If you're a Harry Potter fan (the movies, not the books) than you know who Josh Herdman is. He played Slytherin's Gregory Goyle, Draco Malfoy's right-hand goon in every one of the Harry Potter films. Fun fact: He's one of only 14 actors to appear in every film!
Now, Herdman has made the leap, having left acting to embark on a new career: mixed martial arts. On April 23 he made his octagon debut in British UFC fighter Brad Pickett's Rise of Champions 2. Herdman squared off against Polish pound master Janusz Walachowski — who also made his professional MMA debut — and promptly took home his first win.
Herdman's entry into MMA has mainly flown under the radar, which was his plan all along. He hopes to establish himself as a true contender in UK's welterweight division and follow in the footsteps of his father Martin Herdman, who was a boxer and professional rugby player turned actor. Plus, Josh's brothers are also noted pugilists.
Herdman recently explained to addictedotr.com:
"Two of my older brothers have boxed. My brother Jake is an ex-Royal Marine and he boxed for them winning the heavyweight division title. My brother Luke has had several bouts, amateur and unlicensed. He recently fought in the Queensbury Boxing League as a heavyweight."
This isn't just a hobby to Herdman:
"I’m doing it because I enjoy it, but I also take it very seriously. It’s in my family’s blood. I like competing and pushing my boundaries.
"I’ve been training traditional Japanese jujitsu for nearly five years and hold a shodan black belt under Sensei Perry at the Bu’sen, although most of my martial arts training has been under Sensei Voloshin at the Anglo Japanese Martial Arts School on Sandycombe Road in Kew."
Although MMA pushes Herdman's boundaries, he finds it's the artistry that comes with MMA that is the real attraction to the sport.
"It’s raw, exciting and unpredictable. I find it more interesting than boxing although I appreciate the beauty and art in boxing."
In terms of who he looks up to in the sport, there's only one name that comes to mind: Georges St-Pierre.
"He’s such a great, well rounded fighter and superb athlete."
No argument there.
Herdman ended up fighting at catchweight and defeated Walachowski by decision. It looks as if the octagon now has a Slytherin in its midst.