Andrew Leone’s claim to fame used to be being the younger brother of WEC and Bellator featherweight Anthony Leone but 2011 has been a breakout year for the Singapore based New Yorker.
In mixed martial arts he put in one of the most impressive and emphatic performances of the year in Asia to choke out unbeaten Korean prospect Soo Chul Kim in less than 30 seconds. In BJJ the blue belt excelled himself by not only finishing first in the >65kg blue belt category at the recent ADCC trials in China but also winning the >76.9kg advanced category in no-gi grappling.
Amongst the opponents which Leone, who normally fights at 125 lbs, defeated that day was Andy Wang a BJJ black belt and TUF veteran who normally competes in the lightweight division. It was a remarkable achievement for someone who only received their blue belt, awarded by Professor Adam Kayoom, last year.
Leone’s story is in many ways unremarkable up until the point he decided to walk away from his college wrestling scholarship and relocate to Asia to pursue a career as a fighter,
“I started wrestling around 5, but didn’t take it serious till about 12. Parents put me in the kids program and then when I was 12 I started taking the school program and it went from there. I was a County Champion, and a 2 x All-State wrestler out of New York. My brother and I joined our first MMA fight team when i was 15 and he was 17 but I couldn’t do it full time as my wrestling coaches wouldn’t let me.”