TheGARV Exclusives

 

Moments after retaining her title against Liz Carmouche in what was a very memorable fight, Kalin Johnston caught up with the champ to get her thoughts on the fight.

Tim Kennedy is taking on ferocious striker Melvin Manhoef tomorrow in Ohio at the Strikeforce event ( which Kalin Johnston will be covering for us).  Tim was originally rumored to be fighting Mayhem Miller in a much anticipated rubber match, but that fight never materialized.  However, Manhoef is always exciting and the clash of styles should make this an epic brawl.   Tim, a Special Forces active duty soldier, is looking to get back on the road to a title shot and wants to win a championship before heading back into combat in the Middle East.  Here is my exclusive interview with him:

Garv:  You were rumored to be fighting Mayhem Miller in a rubber match, but that fight never materialized.  Why not?

Tim: I think Strikeforce and Showtime network have a bigger picture about who they want to promote and win and that fight didn’t fit in to that bigger picture.  I’m not privy to information they had, I just know that they wanted to see a different match up.  So I Jason’s side I know he was ready to go, I know on my side I was ready to go, but there’s a network that has to air it and there’s a promotion that has to put it on.  So all the pieces weren’t there, even though Jason and I were ready and reared to go punch each other in the face.  I think Jason and I…that would always be a fun fight.  I think it would be a fight that a lot of people want to see and I think we put on one heck of a show.

Garv: Do you think Melvin Manhoef is an easier fight?

Tim: It’s a much easier fight.  Melvin is super dangerous.  I’m not looking past him.  I know that he knocks out everybody he fights, but in the full MMA package he doesn’t have all the tools to really be successful.   Some people have laid out some ground work—ground work, no pun intended—on how to beat him, as  long as you stick to that blueprint.  I’m gonna mix it up a little bit.  I’m gonna deviate from it from time to time in the fight.  But I know that he’s gonna be scared to go to the ground with me, which will make striking with  him easier.  And I’ll always have the ground to go to when I want to make him worry about really losing the fight fast.  I’m a fan of Melvin, I like watching his fights.  This fight’s going to be all over the place including the feet, but definitely on the ground as well.

Sometimes, nick names just seem to fit. Unfortunately for Andy Main, his was already taken. But should the “Baby Faced Assassin” Josh Barnett retire soon, we can hope that he bestows the supremely fitting moniker to Andy Main. To see Main in the gym you would think that he is there waiting for his older brother. A young, fresh, almost cherubic face goes against all that the average person imagines when speaking about an MMA fighter. But, all that changes when Main begins his training, a focused intensity and concentrated scowl  take the place of the boyish face, and Main is in his element.

Having tasted the promised land of all fighters, the UFC, by appearing in the last season of The Ultimate Fighter, Main is determined to get back into the fold of the biggest MMA promotion. And, although a young man, and fighter, Main is on the path to rediscovery. He has altered his training by aligning himself with the best coaches on the east coast, and setting his focus to that ultimate goal of fighting in the UFC. And has become wizened to what he needs to find within himself to get to these goals

TheGARV.com had a chance to speak to Andy Main and learned of his new appreciation for the sport of MMA, the dedication it takes, and the self discovery process he hopes to go through in this journey through the world of fighting, as well as the appreciation he has with his fans.

Side note: Unfortunately, Andy’s video interview was cut short due to technical issues, but a back up audio recorder allowed us to get the interview in its entirety in audio format and transcribe it here. My apologies to Andy

Carlos Filian - How was the experience in the Ultimate Fighter house?

Andy Main – It was an interesting experience. Something you can’t really prepare for. Having guys like Brian McLaughlin and Dante Rivera, they tell you what it’s like but you can’t really get a feel for it until you’re in there. It’s just unbelievable, the situation with being in the house, locked down, with no contact with anyone in the outside world, that alone is something that, unless you were in the army or something like that you’re not gonna know what its like until your there. It does drive you a little crazy, that’s why you see some guys lose it in the house. And the training is unbelievable you know, working with guys like Koscheck and his camp, it really just opens a lot of doors, opens your eyes to a lot of things. It almost fast tracks you in a lot of different ways, not only in the UFC, but in connections. I pretty much can go anywhere and  if I say “hey I’m Andy Main from TUF”, almost anyone is going to open their doors for me, let me train, do a seminar. Overall it was an awesome experience and definitely worth doing.

Brendan Schaub takes of legendary fighter Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 128 on March 19th in New Jersey.  Schaub is a former football player who has transitioned well into MMA and is a rising star in the division.  He's on a 3 fight win streak and is coming off a decisive victory over Gabriel Gonzaga.   I had the pleasure of interviewing Brendan yesterday and present now for your reading pleasure.

Garv:  Recently you’ve made some comments about previous Cro Cop opponents showing him too much respect.

Schaub: I don’t know what it is, man.  Mirko’s a huge star and guys show him a lot of respect, which I get, the guy’s one of the best strikers in the world.  But at the same time, you gotta go in there and fight.  The difference between me and the rest of these guys is that I show my respect by going in there and making a fight.  It seems lately these guys fighting Mirko, I don’t know, it’s more of a buddy-buddy thing and turns into these sparring matches where they’re not trying to hurt each other.  You know, that’s just not my style.   I think that’s why Dana White and Joe Silva gave me this match up.  They know I get after guys, like I showed in my last couple fights, especially the Gonzaga fight.

Garv:   Pat Barry actually hugged Cro Cop at one point in their fight.

Schaub:  I know Pat.  Pat’s a character, man.  I think he could have definitely finished Cro Cop in that fight.   He did end up breaking his hand and foot, so things didn’t go his way.  He gave Mirko a hell of a run but as far as hugging and stuff like that, not during those 15 minutes.   [When I fight Mirko] there’s won’t be any hugging, I can guarantee you that.  Before and after the fight, I’m definitely respectful of Cro Cop.  I’m a huge fan.  It’s a great opportunity for me.  There’s not too many guys out there who get to fight legends, so for me it’s a big deal.

 

I have heard countless fight fans claim that when “Ain’t No Sunshine” by DMX starts blasting over the P.A. System, their heart rate skyrockets and butterflies emerge in their stomach because they know Anderson Silva is on his way into the octagon.  An arena full of thousands of fans starts laughing together during the chorus of “I’m Fat” while Roy Nelson walks out for a fight.  A walk-out song does more than just create an atmosphere…it defines a fighter.  Now a fighter can be more defined by his walk-out music than ever thanks to Coalition Fight Music, a group of talented musicians who have started their own genre of music entitled “fight music” in which they produce original tracks to match specific fighter’s personalities.  I sat down with CFM to learn more about this interesting concept.

 

Jorge_Rivera

 

Jorge Rivera has been looking for a fight against Michael Bisping and now he's got it.  He and The Count will be the featured fight on the undercard of BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch at UFC 127 later this month. I talked to Jorge about this fight.

Kevin Garvey:  The war of words is already heating up between you and Michael Bisping.  Any bad blood there or just hyping the fight?

Jorge Rivera: In all honesty, man,  this is the fight that I wanted.  I was told that his camp might not want to take it or whatever so I did what I had to do to get him to sign that fight.  I think it's gonna be a good fight.

KG: Why did you want Bisping?

JR: I just think it's a good match up for me.  He's got a good record, he's well known, he's one of the top UFC guys.  I know what I want to do and how I want to go about doing it and he's part of that equation.  I'm coming ready and prepared for this fight.  I'll be ready.

KG: You're a guy that likes to go for the KO.  Did you learn anything by watching Dan Henderson's KO of Bisping?

JR: To be very honest with you, I thought that fight was gonna go that way.  Only because I don't see Bisping having the power to knock Dan out.  He definitely isn't gonna take him down, he's not a better wrestler than Dan. So I didn't see how he could beat Dan.  I thought they were gonna stand and I knew that Dan has massive power in both hands, so it was a matter of time before he caught him.  [Bisping] was circling towards his power, so that just made it happen faster.

 

(Note: The title of this article is not a typo.  Mr. McCorkle specifically requested the wording.)

Going into his bout against Stefan Struve at UFC 124, Sean McCorkle was living the life—undefeated with 13 victories, including a first-round dismantling of mixed martial arts legend Mark Hunt in his UFC debut, McCorkle was doubtless on top of the world.

Despite overwhelming “The Skyscraper” in the stand-up department, picking up, slamming, working some nice ground-and-pound, and almost securing a very-tight kimura on Struve in the first few minutes of the bout, McCorkle would eventually be reversed by Struve—and from there pelted with a barrage of unanswered shots until referee Yves Lavigne called an end to the bout with just over a minute remaining in the first round—thus tainting McCorkle’s then-perfect record.

Luckily for McCorkle—a man that told me earlier that he would rather rack up a win with no compensation than lose for a full pay-cheque with a bonus included, will have another opportunity to pick up a W in the UFC as on March 26th McCorkle will travel to Seattle, Washington to step into the Octagon against Christian Morecraft—a 6’6”, 263 pound heavyweight contender with a nearly unblemished record outside of a loss to Struve in his UFC debut at UFC 117.

Recently, McCorkle took time out of his bout preparations to speak with me about no longer being undefeated, rankings, disrespect, and, of course, Morecraft.

Ed Kapp:  You’re no longer undefeated. A few weeks after the fact, how is that sitting with you?

Sean McCorkle:  It sucks more than I can explain—I hate losing more than anything in the world and I will never be okay with that loss. Ever.

EK:  Is a rematch with Struve something you’d be interested in in the future?

SM: Absolutely, but strictly for my pride. I like him a lot as a person, so that would make it a little hard.

EK:  How motivated are you to come out and make a statement in your next bout?

SM:  Not so much to make a statement, but I desperately want to win. I was always afraid of losing, and having now experienced it, it's not as bad as I thought—its worse.

EK:  I was looking through the rankings the other day, and Fight! Magazine didn’t have you ranked in their top-100 heavyweights. Meanwhile Stefan is ranked at 15—a guy you were well on your way to beating and Mark Hunt is ranked somewhere in the 70’s. Even Jason Guida is holding-steady at number 97.

SM:  The fact that Jason Guida is in their top-100 tells you everything you need to know about Fight! Magazine. He's lost something like 11 of 12 with his only win being a sucker punch during a glove touch with Logan Clark. Although, he did fight me to a draw in a staring contest in Detroit.

There’s very little doubt that true mixed martial arts fans—and perhaps a few film buffs, are well acquainted with Din Thomas.

A true veteran of the sport, the man they call “Dinyero” made his first appearance inside the Octagon at UFC 32 after winning 12 of his first 13 professional bouts, including an upset victory over Jens Pulver in mid-2000.

Although Thomas would fall short against the then 1-0 BJ Penn—a man that would go on to become one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, “Dinyero” has since stepped into the Octagon eight times, notching victories over Matt Serra, Clay Guida, and Jeremy Stephens.

After parting ways with the UFC in mid-2008 following back-to-back losses at the hands of Kenny Florian and Josh Neer, Thomas dropped down in weight from lightweight to featherweight in February of 2009 and is undefeated with three wins since doing so.

To say that Thomas is a busy man may be an understatement, as the owner of multiple American Top Team affiliate gyms in Florida, Thomas has also appeared in a number of films and theatre productions—all while attending the odd impov class.

Recently, Thomas took time out of his busy schedule to sit down for an exclusive interview over the telephone.

Ed Kapp:  How is life for Din Thomas these days?

Busy, busy, busy. I’ve been very busy. When you run three schools, you try to have the three best schools—well really two-and-a-half, but we try to make them as good as they can possibly be—it’s a full-time job. I mean, it’s like two full-time jobs. Two-and-a-half full-time jobs, working with the schools and then you’ve got fighters that want to compete and grappling tournaments and kids, you know? It’s crazy.

Din Thomas:  Did you ever think that you’d own three gyms? Was that something you planned on doing?

I just kind of fell into it, I really didn’t want none of ‘em (laughs). What it is really is martial arts changes lives. I don’t mean to give you a sales-pitch, but it does change lives and if I can spread what I know, and what I’ve learned, and how it’s helped me, then that’s what I’m going to do, you know?  So that’s the reason why I have my schools and I’m involved in these different places because I want to spread it as far as I can, you know—but without sacrificing my integrity. So this is it for me, this is all I can handle, but I want to spread it as far as I can and help people as much as I can, so really that’s why I have these schools.

EK:  How often do you teach classes?

DT: I teach every day.

EK: Every day?

Every day.

Cain_mountains


Resulting in an unfortunate hindrance to the intriguing pairing versus ascending banger Junior dos Santos, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez underwent shoulder surgery this morning to repair an injury sustained in his dismantling of former champ Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.

When the news that Velasquez would be sidelined for 6-8 months surfaced, the normally reserved dos Santos loudly expressed his anger to PortalDoValeTudo.com, as the chance of achieving his dream was postponed.  I caught up with Dewayne Zinkin, Cain Velasquez' manager, and AKA trainer "Crazy" Bob Cook just hours after the heavyweight champion's shoulder surgery to discuss the success of the operation, how long the champ is expected to be out of action, their response to "Cigano's" harsh reaction, and how the Black House fighter matches up with former champ Brock Lesnar.

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