CAPE TOWN - Mixed martial arts (MMA) has celebrated more than a handful of family names over the years. Names such as Shamrock, Emelianenko, Diaz and Nogueira revive championship memories of yesteryear and present.
It’s always a beautiful thing to see how younger brother Nate (Diaz) speaks so affectionately and highly of his older "boeta" Nick, regardless of how badass the former is in the octagon. A soft spot that can only be revealed when speaking about someone you love. And you can sense that same connection when Hermie Drotschie speaks of his older brother Gideon.
This weekend, the Drotschie name will shimmer in the bright lights of showbiz and MMA when Gideon and Hermie kickstart their family legacy at EFC72 at the Grand Arena. Gideon, a former light heavyweight champion makes his much-anticipated return, while Hermie is set to make his professional debut. Hermie has been a staunch supporter of his brother for years, and has been in Gideon's corner and backstage with him during and ahead of his fights. After all, it was Gideon who got him into MMA.
"One day I came home from rugby practice after school and Gideon asked me if I want to come train with him, 'you get to punch me in the face' he said and when I heard that, I could not resist," Hermie, the younger of the Drotschie brothers, said.
"So we ran to coach Rico's (Hattingh) garage and I put on some gloves, he wanted to show me what to do and I quickly reassured him that I know how to punch. The moment I actually hit him he then started to kick the sh*t out of me, all I remember was that my face and body was fine, but my bum wasn't because he kept kicking me. It was after that point that I realised that I needed to learn how to fight."
Shortly after finishing school in 2011, Hermie then started training full-time. Today he boasts an amateur record of 4-1. Hermie, a well-built warrior who boasts a grappling game backed up with some powerful limb and torso blows, is a true student of the game and understands the concept and beauty of MMA.
"I like the technical aspect the most, it's not always about the guy who is the strongest or the faster, it can be about the guy who is the toughest or the guy who has the luck on his side on the night. It's literally a chess game, a human chess game, and that is why I love MMA."
Hermie is confident about his big bro's game and feels that Gideon knows what he needs to do against England's Jenaid Ebanks in their middleweight bout. Right now, Hermie is just focused on his lightweight debut. "Gideon has the legacy, he knows what to do, he has been around the block. For me it's just about getting to the fight," Hermie said.
His opponent, Francois Cundari, will be hungry to make the most of Hermie's professional baptism and he might have that extra motivation following his first-round loss to Luke Michael at EFC68. Francois possesses lethal and aggressive kickboxing, compounded by a dangerous submission game. Yet Hermie, in true Drotschie fashion, is cool, calm and composed, an attribute quite admirable within a young fighter.
"I have massive respect for Francois. He's a very nice dude and lekker to speak to. Fight wise he has more experience than me, but in terms of skill I feel that we're on the same level. That is why I took the fight because we (are) going to test who is better on the night," Hermie said.
"He has been there before, I might have the jitters, I don't know, we will see on Saturday who is better on the overall game. If we finish the fight early, we can enjoy a nice cold beer, because nobody likes a warm beer, and who knows, I might share it with Francois."
"I am so happy for Hermie, it's been a while and we are going to show the world that the Drotschie brothers are on top of the game," says older brother, Gideon.