twitter google Exclusive Interview: Kevin Randleman, Part 2

Strikeforce light-heavyweight fighter and MMA veteran Kevin “The Monster” Randlemann recently took the time to speak with Mark Wayne of Fightline about his upcoming fight with Roger Gracie. Check out part two of the exclusive interview to hear what Randleman thinks about Paul Daley’s sucker-punch and to see him issue direct statements to Dana White, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, his fellow fighters and MMA fans.

Fightline: At this point in your career do you have any aspirations of attaining the Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight Title or are you taking fights one at a time?

Randleman: I’m taking it one at a time. With wins comes the opportunity of title shots. So, right now I’ve just got to get past Roger Gracie and his jiu-jitsu and his standup and his 6’4 body frame. After that, I’m gonna go home, go to a friend’s wedding in San Diego–I’m still gonna train–I’m gonna try and procreate with my wife, make some babies and two weeks from now I’m going to be back in the gym banging. I’ve got one of the strongest heavyweights in MMA. He’s a gem; no one knows who he is but I guarantee you, whoever picks him up–I’ll put my career on the line saying that whoever he fights next is gonna get knocked out. So, Dana White, if you read this–I know you respect me as a man–I’ve got a heavyweight that will f****n’ bang with anybody you’ve got. And I’m talking to the people of Strikeforce; whoever gets this guy, whoever is willing to sign him–it doesn’t matter, you can sign him to whatever you want–but sign this kid. I’ll put my career on the line that he will knock out the first guy he fights.

Fightline: And this is you’re training partner that you’re talking about?

Randleman: Yes, his name is Maurice Jackson. 6’8, 280-lbs. man. He’s undefeated in kickboxing, 28 knockouts. He’s 1-1 in MMA and I’ve been working with him on his wrestling, his jiu-jitsu, he’s been working with Sergio Pena so his jiu-jitsu is sick. He can triangle you and the fact that he’s got long legs makes him dangerous for any heavyweight. 6’8 is dangerous period.

Fightline: You have been around to watch the evolution of MMA firsthand; you have seen fighters develop from one dimensional, single-style fighters to the well-rounded, well-versed athletes that are competing today. Who are some of the fighters competing in MMA that really impress you right now?

Randleman: My favorite fighters that I like to watch are Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, Urijah Faber, BJ Penn, Georges St. Pierre, I love watching Wanderlei Silva because we’ve been friends for a long time. I can’t wait to go back home to Vegas and train with him. I’m finally healthy and I can finally run with the dogs again so I just can’t wait to go and train with some of these guys; feel what they’ve got and get better. I’ve never done it before. When I say I never trained–this is gonna sound like a really bad thing to say–but I never trained for fights before. I never had no one that wanted to train. I want to train hard every day, two-three times a day. The guys in my corner, they tell me, “Dude, you can’t train today. Just take it off.” I’m like, “No! We need to work. We need to dedicate ourselves and work hard and never quit.” That’s our philosophy, that’s our motto and they’re like, “No, just take a day off, get a massage and got to dinner or something with your girl.” I never had people around me like that. So, the people that interest me are definitely the champions. I’m looking forward to watching Brock Lesnar fight Shane Carwin.

Fightline: That is going to be a good fight, for sure.

Randleman: I’m looking forward to it because Shane Carwin’s a bad–he’s very good. And again, I’m gonna say this, I’m going out on a limb on this, I’ve got a guy that will fight all these guys and I guarantee you he’s gonna surprise a lot of people.

Fightline: Maurice Jackson, I’ll keep my eye out.

Randleman: He trains with tough guys, he trains with the Frank Mirs and the Heath Herrings and stuff in Vegas and they’ll tell you, he’s good. He’s tough and he’s big. And the fact that I’ve been working with him in wrestling–he’s a quick study. I teach him how to stop one of my shots or stop what I do and he does it. … He’s an athletic kid that really wants to learn; he’s a sponge. Which makes it easier for me. And believe me, he kicks my a** everyday so I know I’m ready to fight anybody. For the first time in my career I’m getting my a** handed to me everyday. So, I’m not worried about someone fighting me at 205 when I’m f****n’ getting beat up by 280-lbs. kid. And then Ramon Montano whose hands are so fast I can’t even catch him. Only time I can catch him is when he wants to punch me and that’s not fun for me and he’s a 135-145 lbs. guy. Speed kills. Power is generated by that speed.

Fightline: And what about some of the light-heavyweights in Strikeforce, is there anybody there that would interest you to fight?

Randleman: They all interest me, they’re all good. Anyone that balls their fists up gets my respect. Mo Lawal has the belt and Gegard Mousasi–I thought that was going to be a little bit closer of a fight, and it was, but Mo Lawal imposed that will, take him down, take him down, take him down. And that’s happened. I’m very interested in everyone at 205. Regardless of whether it’s UFC, Strikeforce, Sengoku, DREAM, Brazilian companies, Chinese companies, I’m just interested in all the guys at 205 because I’m learning from them. I’m finally actually a student of the game.

Fightline: In that respect, did you see the Machida-Rua rematch and does it inspire you at all to see your former opponent Mauricio “Shogun” Rua rise to the top of the UFC’s light-heavyweight division?

Randleman: My favorite fighter in MMA right now is “Shogun” Rua, I’m just gonna say that. I thought the first fight was excellent and I thought it was close but I thought he did so much more damage to Machida–and I respect Machida too, he’s a great fighter and he’s a great family man. I’m learning how to be a better man, father, and fighter because I’m watching these guys from afar. Whenever I get a chance to meet Machida I’m gonna shake his hand and give him a big hug because I’ve learned so many good things from him; just watching him and reading stories on him every chance I get. I believe that if you’re not willing to learn, then you’re even more susceptible to failure. And now that I’m willing to learn I’m not even accepting failure as an option. And to “Shogun” Rua, congratulations. I am very proud to say that I fought you and I’m even more proud to say that you’re the champion. I’m very impressed with what you did. You did not let the judges have a thing to say about the fight.

Fightline: On to your current opponent, you mentioned that Gracie’s size and jiu-jitsu pedigree are likely his biggest assets. Although he is inexperienced in MMA he has consistently grappled against the world’s best grapplers and come out on top. What do you think about Roger as an opponent?

Randleman: Man, I don’t think he’s ever been beaten in jiu-jitsu but this is an MMA fight. This is not a jiu-jitsu tournament. If this was a jiu-jitsu tournament I’d be going in there thinking like, “Jeez, I’m done.” I would definitely say eighty percent he’s gonna win, twenty percent I can win. But in this fight I’m saying, during the course of this fight there’s an eighty percent chance on my part and a twenty percent chance on his part. If it goes on the ground there’s an eighty percent chance he can win and a twenty percent chance I can. But I guarantee you I’m confident. I’m gonna take him down. I’m not scared of taking him down because that’s what I do. So, regardless of what people think, “Well, you better not take him down,” well you don’t know me. You must not know me very well because I’m not scared to be in any position with anyone. I mean, when I won the Heavyweight Championship belt in the UFC I only weighed 198. So what’s the difference with what I’m doing now fighting guys at 205? I fought Randy Couture and I only weighed 205-208. I mean, I was the Heavyweight Champion light. It wasn’t until I went over to Japan and stopped training and was eating and drinking and sleeping around and doing all kinds of craziness that I started getting out of shape. Right now I’m right back in the same swing of things. I feel good about training and feel good about everything and I’m positive. And I’m positive that I can win this fight and that I can win this fight decisively. And again, I’ve been friends with Roger Gracie for a long time. We were friends before the fight, we’re gonna be friends during this fight and we’re gonna be friends after this fight. As far as inexperience goes, hey, we’ll find out how inexperienced he is Saturday night.

Fightline: Well, Kevin thanks for a great interview. Is there anything you would like to say before we close out?

Randleman: To everyone out there, I fight for Strikeforce. I love the company I work for and my company takes care of me. But MMA is a world sport, it’s universal now. If Mars had people they’d be fighting MMA too. I respect the UFC, I respect Sengoku, I respect DREAM, I respect Strikeforce–even more because this is the company that I love and work for–but I hold them all in high regard. They’re all good for the men and women that train MMA. There are a lot of men and women out there that would never have had a stage to do anything and provide for their families but now because of guys like Dana White and Scott Coker we all have a different stage and we all have a different outlook on life. We can be somebody. We got football players doing training that we do. We got basketball players that want our autographs. Now we have a stage so we can’t go out there and be ignorant. We can’t go out there and do stuff and fight in the streets–even though I will if you hurt my family but that’s a different type of situation altogether. But the art of MMA, we have to be held to a higher standard, especially when we’re on the big stages. Don’t frown upon us because you see one or two people do some things negative. You’re always gonna have people, in any sport, whether it be baseball where they’re running and chasing the pitcher or football someone trying to fight them in the lines, in the trenches, you’re always gonna have animosity but for us as fighters–and this comes to the fighters–we have to be held accountable by higher standards. And for the fans, don’t judge us harshly. We live our lives to provide for our families and if we feel that we’re being unjustly served in a fight, of course our emotions can run over and we might do something that you guys might look upon as stupid, but hey, we’re human. We’re very human and you guys gotta remember that. So you can talk bad about us and frown on us and talk all the sutff in the world you want behind our backs but unless you’ve been smacked in your face or got in there and been tapped out or choked out by Robert Drysdale or Forrest Griffin or been punched by Wanderlei Silva or Rashad Evans or Quinton Jackson you can’t tell us, you’ve never walked in our shoes. It’s not easy to do what we do but we do what we do because we really do like it. You guys go to the gym and train because you like it. Some people work in an office because they like it. Well, we do what we do because we like it. If you want to be a fan, be a fan for all weathers, all situations, not just because it’s convenient for you.

Fightline: As my last question then, speaking of being held accountable, what did you think of Paul Daley punching Josh Koscheck after the bell?

Randleman: I felt bad. When he did that all I said was, “Oh man, I feel sorry for him.” Because the sport has evolved and nobody is bigger than the sport. Now, Paul Daley’s gonna get a second shot. I think Dana White, when he said what he said–he’s got to make an example of you because of what [Jason] “Mayhem” Miller did the previous week to Jake Shields. And, like I said, we, as fighters, have to be held accountable for everything we do. Especially when you’re on a big stage and millions of dollars are at stake. So, yes, he’s gonna be made an example of just like “Mayhem” Miller is gonna be made an example of but they’re not going anywhere, they’re young. They’ll be back and better and stronger and hungrier than ever. And when they do come back, believe me, they’re gonna be better fighters. They’re gonna learn from this mistake. I know it. I know “Mayhem,” he’s a smart guy. I don’t know Paul Daley but if I ever get the opportunity to talk to him–I mean, I know he already learned his lesson, but I’m a veteran. I’m one of the old dogs and I’m learning new tricks. I can teach young kids that those new tricks don’t need to be learned when you’re older. You can learn those tricks now from us old dogs.

Fightline: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us today Kevin and good luck on Saturday.

Randleman: You’re welcome. Thank you. And again, whatever happens in the fight, just so long as we both walk out of the fight healthy, without injury, that’s all I’m looking for. I’m looking for a win and health.

You can catch “The Monster” fighting this weekend at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery where he will try to get back in the win column by defeating Roger Gracie. Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery will take place this Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and will be broadcast live on Showtime.