You seemed more comfortable fighting off your back in your last fight. Have you been working on more Jiu-Jitsu?
I got my blue belt [in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu] right before that fight. Blue belt is the hardest belt to get. Everything else comes with it. For me it was exciting. I concentrated more on BJJ and wrestling for that fight. I didn’t spar that much. Now I spar three times a week. My hands are better than everyone elses, anyone whose fought me will tell you how I hit the hardest, but I get apprehensive sometimes and don’t throw them.
Your friend and former Hammerhouse training partner Mark Coleman is fighting Randy Couture at UFC 109 in February. What is your prediction?
If Mark Coleman is in shape, Randy doesn’t make it past first round. Mark has got heavy hands. He’s got country boy strength. He’s got generations of strong country motherfuckers on his side. He’s excited. He’s going to surprise everyone.
Which fight do you think you learned the most from?
I really didn’t apply myself then [to my old losses]. Now that I’ve been applying myself I’m a dangerous 205 pounder but I just haven’t been pulling the trigger. I’m writing a book right now and I don’t want to get into my past too much but let me just say this--I loved women. If I had two girls in my bed I was not willing to work out. I’m not giving up the two in the bed for the one that might be hiding in the bush. But then I met my wife six years ago and I realized I could have something nice to work for.
Before MMA you were one of Ohio State’s most successful wrestlers. Why did you turn to wrestling initially?
I was poor. I didn’t have money. I had a big family. There were no presents during Christmas. Someone had said hey you can get out of this by going to college, so by eight grade I wanted to go to state wrestling championships and win and go to college.
Did wrestling keep you out of trouble?
There was no balance. I was a crazy fuck. I had a real long rap sheet. I was a militant black guy who grew up poor. The wrestling had people on my side because I was always learning good stuff. I was always in the paper doing volunteer work. I gave my time and whenever I got in trouble there were people to vouch for me who had my back.
When did you clean up?
I just met my girl six years ago. Before that I was partying, fucking girls, I had lesbians living with me. I was just, like, fuck it. I was partying, doing drugs, smoking weed, menagie...Then I met this girl and I said this could be a nice life.
Are there any closing comments you have for your fans?
Just hang in there with me. If I get knocked I’m going to get knocked out because I’m leaving it all in there. I might have lost my last two but I expect a streak. I’m working harder, training longer, running more. I’m doing everything right for the first time and I know I’m going to get my goal and get my title. I got to get my technique real good. Perfect practices makes perfect.
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