by Jayson du Toit
KNUXX SA: Who is Francois Groenewald?
FRANCOIS: Aka Franaconda from Springs. My fight record is 5w 3l, 6 fights have been within EFC. I’m a BJJ brown belt under Roberto Atalla, I got a Nobel peace prize, I’ve been knighted and I can hold my breath for 30 seconds. Also have been told I’m delusional sometimes.
KNUXX SA: Why do you call yourself FRANACONDA?
FRANCOIS: From my managers James and Raymond, they say once I get someone to the ground I wrap them up like an Anaconda slowly and then choke them out.
KNUXX SA: You have made the move from FW to BW, why did you make the move and how is it beneficial to your career?
FRANCOIS: Honestly I didn’t really want to, I’m not big on weight cutting however being a naturally small guy my team and management decided it would be best for my fight career.
KNUXX SA: Who do you rate as top contenders in the BW division and are you confident that you could possibly be the first EFC Africa BW title holder?
FRANCOIS: So far Charlie Weyer has shown that he is the top contender. I’d like to get another fight in before year end, with another W under my belt I’m confident that I am I strong contender for the title.
KNUXX SA: You are known to be a ground specialist but sources close to you tell me that you have been working intensely on you stand up. Is this an area in you fight arsenal that you think needs improvement and if so what has changed in your training to better your stand up game?
FRANCOIS: I’m always working on all aspects of my game and am improving with every fight, however I have spent the majority of my time training kickboxing with Shihan Raymond Philips and JP Kruger at Xtreme Kickboxing Technologies. I do feel that my Stand up is improving however it takes time and confidence to execute what I know in the cage considering I’m a natural ground fighter.
KNUXX SA: Has the weight cut from FW to BW been easy and how much notice do you need for a fight in order to make the cut?
FRANCOIS: It is an easy cut with only 4kgs to drop, I felt a lot stronger in the division and after entering the third round although finished before the bell, felt I could have gone two more. I feel that conditioning played a part but it was more a fact of being bigger and stronger at 61kgs.
KNUXX SA: An interesting fact about you is that you do ballet, tell us more about this and does it help or contribute to your MMA training?
FRANCOIS: The Ballet started with helping a friend out for her upcoming show. After my first practice as a conditioned fighter, I was really broken; I didn’t realize the physical aspect of lifting and holding so many girls. I realized then that it would be an asset in my conditioning. It focuses on strength and control by lifting and not slamming by gently lowering in a controlled manner. Plus side is I get to dance with a bunch of really hot chicks.
KNUXX SA: You are in a relationship with Kerry Anne Mathieson who is the founder of SA Woman’s MMA as well as a full time MMA and BJJ athlete and journalist for Pretty Tuff SA. Tell us more about how your relationship with Kerry helps and supports you in your career.
FRANCOIS: It’s great, she’s been a big help, my nr 1 fan who doubles up as a training partner. She takes care of my portioned meals and makes my sandwiches hahaha. It helps because I seldom have to worry about my twitter account and Facebook pages as she manages that for me. She also understands when I come home late or leave early for training sessions.
KNUXX SA: Do you think that woman’s MMA has a bright future in South Africa?
FRANCOIS: Womens MMA? What’s that? I believe women should be in the kitchen making sandwiches Hahahaha. I actually think it has a big future; we just need to find a way to encourage women to participate, especially in the grappling divisions as we already have a lot of female stand up fighters. Luckily there are the few women that are dedicated to the growth.
KNUXX SA: If you and Kerry “roll” who would win? Hehe!
FRANCOIS: I don’t roll against Kerry anymore because it’s bad for my ego, I did make her a bet that if she could pass my guard I would marry her… No ring on that finger just yet.
KNUXX SA: At this point you can say whatever you want to say as well as thank sponsors and people that have helped you on your journey so far.
FRANCOIS: Thank you Jayson for the opportunity to chat with you. Thanks to my sponsors Saf-fa Energy, RSV, Scarab Kimonos, Maxis, Fight Gear (Sprawl), A Breed Apart Pictures (Brandon Auret), Scenic Route Trading (James Read), Planet Vision Fitness in Springs. Rio Grappling and my Management team XKT Pro League.
A special thanks to Raymond, James & Jurgen for the personal input.