1) Before we get to you for those who don’t know your brother Hercules made the US world cup soccer team. Tell us how your family reacted to that and what was the whole experience like watching him play in such a huge worldwide event?
It was an amazing experience seeing Herc go out there and accomplish one of the dreams he had since he was a little kid growing up. I know the world cup is the biggest sporting event (not counting the Olympics) but I didn’t know how much of an impact it had on peoples lives. This really hit home when I would watch the games and see fans from other teams crying when their country lost. It was surreal.
2) At around the same time your brother made the US team you signed a contract to fight for Bellator. How did that come about and how does it work to now have technically 2 contracts with different organizations, Tachi Fighting being the other?
I had a title fight schedule with Tachi Palace on the 5th of May, my management team got a hold of Bellator and talked to them about me fighting in their tournament after the May 5th fight.The plan was to win the title first and than enter Bellator as the Tachi Palace Champion. Of course that wouldn’t fly if I lost the fight, so there was a lot riding on my last fight not just the belt. I still have 2 fights left on my contract with Tachi so I could be pretty busy within the next few months.
3) You’re opponent has been named for the Bellator 135lb division tournament, what do you know about him?
I don’t know too much about him so if anyone wants to hook a brother up with some info that would be great!
4) How will training, dieting and just the whole approach be different in a new weight class and organization?
Training is always the same, “if it aint broke don’t fix it and if its already fixed don’t break it.” I think that going up in weight will be a benefit to me because we have to fight every month for 3 months straight. I had to struggle sometimes to fight at 125s but at 135s it should be a lot easier for me to make the weight and feel strong going into the fight.
5) Your last fight was in your opponents backyard and some of the hometown fans believe it to be a controversial decision. How do you view the fight and the decision?
It was a tough fight and after watching the fight a few times I had me winning 4 rounds to 1 but I could see where a judge might have given him an extra round that was back and forth. So at best 4-1 for me and at worst 3-2 for me. The fans didn’t like the decision too well because Luis is from this area so i think that’s why they booed. It was a great fight though and even though i hurt Luis a few times he still kept coming and was still in the fight. I know down the road me and Luis are gonna meet again so next time I’m gonna have to erase any doubt on who wins.
6) The fight you had with Rumino Sato was one of the most watched grappling matches in history. What do you take from that fight and the whole experience?
It was a great experience grappling one of your idols and getting the honor of doing it at the very first UFC Fan Expo. That match just showed me that there’s still areas of my game that I have to work on.
7) Your a big boxing fan too, who are your favorite boxers and what do you think of the whole Pacman and Mayweather fiasco? If they do fight how do you think it would go down?
Favorite boxers, well blast from the past are Duran, Hagler, Ali, Salvador Sanchez, Sugar Ray. More recent boxers would be Berrera, Morales, Cotto, Gatti (RIP), and Tyson.
As far as mayweather and pacquio I like how pacquio fights so part of me wants him to win. But I also like perfection so I want Floyd to stay undefeated so I dunno.
(Note: After the time of this interview Mayweather failed to meet the deadline to sign the contract for this fight without explanation.)
8) Having the Team Takedown guys at CobraKai: Jake Rosholt, Hendricks, and Roller as well as having top jiu jitsu guys like Sim Go and Chris Holdsworth, what is the atmosphere like and do you get to learn from these guys?
Atmosphere is great! You know that no matter what you’re gonna get some great training in that session. Tons of great guys to work with and you coudlnt ask for a better room.
9) If you were a promoter and there were no limitations to making your dream fight card, what are some of the fights you would put together?
Fedor vs Brock, GSP vs Shields, Kid Yamamato vs Urijah, BJ vs Aoki, Rickson vs Sakuraba (should’ve happened 10 years ago), Tyson vs Sapp in MMA.
10) Any advice for the youngsters trying to get started in MMA? Any plugs and thank you’s?
Train with the best guys as much as you can for as long as you can, thats the only way youre gonna get better. And big thanks to my trainers and team mates at Cobra Kai and Striking Unlimited!