While all the talk right now is on NFL legend Herschel Walker making his professional MMA debut this Saturday at Strikeforce: Miami at the age of 47, little has been written about his opponent, Greg Nagy (1-1). The Hungarian-born fighter with only two fights on his record finds himself in a featured fight on a nationally televised card just six months after making his professional debut. Nagy took some time out of his training camp to speak with FightLine.com about his highly anticipated bout with Walker this Saturday.
“Training’s going well, you know every day I’m getting better at what I need to be doing,” Nagy told Raj Giri of FightLine.com. “It’s hard, but I tell you what, I love it and I’m really looking forward to it.”
While Nagy is only two fights old, he does feel that the little experience he does have gives him a leg-up on the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner.
“It’s gonna give me a little bit of an advantage since I know what it’s like,” Nagy noted. “I think stepping into the cage for the first time is going to be an experience for anyone. I may not know what it’s like in front of that large of a crowd, but I definitely think it gives me an edge because Herschel’s not used to it. He might be used to exposure and media exposure and playing in front of thousands of people, but stepping in a cage to fight for the first time, that’s a different experience altogether.”
Nagy moved to the U.S. from his native Hungary in 1988, locating in New Jersey. He made the move to Arizona two years ago where he heard about the Rage In The Cage training center in Chandler, AZ. He went in to the facility one day “and fell in love with it ever since”. He has since fought two professional fights and one Muay Thai fight with Rage In The Cage.
“My first fight was last August, but I was training before that,” said Nagy. “The main difference is that he’s [Walker] approaching this as a hobby, whereas with myself and several others, this is our jobs. It’s our livelihoods so if he wants to try something new, that’s fine… but I hope he’s not approaching this fight like I’m a stepping stone or an easy victory for him.”
Nagy faces a world renown athlete in Walker. In addition to being regarded as one of the top college running backs of all time, he is a sixth-degree black belt in tae kwon do and competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in two-man bobsled, amongst countless other feats. While Walker hopes to add MMA to his impressive resume, Nagy noted that MMA is a different animal altogether.
“There’s no question that he’s an incredible athlete, but not everything translates over into MMA,” he said. “You can be the strongest guy in the world, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to succeed.”
Nagy hopes to have an advantage over Walker with his ground game, stating, “I think I’m going to be more versed in the ground game than he is. I also have had a Muay Thai fight, so he might not be expecting that. I’m also versed in the stand up game. We usually try to train everything here, we put out well-rounded products.”
Nagy admitted to knowing little about his opponent, but still feels that he can anticipate Walker’s game plan.
“I know a little bit about his background, knowing that he’s done tae kwon do and his football background. I’ve seen the open workouts and the training videos with him and what not, so we know what he’s going to want to do so we have a game plan and we’re going to look to implement it. The game plan is going to be taking it to the ground more, but I’m going to be more than prepared to strike with him on the feet if need be.”
Nagy is currently on a one fight deal with Strikeforce. He hopes that his performance this Saturday will lead to something longer term. “It’s a one fight deal for now, but I guess several things could depend on the outcome of the fight.”
Regardless of the outcome this Saturday, Nagy said that he hopes to “keep fighting in front of a big stage like that. Either way I just look forward to continuing in the sport that I love. I’m really looking forward to putting on a good fight and I have faith in not only myself, but in my coaches here that I’m going to be prepared for it.”
Strikeforce: Miami takes place this Saturday, January 30, 2010 from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL and will air live on Showtime.