Fighting out of American Martial Arts Academy in the Triad area, Sylvain Bynum has competed on local MMA amateur shows over the past year and a half, honing his skills and preparing himself for an eventual jump to the professional ranks. The 25 year old Goldsboro native now trains out of Winston-Salem, where he attended Winston-Salem State University, and has compiled an amateur MMA record of 4-2. MMA For Real recently caught up with this local lightweight fighter to find out more about him and what plans he has for the future.
Rich Wyatt: How did you first get into training for MMA?
Sylvain Bynum: A friend of mine was a personal trainer at the gym at the time. And she told me that I should come check it out. From there I was hooked!
Rich Wyatt: Tell us a little about where you're currently training and who you're sparring with.
Sylvain Bynum: I train at American Martial arts academy in Winston-Salem, NC. Some of my teammates who I train with are Nick Blake (4-1), Mike Turner (3-1), and Josh Smith (3-1). We have a ton of other guys making their debut. They are going to be a great addition to our competition team!
Rich Wyatt: What do you feel are your strengths as a fighter?
Sylvain Bynum: I think that my strengths are my conditioning and my patience. My stand up has come along well sense we've added a boxing coach, Fred Astrada, to our team.
Rich Wyatt: What areas of your game do you work the most to improve?
Sylvain Bynum: My wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I work on both a lot in their own specific discipline, but making those forms of combat work together for MMA is challenging.
Rich Wyatt: What are your interests outside of MMA and how do you like to spend your free time?
Sylvain Bynum: I really enjoy doing anything that doesn't involve MMA. I love this sport but I don't want to be that guy who is so obsessed that he burns himself out and misses out on a lot of other things in life. But fighting and competing is truly my passion.
Rich Wyatt: Earlier this month you picked up your fourth win as an amateur fighter. Tell us a little about how that match went?
Sylvain Bynum: I won a split decision over Marc Howe from Georgia. This guy was as tough as nails and didn't quite. We received the Fight of the Night. This fight was outside and I underestimated how much fighting outside affects your body. It was a valuable experience.
Rich Wyatt: You were originally scheduled to face Jason Heilig, which would have given you an opportunity to avenge one of your losses. What caused the change of opponent?
Sylvain Bynum: I honestly don't know. I truly believe that I am the better fighter and was disappointed when I couldn't get the chance to prove it.
Rich Wyatt: What are your plans going forward? Any plans to go pro?
Sylvain Bynum: Oh yea! Nick Blake and I have officially turned pro and hopefully we will be having our first pro fight before the end of the year.
Rich Wyatt: What are your long-term goals in mixed martial arts?
Sylvain Bynum: I'd love to have a successful career in the UFC and, more importantly, bring recognition to my gym and all the people who work hard to make our school what it is.
Rich Wyatt: What professional MMA fighters do you most enjoy watching and why?
Sylvain Bynum: I like a ton of fighters but GSP is my favorite because of his athleticism, well-rounded ability and the way that he carries himself. I also like how he out-wrestles wrestlers. Its truly amazing to see!
Rich Wyatt: Who do you like in the upcoming B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian fight?
Sylvain Bynum: I'm going with Kenny Florian. His stand up is better and he's hungrier. B.J. doesn't have the conditioning to keep up with Florian's pace and aggressiveness.
Rich Wyatt: Thanks so much for taking time out to talk with us. Is there anyone that you'd like to mention or thank?
Sylvain Bynum: I'd like to thank my head instructor Kevin Pyles for all he has done for me. Along with my manager Sherman Lyons, boxing coach Fred Astrada and Wrestling coach Mark Woodlief. I'd also like to thank all my teammates representing Team ONE! And thanks to you guys at MMAforreal for doing all that you guys do for MMA in North Carolina!