Battle Creek Enquirer: How do you think the sport has changed since you started doing it?
Dan Severn: Back when I started, the sport only had two rules: don't bite and don't eye gouge. As long as you didn't do that, everything else was a go. You could fight bare knuckled, bend fingers, use whatever submissions you wanted. There were no weight classes, no specified fighting gear.
Also, back then you fought tournament style, meaning you had three fights in a time span of less than two hours.
Now, the sport is known as mixed martial arts and it has 37 rules. It has weight classes. And everybody has to where gloves. Most fighters now only have three or four fights a year, if that. And you can make more money now.
Battle Creek Enquirer: Which fighters have you trained that are currently in mixed martial arts?
Dan Severn: Rashad Evans -- Michigan State amateur wrestler, winner of the Ultimate Fighter season 2, former UFC light heavyweight champion.
Sean Sherk -- former UFC lightweight champion.
Rampage (Quinton Jackson) -- former UFC light heavyweight champion.
Battle Creek Enquirer: You have a son, David Severn, who is a two-time state wrestling champion at Bronson High School. Are you grooming him to become a mixed martial artist? Is that something that he wants to pursue?
A lot of people in Michigan and outside of Michigan ask me about that. So I'll tell you what I tell everyone else.
David will go to college on a full wrestling scholarship. He will walk away from college with a good degree and a good education. That's his focus right now.
Once he's done, if he wants to do it, I will support him. I'll use my experience to guide him. I also constantly tell him to make sure he has a Plan B, Plan C and a Plan D.
Battle Creek Enquirer: What are you up to these days?
I have the Michigan Sports Camps, where I teaching amateur wrestling and pro wrestling. We also have boxing and kickboxing trainers.
I have my own small fighting promotion called "The Danger Zone."
I'm on the road a lot doing self-defense training with corrections officers, air marshals, boarder patrol units, police officers and some military forces. I'm also doing motivational speaking at juvenile centers.
Battle Creek Enquirer: How well do you follow MMA? Who are some of your favorite fighters today?
I don't get to watch too many pay-per-views. There's so much out there now that I don't see how anyone keeps up with it.
My favorite fighters...I like George St. Pierre. He portrays himself well, and he's of the most complete fighters in the world.
And I've really enjoyed watching Rashad Evans grow. I'm really happy to see him succeeding.
Battle Creek Enquirer: Other UFC Hall of Fame members such as Mark Coleman, Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock have returned to the octagon late in their careers. Do you plan to make a return as well?
I've spoken to both Mark Coleman and Ken Shamrock about rematches. It would be nice to get those matches...have my last hurrah, you know?
Not sure if those fights will happen in the UFC. But it would be nice if they could. That way, I'll be finishing my career where it started.
I just want to do those last couple of matches and I'll be done.
Read entire interview...
MMA gear now available at the UG Store