First off congratulations on the new addition to your family and thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Take me back to your first time staring across from another human being in a locked cage ready to do battle, what was your emotions like that first time?
I wish I could remember. While it is not that long ago or that many fights ago but it seems like it was 15 years ago. Ever since my college sports days I have been a visualizer and I almost go into a trance focusing on what I need to do and keeping my mind right. You spend 3 months getting ready for less then 30 minutes of chaos, where anything can happen and almost always does. So when that cage door closes I am in another world, I can’t hear the crowd I can just feel their presence, I can’t hear anything but my Coaches voice and the voice inside telling me I can win this fight and to stick to my game plan.
I’ve always felt that any person that is willing to step into a cage deserves respect from their opponent, do you feel the same way and does it bother you when fighters blatantly disrespect their opponent even after the bout is over?
I think MMA is the son of Martial Arts and in every sport (BJJ, Kickboxing, Wrestling, TKD, Boxing etc.) that makes up MMA requires a lot of respect for your opponent and discipline and sacrifice while preparing for your opponent. I have a lot of respect for MMA fighters as athletes and martial artist. I have taken every fight I have been in as if my opponent is working harder, more skilled and wants this fight more then I do. I use that as motivation to get through the grueling training regime. As far as fighters talking smack, a lot of that is just sound bites and promoting fights. I think when they disrespect the fans is where I have the bigger issue.
Frank Mir is known for having sort of an awkward, but very good guard game. How are you preparing for this and have you brought in anybody new to your camp to try and mimic these skills?
Were you at the gym today? We have been working on that and few other of Franks strengths. During a training camp I wont become a BJJ Black belt and he wont become an All American Wrestler. Styles makes fights and I think we match up to make for an exciting fight. I have a great team of fighters and coaches that have gotten me this far so I have been just focusing on improving. When I go home and I don’t feel like I was ran over by a truck I will consider changing things up but I feel myself getting stronger, faster and better at all aspects of the sport. As a competitor that is what is important, the ability to improve your game and develop as an athlete.
When you think about the Frank Mir bout, how do you see the fight playing out in your head without giving too much strategy away of course?
I think we are both going to try to set our own pace and game plan in place. I expect that Frank will come in big and strong and I hope to be able to push him and the pace. If I can break him mentally I think I will have the advantage.
Funny thing is about me is I usually visualize the fight going deep into the rounds. Obviously with me winning but I do not visualize one punch KO’s they just seem to happen. In my mind I am shooting takedowns, using my ground and pound to open up submissions or the finish from the ref.. So who knows deep in the 5th or early in the first I am going home the winner that night.
Who are some of your sporting heroes, MMA or otherwise and why?
Dan Gable, Royce Gracie, Fedor, and guys like Joe Montana that showed calm under pressure and stepped up when it mattered most.
And my sponsors who make it possible for me to live the dream of being a professional MMA fighter. Thank you to Beaver Buzz Energy, Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, MTX Audio, Performancemma.com, DPMS Arms, Warrior Wear and Nightrider Jewelry
I would like to end this interview by asking you the quiz made famous by Bernard Pivot and James Lipton of “Inside the Actor’s Studio”. Hey, why not ask an MMA fighter?
1. What is your favorite word? According to my wife and manager “Umm”
2. What is your least favorite word? Can’t
3. What turns you on (creatively, spiritually)? Easy buddy….
4. What turns you off? Is this for the Centerfold?
5. What sound or noise do you love? The laughter of the ones I love.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? Crying
7. What is your favorite curse word? Shit
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I would love to coach little kids sports
9. What profession would you not like to do? The guy that cleans the blood off the mats at the UFC
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? WELCOME