Interview With RISE Super Lightweight Champion Chadd "The Shark" Collins – "Before I Could Walk, I Was in a Gym"

Mar 11, 2024
Chadd Collins after his latest win. Photo: AFS
"I feel in my soul that I'm capable of beating any human being on the planet right now."

After becoming a world champion in both Muay Thai and kickboxing, "The Shark" Chadd Collins has quickly become one of the most sought-after fighters in the sport. The Queensland native fights out of Strikeforce Gym and has beaten the likes of Kaito, Seksan, Pakorn, Hiroki Kasahara, and most recently, Petchpanomrung. Despite his success, the 28-year-old has even bigger goals and eyes fights across promotional boundaries.

Faraaz Nadeem sat down with Chadd and and talked about his most recent win, what he wants next, and more.

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How did you feel about Petchpanomrung when you got the title shot opportunity?

We were in the corner dressing rooms together in previous fights and always hung out after eating food, so we got along great. My trainer and his trainer got along great as well. We always spoke to each other and we knew that it's leading to me and [him] fighting. And we said between each other, when that day does come, we'll fight and we'll fight our hearts out… and after we'll share a beer together. And… it pretty much played out that way as well. We always knew it was going to happen.


How did preparation for the fight go?

Chadd Collins with the team at Strikeforce Gym.

It was extremely hard for me because I also fought one month earlier, defending my WBC world title, and my shin split open, and I had stitches in my shin. And it's on my right leg, which I needed to fight a southpaw. So the whole camp, I couldn't kick or do anything with my right leg. So, I didn't use [my right leg] until I fought Petch. And then it reopened when I fought Petch in round one. So I did the whole five rounds with a cut that was worthy of six stitches.


What was your game plan going in and did it change throughout the fight?

Stick and move, and be just constantly aware of that left kick that's coming. It's what comes with a big left kick. But… the game plan was completely not working. So after round one Mark Pease is my trainer and he goes like, "You got to fight. You got to beat Petchpanomrung and you got to pressure him". 

And that was what we resorted back to, and that's how I naturally fight. I love to fight with pressure and a ton of heart. I think in round two, it started to change a bit. And then I believe in rounds three, four, and five, my knees and body shots were starting to wear him down. That was when I could fully start to try and crush Petch.


Did you know about the open scoring and did it play a role in the fight?

So this is very interesting that you've mentioned this. I'm a big believer in that's how the scorecards should be laid out for every fight. Muay Thai and kickboxing, it shows fairness. There's no secretivity. There's no bias happening. And… we were not aware. No, but when it happened, I thought it was great.


Was there anything that surprised you during the fight?

We trained for this big straight left hand to happen and come straight on the button sort of thing. And he didn't shoot it straight to the chin so much. He put it to the body every time. Instead of going straight to the head, he went to the body, and he went to the body, and he went to the body, like, continuously. So this is something that surprised me a lot, but thankfully, I'm a professional, and I do my sit-ups, and I was conditioned.


How has your experience fighting in Japan been?

Chadd with fans after the fight.

When I fought Petch, they had me in the Japanese corner. Like in the changing rooms, which was amazing. Then they had Petch with all the other Petchyindee fighters. So I felt as if like, I was finally accepted as one of their own. It's just… I've always been humble.

It's very nice over there. And I know Japan is big on their word and their honor. And so I've always tried to be, play my part well, if that makes sense.


After that fight, do you feel like you are the best fighter at your weight?

I don't have a doubt in my mind that there's anyone in the world that can beat me. I think there's a fine line between confidence and actually knowing. And I feel in my soul that I'm capable of beating any human being on the planet right now.

With this RISE versus K-1 show that is coming up on March 17. We were originally offered Yuki Yoza. That was massive for me. I was super happy, but I think K-1 or Yoza pulled the pin as they didn't want to fight me. I thought I had a massive fight [for the fans]. I'm a little bit upset that I didn't get to fight Yoza. Ito did everything in his power to push for me to fight. 


Tell me something about fighting Saenchai in 2017.

Well, I just pressed him. I just fought like Chadd Collins, the shark sort of thing. I didn't take a backward step. I knew he was a bit older than I was, so I'd have the youth on him. And pressed him and made him want to wish he didn't step in the ring with the shark sort of thing. So, come round three, he was hanging on. He didn't want to be there. He didn't want to fight anymore. He was backpedaling. I would have loved for it to be a five-rounder. I believe I would have stopped him in the fourth.


What was your journey like starting Muay Thai and kickboxing?

My dad was a boxer. Muay Thai wasn't really around back then. He had 39 pro boxing fights. So, wherever I lived, from the moment I was born, there was always a gym. He trained fighters. Kickboxing obviously, then amateur Muay Thai, and then it progressed into Muay Thai later on. So wherever I lived, we had a gym. So before I could walk, I was in a gym. 


How did you develop your style?

The way my dad taught Muay Thai had a lot of aggression in it. I would say a lot of come forward, fight, win the fight with fitness sort of thing. So, I guess I fought Muay Thai and then when other opportunities came up to fight kickboxing, it was still very much the same thing for me. It was the aggression, come forward without the danger of the elbows. So, you'll notice now when I fight Muay Thai, it's a different tempo than when I fight kickboxing. I think more so when I fight Muay Thai, I'm Chadd Collins. And when I fight kickboxing, I'm The Shark. I come forward, I bang. I brawl a bit more, I can take a bit more risk if that makes sense.


How does kickboxing compare to Muay Thai?

It's funny. Kickboxing is very quickly becoming a major part of my life now. I'll say Muay Thai is in my blood. It flows through my veins. But kickboxing is fucking one of the funnest things I've ever done. I love to fight and I get to truly be the fighter that I am at heart, if that makes sense. I get to fight. I don't have to play the Muay Thai game, play that game of chess.


How did the nickname "The Shark" come around?

So I was living in Thailand at 21 years old. Obviously, I love spearfishing and surfing. I love the ocean. I grew up around the ocean. It's one of my loves, it's my mental release away from Muay Thai and fight sports. It's my switch off. I had a photo of me spearfishing and I'm holding a fish underwater. And in the background, I had sharks swimming behind me in the ocean. Sangtiennoi seen the photo and he's like, "Oh, this is shark. Shark, you swim with sharks". And I was like, yeah, bro. Like all the time, like every time I go spearfishing, I swim with sharks and see sharks. And he was like, "Whoa, Australia, this is crazy. Australia is crazy.  It's like, you want to be the shark? You're the shark." 

And at first I didn't like it. It was a bit typical. And then on the spot he goes, "Oh, but you have crocodiles also. You want to be the crocodile or the shark?" And I was like, I'll go be the shark, bro, I'll go be the shark.


I grew up surfing first. My dad was also a surfer. So then I learned to surf. I even stopped training Muay Thai from the age 13 to 15, because started surfing so much. I wanted to be a pro surfer. But then I realized that Muay Thai was the gift I was given… I was born to be a fighter not a surfer.  I got to the point where there was no surf, there's no swell. What do I do? I want to be a part of the ocean still. So we started freediving and spearfishing and holding our breath on the water. We were complete kooks, like no good at it. And then we just kept doing it and got better and better with my best mate. I got real good at it really fast, and it opened up a whole new world, a whole new avenue of the ocean to me.

Chadd Collins returns to Japan for a non-title fight against Miguel Trinidade at RISE Eldorado 2024 on March 17th. The event will be available for live streaming on Abema.