Bellator welterweight tournament semifinalist Ben Saunders is one of the more exciting fighters in MMA. Rebellion Media caught up with the dynamic fighter prior to his welterweight semifinal matchup with Raul Amaya at Bellator 90 for a brief Q and A session with the “Killa B” to discuss tonight’s matchup, his future, Bellator’s tournament, The Ultimate Fighter, and more.
What are your thoughts on opponent Raul Amaya? Has he changed much since your first matchup?
He is a very tough and durable fighter with a lot of heart. And to me those are some of the most dangerous fighters around. I feel what he has gained in experience with the loss to me, and from his two victories leading into this fight could be a lot. It’s been about 1 year since we last fought, and that is a lot of time to improve with if utilized correctly.
How does training for Bellator’s tournament change your preparation?
Normally doesn’t change anything. A fight is a fight, and a training camp is a training camp. What these tournaments do is put a lot of stress on your mind and body. It’s a huge challenge, and I have always been about taking on challenges head on, the harder the better. I love testing myself and defying the odds. It is what thrills me to live as a human being and a true martial artist.
You already have one of the more exciting skill-sets in MMA, where you are proficient in Muay Thai and skilled in BJJ on the ground, with that, how are you looking to further improve your game?
I am always looking to improve my over all game every single day. A true practitioner of Bruce Lee’s “Jeet Kune Do Concepts” open to everything and keeping what is useful to me and discarding what is useless. With that said I am a firm believer in working harder on your weaknesses while still refining your strengths. That is how I plan on becoming a World Champion.
Is it hard to not look ahead at possible future tournament match ups?
I always am aware of the possibilities. Being a martial artist awareness and perception are key components in order to always be prepared and never to be caught off guard. I like to call it my “Ninja Sense”. I never look past opponents… That is ignorant and dumb. But always being aware of what could come will always keep you on your toes and ready for any challenge that awaits.
What was tougher for you, The Ultimate Fighter tournament or the Bellator tournament?
I would have to say they were both tougher in different areas. TUF was crazy living together, and above all not knowing who you would be fighting or when you would be fighting until 24-48 hours ahead of time. That made weight cutting (which I never did before but once) and gameplan preparations a real hardship. But I enjoyed my time on the show and saw it as a vacation and seminar experience, loving most of all of the time spent there, knowing it was such an amazing opportunity to be chosen. I felt very honored, and fortunate to be there, and hardly saw any negative even in the grueling times. As for Bellator I feel it’s just a more professional approach in that we know who, when, and where we are fighting ahead of time. We get to prepare like professionals with our own teams. But I do feel it is harder as the level in competition surpasses that of my time on TUF.
What is it like to see the Bellator and the UFC rivalry growing in the time since you have joined the company?
Man, I just stay as far away from it as I can. I just focus on me and my career.
Any advice that you would offer to the fighters that will be on the Bellator reality show?
Hands up, chin down, lol. I don’t know the format or how it is being shot or filmed. I believe they are trying a different more professional approach, trying to keep it about the fighting, training, and sport. As opposed to knuckle heads looking to get famous by, arguing, drinking, or fighting outside the cage. Drama sells, but so does the sport. So I am definitely interested to see what it is all about, once it airs.
Be sure to tune in tonight to Spike.com as Ben “Killa B” Saunders takes on Raul Amaya in the first welterweight semifinal of the evening at the Maverick Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.