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Dinky Ninja Dean Reilly - Fighting at featherweight, living light-hearted


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It was no coincidence that the day I had my first encounter with Dean (@hurricane_dnft) Reilly was the very same day the east coast of America started its stormy relationship with Hurricane Irene.

Not that my encounter with Dean was stormy – anything but.  However, he does kind of blow you away with the speed at which he hits the reply button to flood your inbox with his witty retorts.

Dean Reilly (5-2-0) is part of what can only be described as a fighting family firm - The Dinky Ninjas - the most prolific fight team to come out of Scotland.  Fighting out of the Griphouse gym, they’re the most animated, colourful characters you will find in a cage.  If ever there were to be a sitcom about a gym, it would be about this gym.  They love the camera and none more so than Dean. 

Although fun is never far from the top of their agenda, don’t underestimate their fighting credentials.  Head Coach Paul McVeigh holds the Cage Warriors bantamweight strap and The Cage Contender 135lb title.  He’s just one of several title holders on their fight team.

We caught up with Dean as he prepares for his featherweight bout with Steve O’Keeffe (4-1-0).  Although his preparation for Cage Warriors 44 is serious, how he describes it is not!

How did you get into MMA?
I watched some UFC and thought, I could do that. People laughed in my face and said I was too skinny.  I went to the Griphouse and loved it. BOSH!

Describe your fight camp training…
It’s me getting the crap kicked out of me by many of my kind and willing ‘friends’. But I’m feeling in pretty good shape at the minute so I’m just looking to build on that.

Do you have a ritual 24 hours before a fight?
I spend the day questioning why the hell I’ve agreed to fight another trained and willing man in a cage.  I go to the toilet…a lot. I also try to figure out if anyone would actually notice if I didn’t turn up or if I stuck someone else in in place of me.

How did you feel about your last fight (a unanimous decision victory over Josh Ramage at CW41 in April)?
Pretty good. I got a good 15 minutes in for the first time, did some cool stuff, some fairly stupid stuff and learned a fair bit. Plus I managed to blag a Cage Warriors t-shirt. If it’s not nailed to the ground, there’s a good chance a ninja will nick your stuff.

Is there anything specific you’ve worked on for this camp?
If it’s not a flying or a spinning technique then I’m not interested. Other than that I’m just trying to learn from mistakes I’ve made in previous fights and improve in all areas.

What do you believe will give you an edge in this fight?
I’m counting on Steve O’Keeffe being lost in my dreamy eyes or transfixed on my glorious abs. Then it’s mine for the taking.

Will you bring any new Ninja moves to this fight?
Apart from the flying somersaulting hadoken just look for someone who’s been working to improve in all areas…with awesome hair.

Why are you filming your weight cut for CWFC 44?
Jay Furness did a really good blog on it and I figured the next logical step would be a video. Cutting weight is mega-tedious so editing the videos will give me something to occupy myself with. Plus I thought it would be good fun and interesting. I like to be creative. Also my ab game will be off the charts and I want a record of that when I’m old fat and broken.

What’s your greatest extravagance?
My MMA career. I should really be making a big bag of money while working offshore but you’ve got to stick your neck out and follow your dreams. That and food…oh, and Nike stuff.

Is there a word you over-use?
C*nt. It’s a very descriptive word in Glasgow.  For example, “see that c*nt over there? He’s a right good c*nt that c*nt”.  Also, ‘bosh’.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix, play the drums like Animal from the Muppets and I wish I could sing.

What is your most treasured possession?
My sense of humour and belief that if I keep doing the right thing then life will work itself out.

Favourite film?
Zombieland at the moment. I’m ready to run riot when the inevitable zombie apocalypse happens.  Samurai sword in hand, crazed look in eyes, massive smile on face.

As one of the Dinky Dancers, will you dance your way into the cage on October 1?
F**k no! I’ll be too busy trying not to s**t myself.  Besides, anyone who’s not Genki Sudo or Mayhem Miller looks a total tit dancing their way in.

Are you on Twitter? 
Aye, @hurricane_dnft. If you can’t live without inane drivel and ramblings then I’m the Twitter account for you. Bosh

Interview by Sue Finnegan for / Photo Copyright Dolly Clew

Tickets for Cage Warriors 44 at the HMV Forum in Kentish Town, London on October 1 are available HERE.

This fight will be shown LIVE online at or via the official CWFC Facebook page here

The main card will be shown live online and on TV via the CWFC broadcast partners Premier Sports TV (Sky Channel 433 in the UK), Setanta Sports 1 (Ireland), Setanta Africa (Africa), The Fight Network (Canada) and many more.

In the meantime, keep checking for more updates on this event.

Talk about Cage Warriors 44 on our forum here

You can also be a “fan” of Cage Warriors on Facebook here

And follow Cage Warriors on Twitter at

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