Richie “Savage” Lewis looks to shake up the lightweight division at LFA 156



Richie “Savage” Lewis is a man that always knew what he wanted. While many wrestlers with his accolades and pedigree eye a life of international wrestling competition after college, Lewis had his sights set on that as well as glory of another kind inside a steel Octagon. Born and raised in New Jersey, the Rutgers alum naturally drew inspiration from UFC legend and fellow New Jersey native Frankie “The Answer” Edgar. The two men are 13 years apart in age, but both graduated from Toms River High School East in Toms River, New Jersey. In fact, Lewis was in his freshman year wrestling for the Toms River East Raiders when Edgar defeated B.J. Penn to become the UFC lightweight champion.

“I moved from Edison to Toms River to wrestle and go to school there. Then I saw Frankie Edgar fight B.J. Penn, Lewis told “Our wrestling coach brought us to see him. I looked at my parents and said I was going to do this. I started Taekwondo at 5-years-old and began wrestling when I was 10. I also started doing BJJ, while I was wrestling, and got to train with Frankie, Gordon Ryan, John Daneher, Garry Tonon, GSP, and Chris Weidman. After college, I was #4 on the Olympic ladder in 2019, but then COVID happened. I took a year and half off and then made the transition. I have been doing MMA full-time now for 28 months.”

That early exposure to training with some of the biggest names in MMA, BJJ, and Wrestling gave Lewis a head start and push in the right direction, but once he decided to train full-time, he knew he had to find a place that made him comfortable, while complimenting his skillset. That search took him to south Florida, where he joined Kill Cliff FC in Deerfield Beach, which is one of the best MMA teams in the world and one of his coaches there happens to be NCAA Division I wrestling and WVU legend Greg Jones.

“My father was a famous basketball coach in the metro area and has coached champions. He raised me with that chip and my uncles were military,” Lewis explained. “I was raised with a very militant approach to sports and that’s what coach Greg Jones gives me at Kill Cliff FC. He is also very militant. I am molded and sculpted by Greg Jones. He completely changed my game in MMA. Moreso, how I see sports in general. My other coaches are Gerasimos Galiatsatos, Dieter Navarro, and Said Saparov. I also just got to train with Conor McGregor in Las Vegas. Conor is a legend, the biggest name in combat sports, and what you see is what you get with him.”


Get your tickets for LFA 156: Fuller vs. Waters


Richie “Savage” Lewis training with Conor McGregor.


Whenever a blue-chip wrestler makes the jump to MMA, fight fans and pundits immediately take notice. In Lewis’ case, that magnifying glass was super-sized and rightfully so. In high school, he was a four-year letterwinner and captain at Toms River High School East. In junior college, he was a two-time NJCAA All-American at Iowa Central. Then at Rutgers, Lewis became an automatic NCAA Division I national qualifier after notching a 27-7 overall mark and 16-1 dual record in his first season with the program. However, it was what he did after college on the international wrestling scene that really turned some heads. In November 2017, Lewis traveled to Bydgoszcz, Poland to compete at the inaugural U23 World Wrestling Championships. The international newcomer would go down as the first American to ever win a U23 World medal after winning the gold medal at 70 kg / 156 lbs. This incredible wrestling pedigree gives Lewis plenty of confidence as he moves forward with his promising MMA career.

“I believe I have the best wrestling in the lightweight division,” stated Lewis. “If we are talking about pure wrestling, I would definitely beat anyone in the entire sport across any promotion. Now in terms of MMA wrestling, that’s what I’ve been in the lab working on and I know I’m nipping at the heels of the best.”


Watch LFA 156: Fuller vs. Waters


In a state that has produced a future UFC Hall of Famer in Frankie Edgar and now Lewis, one might wonder which other athletes from “The Garden State” would have made an impact in MMA. Not surprisingly, the proud Scarlet Knight picked two fellow Rutgers alumni.

“Anthony Perrotti showed me the ropes at Rutgers. I got some stories about us fighting back in the day,” Lewis exclaimed. “He stopped his career, because he had a lot of pursuits that he made a lot of money with. If he would have kept wrestling, he would have been successful and if he would have fought, he would have been a menace. He was a two-time All-American and broke the curse for coach Scott Goodale. There was a drought at Rutgers for All-Americans and we were kind of the first class to bring a college wrestling scene back to New Jersey because New Jersey is obviously very plentiful with very talented wrestlers. He was the first to break the drought of All-Americans and since then I think we’ve had All-Americans for 8 years in a row. As for Women’s MMA, I would go with Casey Murphy. She was our goalkeeper at Rutgers and is now the goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT). Good stock, Viking… She’s nice and a woman of Christ, but she is just a phenomenal athlete and all around very tough girl.”

While the thought of a two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and a 6’1″ goalkeeper from the USWNT competing in MMA is fun to think about, what is certain is the inaugural U23 World Wrestling Championships gold medalist has made the switch and is ready to make his debut for the sport’s leading developmental organization. That highly-anticipated debut comes against a returning veteran of the sport and promotion. Jordan Isordia fought twice for the RFA at RFA 4 and RFA 12 and has cornered other fighters, including LFA middleweight standout Renato “Índio” Valente. Lewis is aware of the experience Isordia brings to the table, but is very confident heading into their matchup at LFA 156.

“I think he’s going to be a game opponent. I mean the guy comes ready to fight,” stated Lewis. “I think he has hard-hitting hands. I think my distance management, my power, my speed, my prowess, my eyes, my sheer existence is just too much for anyone on this level though. This is my cage. When someone steps into it, they are entering my territory and I see the fight ending however I would like it to.”

You can watch Richie “Savage” Lewis battle RFA veteran Jordan Isordia on main card of LFA 156. The event takes place this Friday, April 14th and it will be available worldwide on UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.




In 2017, RFA and Legacy FC merged to form LFA, the premier developmental organization in Mixed Martial Arts. The combined forces of LFA launched the careers of over 270 athletes that have reached the pinnacle of MMA by competing in the UFC. In 2018, the promotion joined the Imperial Family Companies group (formerly London Trust Media). In 2019, the promotion announced a broadcast partnership with UFC FIGHT PASS®. In 2021, the LFA expanded internationally by hosting multiple events in Brazil.

Please visit for bout updates and information. LFA is on Facebook at LFA is also on Instagram at @LFAfighting and Twitter at @LFAfighting.


About LFA:
LFA is a professional Mixed Martial Arts promotion that gives rising stars and top contenders the opportunity to prove their talent to fans and leaders in the industry. LFA was formed by the powerhouse merger between RFA and Legacy FC. LFA presents live Mixed Martial Arts events on a monthly basis around the United States including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix , Denver, Dallas, and Minneapolis. Based in Las Vegas, NV, LFA is one of the most active and respected MMA organizations in the fastest growing sport in the world. (The Octagon, Ultimate Fighting Championship®, UFC®, and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC. All rights reserved).

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