This is number nineteen in Jack Brown’s series of interviews with MMA fighters and personalities, and for this particular interview, we’re honored to feature the always entertaining, veteran MMA heavyweight, James “The Colossus” Thompson. The 6’ 5” British giant has fought all over the world at heavyweight and super heavyweight. As large of a man as he is, his persona is often larger. Please enjoy our conversation below.
Jack Brown: What was your first experience with martial arts/combat sports and what do you think of it now, looking back?
James Thompson: I started late, at 23. Before that, I'd just been a big guy who hit the weights. I liked sports, but had never been compelled to get involved until I saw MMA.
JB: You've fought in many different MMA organizations over the course of your long career. Which organization impressed you most and why?
JT: Easy. PRIDE. It wasn't all good, far from it, last minute phone calls asking you to fight, constant switching opponents, etc. But they knew how to put on a great show and make MMA magic. Plus, I liked fighting MMA in front of people who knew about the sport of MMA.
JB: Which fight do you regard as your most "complete" performance as fighter?
JT: That's a good question. And it’s a hard one. I’ve gotten by mostly on brute force and heart. I was pleased with my fight with Fujita even though it was a loss and I ran out of gas.
JB: You've fought so many of MMA's most physically imposing fighters - Giant Silva, Mariusz Pudzianowski, Bob Sapp, and Bobby Lashley, just to name a few. Of all the fighters you've fought who were known primarily for their physique, who impressed you most with their technique?
JT: Ermm… Sapp was really f---ing strong. I'll give him that.
JB: Now that nearly five years have gone by, how do you view your controversial loss to Kimbo Slice back in EliteXC?
JT: The same. They gave him every chance to come back, but gave me none. Such is life. I learned a lot from that. See me vs. Pudz, 2.
JB: What rematches would you be most interested in?
JT: I'd like to fight anyone who's beaten me, but the two guys who hold wins over me that kill me are Neil Grove and Rob Broughton.
JB: Who are the other MMA fighters that you enjoy watching and what is the quality that you most respect in other fighters?
JT: So many. My old favorites were Enson and Frye. Now I love watching Joachim Hansen and Frankie Edgar. I like watching anyone with heart.
JB: You have many interests outside of fighting. What pursuits are you currently putting the most energy into?
JT: I love writing, so I'm always writing my Colossal Concerns blogs and trying to get though my book, “Gym Tales and Colossal Adventures.” But with the podcasts, the videos I’m doing, etc., I find it hard to focus on one thing. My site colossalcollective.com has everything under one roof. It's up, but not finished. Check it out.
JB: I've deduced from your Twitter that you're a fan of the writer, Irvine Welsh. He's one of my favorite authors as well, and I'm very curious about which of his books you enjoyed most and what it is that you like about his style of writing.
JT: Yeah I'm talking to him on Twitter, which is a big deal for me as he's my favorite author. That’s why I like twitter. Now were twitter m8's. It's hard because they’re all so good, but I liked “Filth” and my favorite is “Marabou Stork Nightmares.”
JB: Last question, James, and I am so glad that you took the time to do this. At UFC 156, a former opponent of yours lost in a dramatic upset defeat. What did you think of Bigfoot Silva's KO of Alistair Overeem?
JT: I think he'll learn from it. You are most likely to lose when you think you've got the game and your opponent figures you out. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Overeem learned that.
Thank you so much for reading, and please follow @JColossus and @jackjohnbrown on Twitter, and check out James-The-Colossus-Thompson and jackjohnbrownmma on Facebook.
Thanks to @KirikJenness for @theUG
There will likely be no more interviews posted this week as Jack travels to Montreal for UFC 158, but you can enjoy his accounts from recent trips to UFC 152, UFC 154, and UFC 156 on the UG.
Previous Jack Brown interviews:
#1 Dan Hardy
#2 Rose Namajunas
#3 Joe Lauzon
#4 War Machine
#5 Tom Lawlor
#6 Mike DolceDiet
#7 Reggie Warren
#8 Bas Rutten
#9 Bobby Razak
#10 Joe Proctor and Daron Cruickshank
#11 Chris Leben
#12 Tarec Saffiedine
#13 Dany Lauzon
#14 Jimmy Smith
#15 Phil Baroni
#16 Julie Kedzie
#18 Bec Hyatt