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TRAINING: Technique in the morning and hard sparring, grappling at night.
Thoughts on opponent, Andrei Arlovski? Andrei is a very athletic and well-rounded fighter. He has some of the best footwork in the heavyweight division. He also possesses great boxing combinations and power. To top it all off, he is also a master in sambo, so his submissions - especially footlocks - are incredible.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I was born into martial arts. My father had his own schools. He was training before I was born. Whenever he went to the studio I was there in a rocker. When I got older, I was the little kid who ran around the school annoying everybody. I didn’t really start training in martial arts until I was about 12 or 13 when I could start to comprehend what was going on. Before that I was just punching in the air. At about 14 we started full contact sparring. As the son of the owner of the school, you feel a responsibility not to get beat up by everyone even though I was fighting adults most of the time. My father combined a lot of boxing principles with the kenpo. It wasn’t like most commercial schools. There was a lot of concentration on full contact sparring and conditioning. If you made it through a year, you were tough. I still have a crooked jaw from training at that school!
What ranks and titles have you held? Former UFC Heavyweight Champion, former interim UFC Heavyweight Champion, black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ricardo Pires. Coach on season eight of The Ultimate Fighter. Black belt in Kenpo.
Do you have any heroes? Bruce Lee.
What is your favorite technique? Submissions.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? I am very goal oriented. I want to be the UFC World Heavyweight champion. To me that title means you are the most complete, most well rounded martial artist in the world.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? No. I concentrated on my martial arts training instead.
What was your job before you started fighting? I worked at the front desk for Station Casinos in Las Vegas.