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Dino and I were down at the ROC show in AC and Gabriel Gonzaga was there cornering Alexandre Moreno. Dino caught up with Gonzaga and scored this exclusive interview. gonzaga gonzaga-punch
I checked out Jimmy Miller's training camp today as he gets set to fight Gray Maynard at UFC 96 on March 7th. Jim, along with his brother Dan and other top fighters, train at AMA Fight Club under the watchful eye of Mike Constantino. Mike put Jimmy through the ringer today and Miller loved every minute of it. In the following video, I talk to Jim about his training and his upcoming fight with Maynard. I also get a promise from Mike to pay up on The Bet. That's his little wager with NJ official Nick Lembo, which Nick won when Jim won Fight of the Night at UFC Fight for the Troops last year. Nick won the right to publicly cut Mike's hair, but as of yet Mike's pristine locks are still in place. That's all gonna change soon enough. Ricco Rodriguez was also on hand for his seminar. And Miller's BJJ coach Jamie Cruz, the inimitable Mr. Big 1, was on hand for the festivities. Here's the vid: dsc00078 dsc00077 dsc00076
jon-jones-action-tested Jon Jones didn't live up to the hype, he far exceeded it. A lot of people thought Stephan Bonnar would be too much for the rising star, but Jones dominated the fight. I spoke to him about his big win at UFC 94. Hey, what's up Jon. Awesome performance against Stephan Bonnar. People are going nuts over you right now. Jones: Oh man. Looks like you're ready for the big leagues. Jones: I feel like it man. I feel ready. Trained real hard for that fight and yeah I'm definitely expecting for them to kick it up a notch again with whoever I fight next. Did you see the video clip of Dana White consoling Bonnar after the fight? Seems like he was really feeling sorry for the guy. Jones: Oh yeah, I saw that. He said "I love you like a son and don't hold your head down, that Jon kid is just a freak." Yeah, well if he loved him like a son, he wouldn't throw him in with a beast like you. Jones: (Laughs) That's funny. How were your nerves going into the fight? Jones: My nerves were 100 percent fine. For some reason, man, I had an unusual level of confidence and comfort. I was so comfortable, at one point it felt like maybe I was dreaming. My confidence was through the roof. I just had a feeling, I just knew I was gonna win it. I had dreams about it so many times that I won the fight. And a lot of friends of mine had dreams that I won the fight. Just my whole time being there, I kinda felt like I had already won the fight and I felt right at home. There were no UFC jitters whatsoever. I felt it was another day at the office. Which was great for me personally. I just showed myself how ready I am. And then the fight started and you came out with guns blazing. Jones: Oh yeah. When I stood in front in front of him and Steve Mazzagotti said "Let's get it on," right away I wanted to let him know that I wasn't going to let him just have his pace in the fight. In training I've been thinking about moves I wanted to hit right away. And when I got out there and I saw that leg bouncing up in the air, I said alright, now it's time for me to pull the trigger. And that's basically all it was, just me not waiting around for him to fight his fight, but pulling the trigger and fighting my fight. Then every time he clinched, he went for a ride. Jones: Oh yeah. But that didn't stop him from clinching. Were you surprised that even after you tossed him a few times, he still tried to clinch up with you? Jones: I think that's going to be a problem for a lot of fighters. It comes really natural for people to clinch up, especially when strikes are being thrown, and big hits are landed. Once you do something so much, it's going to be hard for fighters to break out of that bad habit of clinching right away. The clinch is huge in mixed martial arts. And right now I have a major advantage over tons of fighters because I've been clinching my whole life. And there's definite rules and definite no-nos when you're clinching with someone when it comes to Greco. And [opponents] so far have done everything wrong from the clinch, besides striking. So when they clinch up, you go into Greco-Roman mode and toss them. Jones: Exactly. And it's not even that I go into Greco mode. Because it's not even thought about or set up. It's just like, I know at least 20 different ways of throwing people. And half of them were on display last Saturday night. Jones: (Laughs) Yeah, Bonnar was doing all the Greco-Roman no-nos. The first 2 rounds were all you. Then in the third, the momentum seemed to shift a bit. At one point he was working for a triangle. What were you thinking at that moment? Jones: Right away, I realized I was in a triangle. It was a beautiful set up, I didn't see it coming at all. And I thought to myself, Dear God, please do not let this fight end like this. And right away, the instinct and the practicing and knowing the proper thing to do, I postured up, kept my head up which made it almost impossible for him to finish the triangle. So I reacted well and did what I was supposed to do. Then there were some exchanges on the feet and he landed some upper cuts, a couple of them kind of snapped your head up. What went through your mind when he connected like that? Jones: I was definitely starting to feel fatigued in the third round and that's a big part of it. That's something that I realize is a weakness right now--or it hasn't been a weakness, it is actually my first time getting fatigued. But it's something that my opponents are gonna find as a weakness and I'm sure they'll try to push me harder. And I'm not going to allow that to happen, where I allow my cardio to be an issue. It is a learning experience. But yeah, I knew that I was winning the fight going into the third round and in my head I kept praying to myself, God please don't let any of his punches land just correctly or torque me just right, where he would wind up winning the fight by knockout. Yeah, he started coming on strong late. Jones: I realized that he was starting to come back a little bit and those uppercuts definitely were landing, but nothing really stung me at all. I just clinched down and kept my chin down and I was ready to take a couple of blows to the face. The fatigue kind of took away some of your defense. Jones: Yeah. It wasn't really about my defense going away. I mean, the fatigue was slowing down my footwork. I was trying to stay light on my feet. And my whole goal for this fight was to hit and not be hit. Once that fatigue kicked in, that whole hit and not be hit theory wasn't working, because my legs weren't moving. So I actually had to sit there and go blow for blow. Which is something I was trying to avoid because I know Stephan's boxing combinations are way more crisper than mine. He's a two time Chicago Golden Gloves champion and I knew that if I would have sat there and exchanged with him all night I would not have won the fight. So it was all about hitting and not being hit and in the third round fatigue stopped that. In the stand up do you think your reach was a big factor? Jones: Oh yeah, definitely. My reach is a huge factor. And I'm starting to realize how long my legs are and how quick I am. Not only having long limbs but having quick long limbs. A lot of times Stephan would kick at me and I would just hop back and he'd completely miss. Because I really learned my distance. I sparred with a lot of six four guys and just had the whole body type mastered. And really had things mapped out.  How are you going to address the fatigue issue, so that it doesn't happen again? Jones: [My trainers] are going to kick it up a notch, not baby me in the fitness room, but push me to my absolute limit every day. That might be tough, because the sky's the limit. Jon, thanks for taking time to talk with me. Jones: Anytime, Garv.
I spoke with legendary fighter Ken Shamrock today. Ken is fighting on February 13 at the WarGods event, which is fittingly called the Valentine's Day Massacre. I spoke to Ken about the show, his fight and a whole lot more. Hey, Ken. This is quite a thrill for me. I've been following your career since UFC 1. I know you have a fight coming up next month. Who are you fighting? Ken Shamrock: I'm fighting Bo Cantrell. The original plan was to fight John Marsh but he couldn't get ready in time. So Bo Cantrell was another opponent that we also thought would be a good fight and he stepped up to the plate. So we're going to step up and fight Bo Cantrell on February 13th in Fresno, California. And it's going to be the Valentine's Day massacre, Friday the 13th. Sounds like a horror movie title Ken Shamrock: (Laughs) Yep. And you are co-promoting this show with WarGods, correct? Ken Shamrock: Right now, WarGods is the one promoting this fight, but KSP [Ken Shamrock Productions] is going to assist, because I'm fighting on the card. So we're looking down the road at doing a lot more co-promotions with them. I understand you've opened a new Fighter House in Reno. Ken Shamrock: Yeah, we have 4 guys there now and we have spots for six more. We're looking to fill the spots with some guys who are looking to do something in MMA. We've got some great opportunities for anyone that wants to come down and just train and focus their life on MMA. I remember the old Lion's Den, you put those guys through hell. You plan on doing that to these guys? Ken Shamrock: (Laughs) That's the thing. To get in you really got to be into MMA. These are the guys that really want to do it, not wasting your time with guys who think they want to do it. I talk to Frank Shamrock on a regular basis. Every time I speak with him, he talks about fighting you. Is that going to happen? Ken Shamrock: Well, as far as I'm concerned, yes. I've always said let's do it. For some reason it never happened. I'm all for it, man. I say put it together and let's do it. And I've always said that. So I'm in the same position I was in ever since this thing's been brought up the past four years. Put it together and let's do it. So it sounds like it could happen in 2009. Ken Shamrock: Yep. We're supposed to be moving forward on it, but the last I heard was my brother Frank saying that it's getting to difficult to put this thing together. So I have no idea what that means. I know for me, I don't see what's difficult about it. You put it together and you do it. Next time I talk to Frank, I'll ask him about that. Ken Shamrock: I'm sure that he'll find a reason that has nothing to do with him but it's all to do with me. And the bottom line is it doesn't really matter what's happening, a fight's a fight, put it together and fight. Well, since Frank and you both want it and the fans want it, no reason for it not to get done. Ken Shamrock: Absolutely right. You were supposed to fight Kimbo, but got cut and couldn't fight. Do you still want to fight him? Ken Shamrock: Oh yeah. You know, when someone turns their back on you and disrespects you and then you don't get a chance to put your fist in his face, it kind of lingers on with you. I felt he was disrespectful and I didn't get a chance to shut his mouth. So that's my position on it. I want to fight him and I want to smash his face. And this month we have Fedor fighting Arlovski. Do you think Fedor is the best heavyweight right now? Ken Shamrock: Absolutely. The only thing is they don't sell tickets. For some reason promotions have failed to get them guys in the spot light, and failed to get them guys recognized and known throughout the world. The promotions are not doing their jobs of getting these guys over. Unlike the UFC? Ken Shamrock: Absolutely. Let's face it. Everyone who has fought for the UFC has been able to get over and get popular. I did it pretty much all on my own, with the UFC as a catalyst or as a shuttle to the media. But there's one thing I knew; I knew how to market myself. I knew how to get myself out in front of the media and I knew how to position myself to make exciting fights. That's something that fighters need to learn. They need to learn that it's not just about the fight, it's also about entertainment. It's about the fans and about the fans wanting to watch you fight. You have to find out what people like about you. You gotta find it and bring it out. Because it is about entertainment when it comes to making money. When it comes to being a great fighter, that's between just you and it's a good feeling for you. But if you want to make a living at this business you've got to be able to go out and get the fans to want to watch you fight. I actually bought UFC 1 on PPV and I wasn't expecting much, but when Tuli's tooth went flying out of the Octagon, I knew this was for real. Ken Shamrock: Along with millions of other people (laughs). Exactly. Now, to me it seems that it was important in the history of MMA that Royce won that fight. What do you think would have happened if you beat him that night? Ken Shamrock: Well, I think it wasn't Royce Gracie winning [UFC 1], I think what really set the standard was exactly what you just said, was when Teila Tuli's teeth came flying out into the front row. I think if you would have had a fight--very first fight--and it was Royce Gracie and Art Jimmerson, and they would have seen that first, people would have crapped all over the place. They would have just turned the tv off. Because that's not what people were looking for. They were looking for exactly what happened, with the teeth flying. What happened first sent the tone for MMA, what it is today. Whether or not Royce Gracie won was irrelevant, I believe. I think that because the first fight was so brutal and so real, that's what set the stage for MMA. That's an interesting viewpoint. When I saw the tooth fly, I was like, this is different. Ken Shamrock: Because if it's Royce Gracie choking out Art Jimmerson, that's pro wrestling. People are going to look at it and go that wasn't real. Now, when [Gordeu] went out and kicked [Tuli] in the face, I'm sorry, but there's no way you can act that. So therefore, from that point on, when Royce Gracie went out there and choked out Art Jimmerson, it made it more believable. And when I did the ankle lock on Patrick Smith, it made it more believable to people that that really happened. Because of what happened first, they were thinking this shit is real. (Laughs) Oh man, those were the days. I remember you standing over Pat Smith after the sub and it looked like Pat kind of kicked your leg while he was still down. I thought you were going to go after him again. Ken Shamrock: That was pretty intense. (there was more here, but his signal broke up). You've fought since the beginning. Back in the day, there were no rules. Do you prefer no rules or do you like the rules in place now? Ken Shamrock: You know, I'm torn between both.  I don't like the rules because I like when two guys go in there that you settle it. No matter how it goes, whether you wait two hours to finish the fight, but either way a guy settles it. But that's just the purist, the fighter in the heart, not going to the judges and all that. But the other sense is me wanting to do it for a living, to make money at it. And that's why I'm torn. Because I know going the straight no holds, no time limit, you can be there forever and it just doesn't sell on TV. The other way sells on TV and that means I can still do what I love to do and make money at it. That's why kind of why I'm torn between the both. I'm a purist.  I want to make a living doing what I love doing. Are there still any old time UFC guys you want to fight? I know there was some bad blood between you and Tank, for example. Ken Shamrock: That's funny that you bring that up because Ken Shamrock and WarGods plan on doing that. I'm fighting this next Friday the thirteenth and I'm going to be fighting Bo Cantrell. And then in March in Reno, I'm going to be fighting Tank Abbott. Wow, that's been a grudge match I've been wanting to see for years. Awesome. Ken Shamrock: There's a lot of fans that have followed this for years, die hard fans, that want to see this and reminisce a little bit. For me personally, there was nothing like the excitement of those early UFCs. Ken Shamrock: Because you had strikers and you had grapplers and there were no guys that really cross trained because no one knew how to yet. So it was definitely disciplines going against each other and it was exciting to see that. Ken, this was great, much appreciated. Good luck against Bo Cantrell! Ken Shamrock: Thanks, brother.
Here's another hot scoop for you all: Sources inside Jim Miller's camp have just confirmed to me that Jim will be facing Gray Maynard at UFC 96. Miller has been perfect so far in his UFC career, going 2-0 and winning Submission of the Night for his victory over David Baron in his debut, and then picking up Fight of the Night honors for his 3 round domination of Matt Wiman. Gray Maynard is undefeated and is a very strong wrestler. But I think Jim's stand up and submission game will nullify Maynard's wrestling and I see Miller shining once again in the UFC. Will he win three straight bonus awards? Tune into UFC 96 to find out. jim_miller_v_mushin_corbbrey graymaynard_wearingburnout
Legendary MMA referee Big John McCarthy made his returning to reffing at last week's Strikeforce event.  I spoke to BJM today. Hey Big John. How are you feeling after your comeback at Strikeforce? BJM: (Laughs) I'm feeling just fine. Did you enjoy reffing again? BJM: It's was nice being back doing what I enjoy doing. Any chance of a UFC return? BJM: You know what, I have no say in any of that. That's up to the athletic commissions and where the UFC is at. But they could pick you if they wanted? The athletic commission? Yeah. Going back to the early UFCs, you were almost going to fight in UFC 1, correct? BJM: No.When UFC 1 was coming out, they had paperwork. You could fill out an application. I filled out the application, and they had already picked most of the people and I was just putting it in there for hopefully  UFC 2 or something like that. Then Rorian basically said, no you can't do that, not while Royce is in it.  Maybe later on when Royce is out of it, then you can do it. It would have been UFC 2, not UFC 1. I see. And then you got involved with the reffing instead of the fighting. BJM: That's exactly it. More with Big John McCarthy after the jump. Ok, the Brock vs. Randy fight. What did you think about that? BJM: I thought it was a good fight. I thought Randy was doing exactly what he should've done. He was getting inside on Brock and using the clinch to make him work. I thought Brock improved in some areas; the elbow he threw inside was well done. That came through training. I thought he did a good job, he actually stunned Randy with it. I think he realized you can't outmuscle everybody. He had some problems moving Randy around and you know that's just part of the learning cycle. I thought it was a very good fight for him overall. Obviously because he won, but he learned a lot of things from it. When he got cut you could tell it bothered him to a point but he collected himself and continued doing what he was supposed to do.  And the shot he hit Randy with? The ones that you don't see are the ones that hurt you. He hit him right behind the ear. It was a good shot. He's got that long reach but that's the fight game. That shot looked a little like Matt Serra's shot on GSP. BJM: Exactly.  Fedor talked a little about fighting Brock. Do you see Fedor as number one pound for pound? BJM: You know that pound for pound thing, it's so judgemental. God dang, it's such a hard thing. If you're going to say who is the fighter right now who can beat anyone? It's Fedor. You know, I look at it like this: Anderson Silva is an incredible fighter; his skills are remarkable and I love watching him.  Anderson walks around at a heavyweight weight.  He's a 220 pound guy that comes down. So if he fought at what he walks around at--that would be heavyweight--and I think if you put him and Fedor in the same ring, I think Anderson would be the underdog in that fight. I think Fedor would be the favorite.  That doesn't mean that Anderson couldn't win it. I just think that Fedor would be the favorite in the fight. But if you look at total skills sets and everything, when they come up with pound for pound, I look at who, if you put them as a heavyweight, who would be the person who has the most skills and the best skills of any fighter and the ability to win the fight.  And although Anderson is very good and I think he's up there, in my opinion BJ Penn has the most skills of any fighter. And if you took his body and made him a heavyweight, I think he is the best pound for pound fighter there is. Well, he's always up there with Silva, Fedor and GSP. I guess you could interchange them all. BJM: Absolutely. I've said it different in ways. You've got the Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn fight coming up. And that's a great fight. I think Georges St-Pierre is the favorite in the fight, even though I say that I think that BJ Penn is the best pound for pound fighter there is. And that's because weight does make a difference, especially when you're talking about the top guys.  GSP is one of those guys that's also in that top pound for pound list and so I think BJ is the underdog in that fight, even though I still say that overall he has the most skill of any fighter. Interesting. One last question. You've reffed in rings and in cages. Which do you prefer as a referee and which do you prefer as a fight fan? BJM: As a referee there's no doubt that I would rather do the cage. Oh yeah? Why's that? BJM: Because it's safer for the fighters. There's no doubt, no matter what anyone wants to say, the cage helps as far as keeping the fight where it's at.  It helps by having less interference by the referee because when you have a ring you have guys get into the ropes and when the referee stops the action, trust me, fighters try to take advantage of those things.  I don't blame the fighters for doing it; the referee's gotta try and catch it.  And so just the interference that occurs because of the ring makes it to where I think the cage is better for mixed martial arts. If you're a fan watching it?  The actual viewing portion, the ring is better because the cage and the fencing with the posts and everything, it's going to put something in your line of sight that's not there with the ring. And so I think that the ring is probably actually an easier viewing platform for the fights, but the cage is an absolutely better fighting platform and safer for the fighters. Ok, great. This should throw some fuel on the fire of the great ring vs. cage debate. BJM: (Laughs) Well, it's just my opinion. Well, you should know!  Thanks, Big John.
I ran into Pete Sell on Friday night at the Ring of Combat show (more on ROC 22 later) and spoke to him about his big UFC win and his future. Garv: Hey Pete. Great fight against Josh Burkman at UFC 90. Tell us about the fight. Sell: Ah, man. I'm still excited about it. I needed a win, man, to get back on track. I mean, talk about having a monkey on your back man. Two years on a losing streak man. It's really tough. A lot of things mentally you have to get over and just keep pressing and persevering to get through that. I trained so hard for this. I didn't cut no corners. Ever since I came back from injuries, from March, I trained three times a day, like every day. I was like an animal for the fight. I felt so good and it paid off. Garv: You looked pretty pumped at the weigh ins. You also struck a pose for a pic that became very popular on the Net. What was that pose? Sell: (Laughs) That's something from back in the day. We used to bug out, we're like, TO THE TOP! You know what I mean. Used to bug out with my boys, my boy Roy, God bless his soul, he was in a bad car accident, you know. He's like a little messed up now. But his older brother used to always bug out, TO THE TOP! You know what I mean, it's an old school thing. Pete Sell: To the Top! Garv: You looked super confident at the weigh ins, you must have felt real good going into the fight even though there was so much pressure. Sell: Man, I felt really good man. I was real confident, man. I did the right thing in my training. I'm like, I'm ready for what this guy got. I've been there, done that. Basically, I've been in wars before in the fight game and there's nothing somebody's gonna throw at me that I haven't seen before. I don't care how tough they are or what tricks they have up their sleeve. It's like alright: I've been knocked out before, I've been there, done that. Be ground and pounded, some guys throwing submissions at me, I've been there, done that. So what? What are you gonna do? Garv: So it all went the way you expected? Sell: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, I knew he had that right hand. He caught me early with that. I mean, good for him. He set it up good and he caught me with a good shot. I smiled at the guy, let's do this man, let's put on show. I'm in your face, I'm gonna keep coming either way. Garv: This was a must win for both of you guys and you got the win. What's next for you? Sell: The UFC hasn't called me yet, so I'm gonna call them soon, after Thanksgiving, man. I've still been training hard. I took a week off, man, been training hard since. Still three times a day, still killing it. Doing my thing, staying in shape. I'm in good shape now. I just need a little bit of notice. Of course I can't take a fight on short notice. I gotta drop the weight the right way. So I'm gonna look for something at the end of January, early February. Get another fight and see what I can do as 170. Garv: What did you think about the Brock Lesnar/Randy Couture fight? Sell: You know, Couture's a legend, man. I really wanted Couture to take that. I mean [Lesnar's] such a beast, man. In comparison the guy had so much weight on Couture it was like a 205 pound guy fighting a 155 pound guy. Imagine that going on. I mean, who's gonna win that fight? At that level, It's the way it is. Garv: Last question. Do you have anything to say to the UFC's 170 pound division? Sell: Man, I really got nothing to say to them, man. I'm happy I'm on a winning streak, I'm happy to be here. I'm gonna have fun fighting exciting fights for the fans. And that's it, man. I'm just being humble with it and doing my thing. Garv: Awesome, Pete. You da man! Sell: Thanks Garv.
This Friday Renato "Babalu" Sobral will be fighting for the Strikeforce light heavyweight title against reigning champion Bobby Southworth. Babalu is training hard and he's confident. Earlier this week he said:
“On Friday, the world will learn what Bobby already knows – that this was the biggest mistake of his career.”
Can't really argue with that. I think Bobby is in for a long, tough night and I see Sobral wearing the crown after it's all over. I'm certain that Babalu is training hard for this fight. The proof is in the brand new gym he just opened in Cerritos, California. It's already loaded with students and training partners. Many of the students are young kids. And although it may seem incongruous with his image, Babalu makes sure to teach them all personally about his beloved Brazilian ju jitsu.
“It is important to me that they receive the best instruction possible so that they learn the fundamentals of this art. I want to share with them something that has been a guiding force in my life.”
That's a very lovely sentiment. And just imagine how cool it would be to have your kid learn BJJ from the one and only Babalu Sobral. Or should I say, newly crowned Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, Babalu Sobral? We'll see in a couple of days. In the meantime, here are some exclusive pics of his new training center. [gallery]


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