“The first fight where I ever really got injured was the Jorge Rivera fight. I just remember that he and I traded back and forth and I got caught with quite a few punches and was bleeding. That was the first fight that I was really sore afterward. Most of my fights before that I managed to win easily and without taking any damage. When I went back to my hotel, I was like, ‘Wow, this is what fighting is really like.’”
“The Loiseau fight was tough because it was really the first time I had broken anything.
"Getting my nose broken in the Silva fight was tough because, even though getting the nose broken isn’t that painful, getting it set back in the locker room is slightly more painful. My septum was deviated and I had to have surgery on my nose.
'You can’t breath, so for a week I couldn’t taste my food because I couldn’t smell it, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breath properly, and I could only breath in and out of my mouth.”
“I was breathing out of my mouth so much that my lips had become so chapped that they were cracked and bleeding. At night I would put Vaseline on the bottom of my nose and on my lips and I would stick tissues to my lips so I could breath warm air underneath the tissue to keep my lips from cracking."
“The Henderson fight was bad because I got poked in the eye and I had never had an eye injury before."
“There was a time where I thought the vision in that eye would be affected for the rest of my life. That was really scary for a person like myself because I’ve always had great vision."
"On top of that, I got head butted twice in that fight and had to get stitches in two different places in my head. One of the worst things was, I threw so many left-leg power kicks to the body, and I was catching his elbow and his forearm—I think I ended up breaking several of his ribs—but my leg had taken so much punishment from throwing the kicks. You typically don’t feel pain until 15-20 minutes after the fight, and I remember when walking out of the Octagon in that fight, the pain had already started to set in, so I knew it was going to be really bad. I had trouble walking for nearly two weeks.”
" I was asked by a fan once, ‘Dude, where are you going to party after the fight?’ I looked at him and said, ‘Probably the E.R.’ That’s where I spend most of my after parties. Even when I win a fight—like the Chuck Liddell fight—I still spend the evening in the hospital.”
“When things like the eye gouge happen, which really changed the shape of that eye, you start to think about what you would do if you lost your vision. I would never be able to fight again."
“All it takes is one moment in this sport for all of that to be taken away from you, so those thoughts do creep into my head sometimes.”
Read entire interview...
Related MMA gear from the UG Store