-round knockout of Travis Bartlett at World Series of Fighting’s inaugural event.

“I was pleased with my performance,” Spong told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I took my time in the first round and got the finish, but I made sure to set a comfortable pace.

Spong (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“I’m excited to take my second MMA fight, very excited. I’m really enjoying learning this sport, and I get more and more skilled with each practice.”

While Spong has already lined up his next MMA appearance—at the recently announced World Series of Fighting 3 event on June 14 in Las Vegas—the fighter has shifted his attention back to the world of kickboxing.

K-1 and It’s Showtime may be a thing of the past, but Spong has inked a four-fight deal with GLORY to compete in its heavyweight division. After knocking off legends Peter Aerts and Ray Sefo over the last few years, Spong now meets three-time K-1 World Grand Prix champion Remy Bonjasky on March 23 in London.

“He’s a great opponent for me,” Spong stated. “He has his legacy in kickboxing and I have mine. It’s a goal of mine to beat all of the great champions I have access to, so a win against Remy would be a great notch on my belt.”

Adding motivation for Spong against the 37-year-old Bonjasky is the fact that both fighters hail from Suriname and moved to the Netherlands at a young age. Their similar backgrounds means there’s more at stake than just bragging rights.

“I consider myself a more proper representative of Suriname than Remy,” explained the fighter. “I believe that by the end of my career I’ll be remembered as the greatest to come from Suriname.

Spong (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“I want to win this fight for the people of Suriname.”

In order to beat Bonjasky, Spong will have to overcome the technical proficiency of his fellow countryman. Although Bonjasky earned the name “The Flying Gentleman” for his propensity for flying knee attacks, in recent years his approach has been much more methodical. It’s a style that contrasts Spong’s in-your-face, power-punching attack.

“My greatest skill is my ability to adapt to any situation,” Spong proclaimed. “I’m not making any predictions, but I’ll find my openings, believe me.”

Regardless of the outcome of his fight with Bonjasky, Spong’s contract with GLORY signals that his future in the world of kickboxing is stable. After the uncertainty that surrounded previous promotions, GLORY’s quick ascension to the top of the sport has been welcomed by everyone in the kickboxing world.

“It’s very important to keep the sport of kickboxing alive, exciting and relevant,” said Spong. “I think GLORY basically saved kickboxing. They have the biggest and best shows and put on great events. I hope they will be around for a long time.”

Even with the tall order of facing Bonjasky on his agenda, Spong’s ambitions for the world of combat sports might surprise some not familiar with his background. But after more than 75 career fights, the fighter isn’t intimidated by anything.

“I’d like to fight someone like UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones,” Spong boldly declared. “I’m not saying I’m ready for a fight like that yet, but let’s just say I’m a fast learner and I see things like that in my not-so-distant future.

“For now, I’m focused on beating Remy Bonjasky on March 23, then taking my second MMA fight.

“One thing at a time,” he said with a final laugh.

Tyrone would like to thank his training partners, his coaches at JACO Hybrid Training Center in South Florida and his management team, Authentic Sports Management. Follow Tyrone on Twitter: @Tyrone_spong

Top Photo: Tyrone Spong (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

  • Chris

    Please keep doing MMA Tyrone!!!!!! Your first knockout was SICK, can’t wait to see you do it again at WSOF3!