Wednesday, 27 August 2008 18:31
Jamie Varner retained his WEC 155 pound title the other day by knocking out challenger Marcus Hicks at 2:08 of the first round. I spoke to Jamie about that fight and about some MMA current events. I also would like to thank Jason from LG Sports Marketing
for setting this up.
TheGARV: Hey, Jamie. Congratulations on your victory the other night. Were you expecting a 2 minute fight against Hicks?
Varner: No, man. To be honest I really wasn't. I figured maybe a knockout at the end of the first round, maybe more so into the second. I thought I'd have to wear him out a little, make him a little bit tired and then go in for the kill. But I was lucky enough to land one of those knees and that second kick I threw to his body is what really hurt him. That kick opened him up and then landing those knees was the beginning of the end for him.
Your stand up game is looking really sharp. You have a wrestling base, but now your striking is really integrated with the wrestling.
The game has evolved so much. Before, wrestlers could get away with just wrestling and being in good shape. But now the way the game's evolved you have to be good at everything. I actually started boxing in 4th grade, long before I ever started wrestling. Then I quit boxing for a long time. Picked it back up when I was 17 years old and I use boxing as cross training for wrestling. My trainers over there at Combat Sports, Trevor Lally and Todd Lally, they're awesome stand up coaches. They're great stand up coaches and they've been working with me on getting my boxing and kickboxing perfected.
Guys like Chuck Liddell use their wrestling skills to keep the fight standing. Is that what you're tying to do?
You know, just with this fight, yeah. I was looking to use my wrestling just to keep the fight on my feet, because I have such an advantage on my feet with the reach. And I felt like I was a little bit faster, a little bit more explosive with my punches. I even felt that my boxing was more technical than his. So I thought I had the advantage on the feet and that's definitely where I wanted to keep the fight. Unless I started eating too much punishment, then I could always take him down. But I wanted to test the waters on my feet, that's how I used my wrestling. He was a tough son of a bitch, though, he took me down. But I was able to use my wrestling to get back to my feet.
Your nickname is The Worm. But you also have another nickname, Showtime. What's up with that?
Ok, The Worm was not by my choice. That was actually my trainers, Trevor and Todd Lally. They actually went behind my back and gave me the nickname The Worm before my very first UFC fight and I never wanted that nickname, I never agreed to that. They gave it to me because in wrestling and in grappling, I scramble really well so I'm hard to submit. And they were like: Oh he worms out of everything, he's the worm, he The Worm! I'm like, No. I'm not gonna be The Worm. And so when I got my contract and all the fighter information that they filled out for me, they filled out my nickname as The Worm. And that's how I got it. I told the WEC when I signed with them that it was not my nickname and they were not to put it on their website. And so far they haven't done it.
So you're now Showtime?
Um, yeah. I don't really go by it. I just thought it was a cool nickname. I wanted to put my stamp on it before someone else took it. But I just like going by Jamie Varner.
Saturday night got some big fights coming up. Give us your thoughts on GSP vs Fitch.
I think GSP is an amazing athlete and I don't see him losing anytime soon.
You don't Fitch's wrestling is going to help him against GSP?
No, I don't think so.
Heath Herring vs Brock Lesnar?
From what I've heard, Heath doesn't like to train that hard. And he's not the smartest fighter when he's in there, so I'd have to give the edge to Brock Lesnar. [Lesnar is] a physical specimen and a great wrestler. I don't think Heath Herring has ever fought a wrestler as good as Brock Lesnar.
What about Brock's tattoo? The one on his chest?
Holy cow. That's insane. That had to hurt.
(Laughs) I think it still hurts. Also fighting at UFC 87 is Huerta vs Florian.
I think Huerta's gonna be exposed. I really feel that Kenny Florian is gonna do what Clay Guida was supposed to do, what Clay Guida was doing. I think Huerta's gonna get exposed and I think Kenny Florian will prevail. I think early on in the fight he's either gonna submit him or cut him.
Your fight against Razor Rob. There was some controversy over the break in the action after your mouthpiece was knocked out. I thought you were in control of the fight, but some people feel you got an unfair advantage. Would you be willing to rematch Razor Rob?
Oh I would love a rematch. I've had a few questions about that, a lot of people ask me questions about [the mouthpiece incident]. I even talked to Steve Mazzagatt about it. There was a break in the action and that was the perfect time for me to get my mouthpiece. I was wearing a clear mouthpiece and he had no idea it was knocked out. I pointed to it on the ground and he saw it. There was a break in the action. [Mazzagatti] said it was a good call and there was no problems with it. I wasn't hurt. I just didn't want to get hit in the mouth without my mouthpiece. It's so much easier to get knocked out when you don't have that damn mouthpiece in. But yeah, I would love to put that rumor to rest. I thought I was winning the fight, and mouthpiece in, mouthpiece out, he still wound up getting knocked out and he was losing the fight.
What's next for Jamie Varner?
I hoping the winner out of Razor Rob and Don Cerrone, the Cowboy. I think those are the next two best matchups. Or even possibly Richard Crunkilton. Any of those fights would be great. They're all right handed fighters, so when I go back to the gym on Monday I'm gonna start training for a right handed kickboxer and get ready and start getting geared up for the next one.
Yeah, MTX Audio. Without them I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing. Also LG Sports Marketing, they're my management team.
Yeah, I know Jason over there, and he's a great guy.
By the way, what do you think about the Rampage incident?
Oh my gosh. I'm shocked by what happened there. I don't even know what to say about that. That's crazy.
He just kind of snapped.
I heard he's got some sort of bi-polar disorder or something. He definitely fell off the deep end. Hopefully he'll get his bearings straight and come back with some more good fight.
Did you see Fedor vs Sylvia?
Yeah, I watched that.
What did you think?
I think Fedor is an amazing fighter. He's the toughest guy in the world.
But at 155 I'd say Jamie Varner would give him a run for his money.
Tell Fedor if he wants to meet me at 170, 175, we can do that.
(Laughs) I will be sure to mention that. Thanks for the interview, Jamie.