There have been many unsubstantiated rumors floating around lately that tab Brad Imes (9-3), of TUF 2 fame, as Brock Lesnar’s first UFC opponent. Lesnar, former WWE star turned mma contender, announced last Saturday night at UFC 77 that he has inked a deal with the UFC, terms of which remain undisclosed.
MMAFightline.com’s Jason Perkins recently sat down with Brad Imes to get his take on fighting Lesnar, the Randy Couture situation, his opinions on M-1, and a host of other topics, including his take on the current UFC pay structure and the future plans of friend and training partner Tim Sylvia.
In part one of our exclusive three part interview with Brad Imes, Imes discusses what he’s been up to since losing at UFC 67 to Heath Herring, what he’s learned from that fight, and the rumors that he’s going to be Brock Lesnar’s first UFC opponent.
MMAFightline: First of all how have you been? How’s training going?
Brad: Trainings going well. I’m training down at Miletich, been there for the last two years now.
MMAFightline: Do you have any upcoming fights?
Brad: I was supposed to fight last weekend in San Francisco against “War Path” but that was the card that got canceled…the promotion (at the Cow Palace) wasn’t very organized.
MMAFightline: There have been lots of rumors about you being Brock Lesnar’s first UFC opponent, any truth those rumors?
Brad: I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard anything about it. I called my manager today, but he’s on a plane right now. And unless they’ve spoken and he hasn’t told me about it, I don’t know anything about it. I’d love to fight Lesnar though. I think it’d be a good match up for me, but it’s not anything that anyones talked to me about.
MMAFightline: You said that fighting Lesnar would be a good match up for you. Can you elaborate?
Brad: Well, you know I trained with him, and I know a little bit about him. I haven’t trained with him for about eight to ten months. He came up to Miletich to train with us when he was first getting into the sport.
MMAFightline: Many out there felt that you won your fight with Rashad Evans at The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale. How would things have been different for you now had you gotten that decision?
Brad: Had I won that fight I really don’t see where it would have changed much of anything. Dan Christiansen would have probably still been my second fight and even though I won fourteen minutes of it, I still would have ended up getting my arm broken. So, it wouldn’t change that any…I don’t think about it too much. This is the road that I took and I think that right now I’m where I need to be. I’m getting all the fights I should have had two years ago right now and building not only a lot of experience and ring time, but I’m also building confidence.
MMAFightline: Speaking of confidence, you’ve rolled off three consecutive victories since we last saw you at UFC 69 vs. Heath Hearing. Do you feel that your skills are improving? Are you doing anything differently?
Brad: The biggest difference is that I’m having a lot more fun fighting right now. I think I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to live up to the expectations that were put on me after [The Ultimate Fighter 2]. You know, all the guys from the show have those expectations put on them, but my experience couldn’t catch up to where it needed to be fast enough to compete and also I was really kinda nervous, especially before the Herring fight.
MMAFightline: What do you think went wrong for you in the Herring Fight?
Brad: I didn’t fight my fight and I tried to not get beat up for a couple of rounds and thats no way to go about things. And now being able to build my record and confidence has really helped me go out and have fun and do what I do. If I would have fought that way against Heath I’m not saying that I would have won or anything, but I think it would have been a little more of a competitive fight.
MMAFightline: I don’t think we’ve seen you in a non-competitive fight.
Brad: Yeah, I got that thick skull I guess.
Make sure to check back with us soon for part 2 of our three part discussion with Brad Imes. In part 2, Imes breaks down Brock Lesnar’s mma abilities from his time spent training with Lesnar at Miletich, he gives us more of his thoughts on his TUF 2 experiences, and he also goes into his opinions on Fedor, M-1 Global, and what this new organization may mean for his future and the future of mma.