Joe Palooka Hits Shelves Today

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Interviews

Joe Palooka Comic Book - via palooka.com

Joe Palooka Comic Book – via palooka.com

In the 1930’s, an artist by the name of Ham Fisher created a comic character Joe Palooka. The comic strip ran in nearly 1,000 newspapers and lasted until the mid 1980s. Then the comic ceased production, and was no more, but not without creating lasting memories for many fans.

One such fan was Joe Antonacci. Growing up Antonacci watched all kinds of sports with his father, but the primary focus for the two of them were boxing and bull fighting. The two sports seem like they are unrelated, but then as Antonacci explains it, it was about the respect and the beauty of the competition that enthralled him.

With a love of the sport of boxing, it was no surprise that Antonacci would be drawn to the Joe Palooka comic strip. He recalls rushing home to read what was next for his favorite character. “We got an afternoon newspaper. I would open the paper and skip over the sports section and go straight to the comic page because I loved Joe Palooka. Every day you would get another little segment, a little piece of the story. I remember him being in Turkey, fighting the big bad Turkish heavyweight champion. Joe of course was the world Champion.” Just listening to Antonacci reminisce about his childhood reading the comic you can hear his enthusiasm exude and you know that he is smiling from ear to ear.

While many adults have fond childhood memories, few are able to capitalize on them like Antonacci was able to. Even as few as four years ago, Palooka was just a fond memory for him. It wasn’t until a trip home that he ran into a friend of his Ed Catto that the light bulb went off. “I saw a friend of mine, Ed Catto, and he was signing books and autographing Captain Action comic books. I didn’t know who Captain Action was, so I asked him to fill me in. He said that he had a Captain Action doll as a kid, while others had GI Joe, and it was his favorite character. He then found out that the rights to the character were expired and he bought them.

Antonacci knew that this was something he was interested in so he talked to Catto about the process of how he acquired the rights to his favorite character growing up. It turns out, it was both easier and harder than anticipated. The first step was to find the trademark and see if it was expired. That’s the easy part, anyone can go to uspto.gov and look up trademarks. They are a use it or lose it sort of thing, so if one owns a trademark and fails to produce material with it, they lose the rights to it.

The question then for Antonacci became what to do? He quickly went to work making a comic, t-shirts, hats, other goods with the Joe Palooka name and then applied for the trademark. He was granted it. Many will be quick to ask why with his love of boxing growing up, even being a boxing announcer, did he decide to change the character Joe Palooka to a mixed martial artist.

I have a trademark to produce a comic book or merchandise. I don’t have a copyright. I don’t own the original drawings or stories. All those are owned by the creators or the creators’ heirs. I knew I had to re-invent this guy, not just his look, but the way he acted. Then it occurred to me to make him an mma fighter. I wanted him to travel the world as a fighter.

Mixed martial arts fans who are worried that the comic is just going to be a re-hashing of fights inside a cage or a ring are sadly mistaken. The new Joe Palooka comic is a mix of the action, spy, and fighting all rolled into one. The story is captivating from the first frame of comic.

For those that are still on the fence about it, there are several options that one has. By visiting www.palooka.com one can receive at no charge the first thirteen pages of the comic, or for just $1.99 (until it is removed), one can purchase digital copies of the first and second issue. But to those that are true collectors and fans, the first printed version of the comic is available starting today (December 19th) at comic book stores across the nation.

Jimmy Flick – I’m Going To Drop Some Bows

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Interviews

Jimmy Flick via Dave Mandel for Sherdog

Jimmy Flick via Dave Mandel for Sherdog

Jimmy Flick will be headlining tomorrow night’s Legacy Fighting Championship 16 against former UFC vet Will Campuzano. And while his opponent may have more experience and higher profile fights, Flick thinks that will work to his advantage. Speaking to us one day before weigh-ins, Flick graciously gave us some time to talk about the fight and more.

How’s it going today?
Things are going good. Can’t wait for Friday night.

Most fighters wouldn’t want to be talking to me the day before a weigh-in.
It’s not too bad. I just prefer the publicity any time during the fight. It is a little harder right now since I am going through my weight cut, but it’s no problem.

How bad is this weight cut for you?
It’s not bad. I mean I’ve cut quite a bit of weight because I wanted to be the bigger, stronger guy. Will’s coming down off a couple losses in the UFC at 135, so he has fought bigger, stronger guys. I’ve cut a good 30-35 pounds for this fight, but I feel strong, and once I’ve get my time to recover it’s gonna be even better.

You are fighting UFC veteran Will Campuzano in two days at Legacy FC 16. Will has nearly three times the amount of fights as you and has been inside the cage with some top tier fighters, giving him the experience advantage in the fight. Is there anything you do to train for someone with that much experience?
Train hard, and train hard every day. That’s what I did, and that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’m ready to go out there and show him that it’s my time in the UFC. He’s had his shot, and he lost it, and I’m gonna go out there and put a beating on him and show the UFC I’m ready to fight the top five guys in the UFC.

He might look at you as less of a threat. Do you feel that it might be to your advantage that you do have less experience?
That’s what he thinks. He thinks it’s gonna be an easy fight. I hope he keeps thinking that way. He’s a cocky little guy, and I just hope he stays cocky and it works out to my favor Friday night.

This is a fight that was supposed to happen back in August, but it got pushed back due to an ankle injury. So you have actually been training for him for six months now, correct?
Yes, Sir. Actually, from what I understand, he never even got injured. He’s saying a lot of stuff, saying he did get injured, but if you check his Twitter, back when he pulled out of the fight he put that he had back-to-back camps and it was too hard on his body – is why he pulled out. And now he’s telling everybody it was an ankle injury, and his ankle’s not a hundred percent, but it’s eighty percent. I ain’t even paying attention to that. He can say whatever he wants; he’s already got himself in a bind. They told me it was emphysema first, then they told me it was an ankle injury, and then he said it was back-to-back camps on his Twitter. I mean, the guy can’t make up his mind. I ended up taking up a short fight on short notice because Will did back out on me and ended up winning that fight in a minute and eight seconds in the first round, and that put my professional record to 6-0.

So do you feel Will is scared of this fight?
I don’t know if he’s scared. I just think maybe that first time we were gonna fight each other he wasn’t training the way he wanted to because he was training for Chad “Robo,” and that fight didn’t happen. And I called Nick Mayner and told him I wanted to fight that night, and I had it the next day. And that’s where Will went on AXS TV and started talking a lot of crap already. Then the fight was rescheduled for like four and a half weeks later, and I guess he messed up on his training camp, and he didn’t feel like he was gonna be ready to go, and he made up a couple excuses. He’s fought in the UFC, he fought Damacio Page, he’s fought Nick Pace… I wouldn’t say he’s scared, but he has a lot more to lose than I do. I’m twenty-two years old. I’m 6-0. If I lose to a guy like Will Campuzano it’s not really gonna end my career. But hopefully Friday night I don’t lose, and I go to 7-0, and I show the UFC that it’s my time.

What are you expecting out of him at the fight?
I’m expecting him to use his muay thai and try to defend my take-downs. I want to put him on his back and submit him or put him on his back and drop a bunch of ‘bows on his face for everything he said. And if I can’t drop no ‘bows on his face or get him to the ground, I’ll turn it into a scrap if I got to. I’m ready for the fight to go anywhere it’s gonna go. I’m ready for blood, I’m ready for war, and I don’t care if the fight’s thirty seconds or thirty minutes, I’m ready for everything.

Not only is this fight the headliner, it is also for the first flyweight title and is televised. Do those things add any extra pressure on you?
Oh, no, not at all. Like I said I’m 6-0, and I’m twenty-two years old. This is kind of a win-win situation for me. I don’t have much to lose, but I have a lot to gain if I go out there and win. I’ve fought in some big shows. I’ve fought in Bellator Fighting Championship. My first professional fight I was brought in to the 6-2 Humberto DeLeon which has fought Johnny Bedford. That was his first loss – he lost to Johnny Bedford by unanimous decision at a higher weight class. So I know I’m ready for the fight. I don’t pay attention to the cameras. I’ve been wrestling my whole life. I’ve wrestled in front of thousands and thousands of people since I was 3-4 years old. And I’m just ready to go out there and show people how good I really am.

For the fans that will be seeing you fight for the first time on Friday, what should we be expecting out of you?
Expect a fast, action-paced fight. I like to get in there, and I like to get stuff started, and I don’t stop until the fight’s over, ’til the ref pulls me off, or until that bell sounds. Especially with Will Campuzano, I’m gonna give him everything I got for every single round. The only way I’m going out of this fight is if I go to sleep, and that’s the only way he’s gonna beat me. He’s gotta put me to sleep. And if he don’t put me to sleep, I’m gonna win this fight.

Where can the fans find you at?
You can find me on Facebook at Jimmy Flick or on Twitter @jimmyflick. I’m all over the computer, just look me up, find me on Facebook or Twitter, and follow me please.

Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
Yeah, I have a few sponsors. I got Corrosion Control, Lightning Fluid Services, Take Away Gourmet, Adcock Piping and Supply, Domestic Drilling, RYU – stands for Respect Your Universe. I also got I’m a Beast – they just picked me up like three days ago to wear their shorts. And then I want to give a big shout-out to my brother Danny Flick, my wife Raven Flick, my father Jimmy Flick. And I forgot one of my sponsors Rock Supplements. And a big shout-out to my gym and all my training partners at Flick Brothers MMA Academy.

Chris Tickle – He Doesn’t Have Any Flashy Submissions

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Interviews

Chris Tickle - via UFC.com

Chris Tickle – via UFC.com

Chris Tickle will be taking on Chase Beebe at Flawless Fighting Championships on Saturday December 15th. According to Tickle, it’s a fight he has wanted for a long time, but it never materialized. Now after his stint on The Ultimate Fighter and unable to earn a UFC contract, Tickle is doing everything he can to get into the UFC and he knows that a win over Beebe could be the ticket to doing that.

How’s it going today?
Great, man.

Let’s talk about your nickname. I once heard it suggested that your nickname might be better as Chris “Tickle Me Elmo” instead of Chris “Bad Boy” Tickle. What do you have to say to that?
All my friends used to call me that back when I was a kid. But I’m the Bad Boy. My fighting style says it all, so I like it the way it is.

So you are fighting Chase Beebe on December 15that the Flawless Fighting Championship 2 in Chicago. This is a big fight for you, isn’t it?
Yeah, it is. This is a fight I’ve been wanting for about a year, before I was on the TUF show. Chase is a tough fighter, but he’s just a one-dimensional fighter. He’s a straight wrestler. His ground’s okay, he doesn’t have any really flashy submissions. He’s just looking to take it back and get a rear naked choke, that’s about it.

Is this fight taking place at 135 lbs?
No, this fight’s at ’45. Chase jumped up in weight to ’45 and has been fighting the circuit at ’45. I’m still at ’45… and hoping to get a nutritionist soon and see if I can make ’35.

We know that Chase loves to take people down and control the action from there, whereas you’ve got knock-out power. What do you do to counteract somebody who has the wrestling skills that Chase has?
You know, ’45, I don’t really see anybody as strong as me or as fast. The guys that have better wrestling, that I’ve fought, are walking around 180. Chase Beebe’s not that big. Counteracting his wrestling, I’m a wrestler, too. I wrestled back in the day, but not at his level. But I don’t think he’s going to be able to take me down. I’ll avoid take-downs. If he does, I’ll sweep him. ’45s are actually what I’ve been fighting my whole career… I just while cutting weight till the middle of my career. So I don’t think he’s as strong as me. He’s gonna have problems taking me down. And if he does, I got a big knee or kick in the face for him if when he comes in.

Do you think the fight will go the full 15 minutes, or will you get the finish?
No, I’m gonna sleep him. He throws wild; he’s sloppy. I’m just gonna take my time, pick him apart. When he throws a hay maker I’m gonna knock him out.

I know Chase is being considered for Bellator Season 8. With a win over Chase, would you be looking to try and get your name in for that instead of his?
No, Bellator’s not even on my radar. The only thing on my radar now is UFC. UFC is where I should be fighting – it’s where the money’s at. Sean Shelby watched my last fight, where I fought in Texas, and one more knockout win and I should be right back in the UFC.

In The Ultimate Fighter, you unfortunately lost the unanimous decision to Daron Cruickshank, and the UFC always has their conditions for getting back in after a loss like that.
They all knew that I was a ’45er, and Cruickshank was probably the number one fighter on the whole show. That kid’s a monster. He knocked out Mike Ricci – or he beat him – and Riccii will probably win the whole show at 170. Cruickshank was no joke. That dude’s a beast. He’s a division 1 wrestler; he’s a champion. And he took me down, what, in the first round. Second round he got me down… swept him, got up… and I don’t think Beebe’s wrestling is as good as Cruickshank’s.

So the plan then is to beat Beebe and get into the UFC?
Yup. That’s the main goal.

Say the UFC says they want you to get one more win in, since 145 is a very full division right now. Is there anyone else currently not in the UFC that you’d like to go up against?
At 45? You know, that’s a good question. I really don’t know. I haven’t really watched names around here. Beebe is very talented. He’s ranked like 26th in the world right now. He’s somebody I’ve wanted to fight for a while. I guess after I beat Beebe, if they deny me, I’ve gotta find one more big name.

The title of this fight card is Hated. Is this a properly-titled card for you to fight on?
Oh, hell yeah. It’s perfect, man. It fits me perfect.

Where can the fans find you at?
They can find me @badboytickle on Twitter and also on Facebook at Chris Tickle. Look me up, find me on Twitter. I’m always posting where my fights are at and training, so follow me up

Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
Yeah I want to thank Car-X, Bamjac Computers, Wemo Solutions, E-ssential Solutions, Werner Automotive, Planet Green Cremations, American Bully, Kennel Fight Club and Dr. Nick Kellerman

Henry Martinez – I Just Love To Fight

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Interviews

Henry Martinez - via UFC.com

Henry Martinez – via UFC.com

Henry Martinez will be taking on Daron Cruickshank at this weekend’s UFC on Fox card. The two were originally supposed to fight at UFC 151, but after the cancelation of the event the fight with Cruickshank got pushed back to UFC 155. Now after training for him for several months, Martinez feels more than ready for the fight.

How’s it going today?
Everything’s going well. Feeling good. Excited. Ready to fight this weekend.

You are scheduled to fight Daron Cruickshank at UFC on Fox 5 in about a week. What’s training camp like now at the end of the process?
Oh, fight week is hectic. It’s a crazy bunch of chaos in my mind, that’s how it’s different. Up, down, and everything in between.

Safe to say the highest highs and lowest lows all culminate in this week before the fight?
Yup. And all in one, too. It’s not one thing.

The fight was originally scheduled for UFC 151 back in September, and after the cancellation of that event, it got rescheduled for December. Does it feel like you’ve been training for this fight with this opponent forever?
This training camp has ran on very long. I’ve been training about five months for this, so it’s got its positives and negatives. It’s been a real long camp, so that definitely wears on you, and being away from my family and stuff. But I feel like I’m bringing a lot more tools to the table. I feel like I’m super-ready for this fight. Sometimes you go into a fight and you have these doubts that kind of haunt your mind. You’re like, well, I feel good, but what if I don’t feel good in the fight, or I know I trained a lot, but what if I didn’t train enough. And I couldn’t have trained any more for this fight.

Did you take any time off after UFC 151 was canceled, or did you just keep on trucking?
I pretty much kept on trucking through. I live in Maine, and I was planning on going back, and then it got rescheduled, so I’m still here.

You live in Maine and train down at Jackson’s full-time?
Yeah. I’m from New Mexico, but I live over there now.

What are you expecting out of Daron in this fight?
I’m expecting him to bring the fight, you know? He looks like a tough guy, and he obviously got on the show because he’s got some skills. I’ve seen some of his fights – he’s got real flashy kicks. I think he wrestled division three in college. So he should be a well-rounded opponent. I think it’ll be fun. I think we’re both going to bring some heat and make an exciting fight for the fans.

To me he seems to be a heavy-handed fighter, but he likes to ground and pound his opponents by using his wrestling. What do you do in training to try and prepare for that?
Well I trained the way I always train, honestly. People haven’t seen my ground game. I think I’m much better on the ground and my wrestling is far superior to my stand-up. People that think they’re gonna take me to the ground and have a much easier fight are in for a rude awakening.

Now this is your third fight on your UFC contract, and you are 1-1. Is there extra pressure on you to perform well as the third fight is the decision-maker for the UFC?
I feel more so that this is another day in the office. I felt the pressure in my last fight, really. Being a newcomer in the UFC, coming off the loss to Riddle, I really felt the pressure that I needed to bring a W. And I think I kind of fought a real hesitant fight last time. I could have opened up a lot more. But from the results of the fight before, I think I lost the fight on positioning – where Riddle got the two take-downs really in the last round, and he finished on top with the flurry, and that really seemed like it did it in the judges’ eyes. And I knew Bernardo Magalhaes was just looking to get it to the floor, and not that I was afraid of being submitted, but losing on another view of positioning on a fight and being 0-2 in the UFC, no. Then as a newcomer I definitely probably would have gotten the axe. So that really weighed on my mind a lot.

Both of your fights were split decisions. Do you agree with the judges’ score cards from both of those fights?
I definitely don’t agree with the first decision. I don’t understand how… I definitely won the first round against Riddle, and I think I out-struck him in the second round. I took the fight on a last-minute whim, and I definitely was out of shape, but I think I won the first two rounds. I gave him the third round.

Looking ahead at your career, is there anyone in the UFC’s lightweight division you want to fight?
I think I can make an exciting fight with anybody. I’m game to fight whoever honestly. I took that fight with Matt Riddle – I usually fight at 155, and I took that fight at 170 with Matt Riddle, last minute. I’m one of those guys that – I like to fight. It’s fun, and I’m not gonna back down from it.

Where can the fans find you at?
You can find me on Twitter @HenryMartinez83. So give me a follow. I’d appreciate it.

Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
I’d like to thank all my training partners, my coaches. My coach Mike Winkeljohn, coach Greg Jackson, coach Brandon Gibson, my family for being very supportive, my girl Amanda. Just thank you everybody. Thank you so much for helping me get through this camp, and I appreciate all the love and support of all my fans.

John Albert – I’m Not Going To Change My Style Cause My Back’s Against The Wall

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Interviews

John Albert - via UFC.com

John Albert – via UFC.com

John Albert will be taking on Scott Jorgensen this weekend at UFC on Fox 5. While the former Ultimate Fighter alum is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, so is his opponent. But Albert would be lying if he said there was more pressure on him because to him pressure doesn’t motivate him; he just enjoys to fight. We caught up with him to talk about his upcoming fight while he started to make the modifications to cut weight.

How’s it going today?
Going great. Just rest week. Doing a lot of technique and just getting ready to shed all that weight at the end of the week.

It’s fight week now. You are taking on Scott Jorgensen this weekend at UFC on Fox 5. How are things different for you during fight week than the rest of training camp?
It’s like the easiest and most difficult at the same time. Because the nutrition part changes quite a bit. My water intake – I increase my water intake quite a bit for this week, so I’m peeing like every five minutes. And then as far as my physical training, it’s only once a day. Keep it light, keep my conditioning up, and just technique. I put all my hard work in the past… I don’t even know how many weeks I’ve been training. It’s not time to break down your body any more; it’s time to rebuild. So that’s how it differs.

At this stage in your career, is getting down to 135 lbs difficult?
I’d say it’s a challenge. But I work so hard for it that it doesn’t really affect me too much. I could say it is definitely hard. Fighting at ’45 would be much easier! I feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for this huge weight cut.

As I said, you are fighting Jorgensen. Both of you are coming into the fight on a two-fight losing streak. Do you think there is more pressure on you or on him to perform well in this fight?
Weirdly enough, I think we’re both the same type of fighter. As in we enjoy the sport, and whatever the outcome is, we’ll deal with the outcome. Because we love to fight, and I’m not gonna change my fight style because my back’s supposedly up against the wall. It is what it is. If the UFC decides to cut me because I lose that’s their choice and their right. I don’t let it put that extra pressure on me because it does me no good. I don’t feel pressure is any good. Some people say it motivates them. I’m 100% motivated all the time anyways. I don’t need someone to tell me, “You’re gonna lose your position in the UFC,” to train hard. I’m gonna train hard regardless. So I think we’re both in the same position. We both want to fight, we both want to win, and we both want to put on a great show. That’s it.

You mentioned that you still believe Scott is a top-ten fighter in the UFC bantamweight division. What would a victory over him do for your career?
(Laughs) I really don’t know. Because I seem to keep getting tough fights, and if I beat Scott that just means they’re gonna keep giving me tougher fights. (Laughs) I think he’s still by far in the top ten in the world. You look at his losses… Renan Barao? He holds the title right now. Then there’s Eddie Wineland and he is fighting Brad Pickett for the number one contender spot. So he just fought two – number one and number two, number three – fighters in the world, and he lost. And then the Barao was a decision, and the TKO loss was his very first ever TKO loss. So you can’t look at him as like one more fight and he’s out. How could you put that on somebody who’s fought the best in the world? I would say if he lost to beginning up-and-comers to the UFC, two in a row, then you could be like, “Okay, he’s out of the game,” or, “He needs to re-vamp,” but he just lost to two of the best in the world, so there’s really no re-vamping, and he’s still in that top ten position.

That’s a very fair argument.
I don’t really care where I fight on the card. I love to fight. Obviously I want as much exposure as I can. The goal is to, no matter where I’m at on the card, I’m gonna make it a fight, and I’ve done that almost every fight. And putting me and him on the Facebook page, I really don’t see that does him justice. I can understand me, with my two fights, even though the last fight was controversial, I believe. But he’s a pioneer for the bantamweights and he’s a high-ranked fighter. I’d probably say it’s more frustrating for him. But like I said, we both love to fight, and regardless where we’re at, the fight’s gonna happen. We’re both gonna fight just as hard whether we’re on Facebook or the main event. We’re just there to put on a show.

He’s known for taking guys down and controlling them, trying to get them to commit a mistake to capitalize on. What’s the training like when you are fighting a guy like him?
I try to be as intelligent about it as I can. I’m not gonna expect me to become a world-class wrestler like he is within the two months, three months, that I’ve been training. That’s just not feasible. So what I always do is try to improve mixed martial arts as a whole and just sharpen the tools that I have. So there’s a couple of things that I work on specifically for Scott, but I don’t just do wrestling every day to improve my wrestling. There’s a couple drills I’ve been doing constantly for if he takes me down, or to try to prevent the take-down, or if I actually get down – simple things. But mostly I want to sharpen all my tools and just be a complete mixed martial artist. That’s a more devastating fighter. Because I’m gonna hurt him in so many positions that he’s gonna have to be a well-rounded fighter to fight, not either just box or just wrestle.

The biggest difference I see between you two isn’t style but rather that Scott has been to a decision more times than not, whereas you have never been out of the second round. To what do you attribute your high finish rate?
My tenacity – my aggression – my fighting style. I’m a huge advocate of, keep the sport as what it is: fighting. This isn’t taekwondo, point-sparring. I’m not trying to just get a decision on my opponent. I want to finish my opponent. Fifteen minutes sucks, man, that’s so long for a fight! Like that’s just ridiculous! I believe if you’re truly fighting and going after a fight you almost can’t go fifteen minutes. It’s so hard. It is so hard to go hard for fifteen minutes. And these guys are pacing themselves or not really bringing the fight, whereas I bring the fight. I’m not saying Scott doesn’t bring the fight like that, but the fights that I’ve watched him, they’re very action-packed and active, but they’re still very paced. Very, very decisive. Whereas my fights, I’m always coming forward, knocking a punch and throwing a punch. Always coming forward. That’s how I love to fight. I love to finish. I love to fight. I hate, I just hate decisions. (Laughs) They’re so tiring. I hate the way they make me feel at the end. Like that fight with Dodson even though I was in training like a pro, that ten minutes was horrible. Like I hated it. And I want to just go out there and finish the fight.

Safe to say you’re more of a sprinter than a marathon athlete?
I’m trying to learn to still be actively aggressive but controlled. I think that’s my big deal. That’s why I feel I lost to Ivan – because I just put so much effort into defeating him even though I was like right on the cusp. I blew my wad. And if you look at my all of my record – I have like fourteen, fifteen amateur fights and those all ended in the first round. So I got like over 25 fights, in total, and not a single one has gone to decision.

You mentioned there was a bit of controversy over your last fight with Erik Perez. It was pretty evident to most fans that you were positioning yourself to escape the armbar, not to tap out. Was there an appeal process for you after that loss, or did you decide to leave it as it was?
I personally dealt with it as, “it is what it is.” I hold no grudge toward Kim. I don’t involve Erik, because Erik obviously tried to finish the fight. I left it to my coaches and my agents. They wrote the letter, sent the letter into the commission, and they got a letter back saying that the referee’s decision was final, which was a little disappointing because you figure the athletic process like that would constitute that they’d actually look into evidence and that kind of stuff. But it was just like they were just very blunt. The referee’s decision was final, which doesn’t make sense because the referee’s the one that made the mistake, not me, not Perez. So it is what it is. I’ve moved beyond it. I forgave Kim that night in my head because I just don’t hold grudges. I don’t care. It’s a sport. That’s what it is; it’s a sport, and stuff happens. And I just try to improve and move on. I’m more disappointed in myself for even being in that position, so I put a lot of the blame on myself. Because I shouldn’t have even been in the armbar position even though I was reversing out of it.

That’s very admirable. Obviously, we can’t go back and change what happened.
Use your focus and energy on just getting back into training and fighting again. It’s not going to resolve anything, and then in the end what’s going to happen is you’re not going to get a W. You’re not gonna get a win. All it’s going to be is an asterisk or an NC on your record. You know, it is what it is. When people go back and go on Sherdog and look at it, they’re going to see “no contest,” and that’s it – or see the loss, and that’s it. There’s not going to be a paragraph explanation explaining what really went on and how the fight went. Unless you were really there, watching the fight in person or on TV.

Where can the fans find you at?
Always look me up on Twitter @UFCPrinceAlbert. Obviously you can be my Facebook friend at John Brian Albert. I don’t seem to have as many Facebook followers as I do Twitter followers. They probably have a hard time finding me, but that’s where you can find me.

Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
Absolutely. I’d like to start off by thanking Dennis Hallman at Victory Athletics for obviously getting me to where I am today. Without Dennis I would have never been able to say I’ve made it to the UFC and achieved the goal and the dream that very few can say they have. My strength and conditioning coach Ali Crosbie at 24-Hour Fitness. My striking coach, boxing, and muay thai at Saohin Srisuk Dude’s amazing – he’s a world boxing and muay thai champion and just world-class trainer, he’s unreal. And I’d obviously like to thank a new sponsor New Leaf Hyperbarics there in Tacoma. They’re a hyperbaric chamber therapy. They’ve helped give me the energy and recovery I need to train hard and be the best I can be. Comic Oasis in Las Vegas – they’ve been a huge part of my career. They support me because I’m a huge comic book nerd. They like me as a fighter, and they like that I’m a comic nerd, so that’s always cool, too. Obviously Dethroned for sponsoring me this fight. They have really cool clothing, and it’s stylish, and they’re very comfortable. I’d also like to thank Jeff Hougland the UFC bantamweight, and his team at Combat Sports Fitness. They’ve been a huge help while Dennis has been dealing with a lot of his issues right now. They’ve really helped me for this fight, as well. That’s all off the top of my head.

Johny Hendricks – I’m Willing To Wait

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Johny Hendricks via UFC.com

Johny Hendricks via UFC.com

Johny Hendricks scored his second knockout victory in three fights at UFC 154 against Martin Kampmann. And while the finish times were different between the Kampmann and Fitch knockouts, the rest was extremely similar. The same punch caught both fighters, they both fell in similar fashion, they even landed on the canvas in nearly the exact same spot. The finish was impressive, and should put Hendricks next in line for a shot at current champion Georges St-Pierre. We caught up with Hendricks to talk about the fight, time off, and his epic bear.

How’s things going today?
They’re going good. I got home on Sunday – all I did was sleep because I didn’t get much sleep Saturday night. We had to fly out at 9:40 in the morning. And then Monday, spending time with the family, just really… I’ve done everything with my girl, so this is actually the first time I’ve broken away, and I’m about to go shoot my guns.

When we last spoke, you were about to taper off for your fight against Martin Kampmann, and you said, “If you don’t put him out, he isn’t down.” That quote was very telling, as you not only put him down, you put him out. A little bit of foreshadowing on your part, maybe?
You know, here’s the thing. I knew – I believed in my power. And, more or less, I know that no matter how tough the guy is, or how anything the person is, I’m starting to believe in myself. I’ve been saying this for a while, now. It’s just something… My confidence is growing with each fight, and, more or less, not even in the fights – the camps… The camps I’m having are just getting better, each one of them are getting better, and I feel like I’m improving. And so I go in there… I’m not worried about anything because I’m telling myself, “Hey, no matter what happens, in about five fights I’m going to be at my peak.” So from here until those five or six fights… Because whenever I hit about 20 fights, I think I’m gonna be at my peak. And that’s what I can tell myself: hey, that’s when you’re going to be at your peak. My learning curve is slowing down, but I still feel like I’m developing. And whenever you hit 20 fights, you’re sort of going to be peaked out, and you’re gonna learn, but you’re not gonna learn as fast or as much. So that’s why I’m going into these fights going hey, enjoy the moment. Enjoy the fight. There’s nothing better than waking up knowing I’m about to fight in front of millions of people. Who else gets to say that they get paid to beat somebody up – and in front of millions of people? And not only that but a fraction of them actually like you. How awesome is it that to have a job that every day you get to beat people up, and people want to watch you do it. I really am blessed. I believe I have one of the greatest jobs in the world.

It was immediately put out how eerily similar your knockout over Jon Fitch was to Martin Kampmann, almost laying them out in the exact same spot. Have you seen the side-by-side comparison of the two?
No I have not. And the reason why is because just like the Jon Fitch fight, man, I’m over it. I gave myself a couple days to celebrate it. Now, I’m already on the drawing board for another fight. I’m sitting here thinking who… I’m hoping I get to fight GSP, so I’ve already talked to Mark Layman about game planning. He won’t let me in the gym, and he won’t answer my phone calls because he doesn’t want me to think about it, but I’m already thinking about – that’s what I want, so that’s what I’m thinking about. So I’m already game-planning for my next fight. There’s nothing against my other opponents. It’s just that everybody I’ve fought has brought me to this moment. And I know that if I get too caught up on the past, then I’ll start thinking about the past. And I’ve been caught in that situation before, and I hated it and the result of it. So now I told myself this is exactly like college to me. If you do something good, guess what? Celebrate it for a day or two and then forget about it. The past’s the past, let’s move to the future.

There is a lot of hype around a possible super-fight between GSP and Anderson Silva. If the UFC comes to you and says that you are getting the next title shot against GSP, but have to wait for the super-fight, would you sit on the sidelines or take another fight while waiting?
I’m willing to wait. I’ve beaten the top guys in my division now. That’s three in a row. Now it’s just time to kick back and get a little bit better. Because breaks for me aren’t the best thing in the world, because I like fighting, but I also know that sometimes breaks are good because I get to actually develop as a fighter. I feel like I improved so much in between the last fight and this fight and that was 6 months between fights. So I had 3 months – I had 2 weeks to actually kick back and relax and then I started actually really focusing on my training. And whenever that happened, I felt like I was really able to learn because I didn’t’ have anything on my plate, I wasn’t worried about anything, all I knew that I had to do was work out. And I felt myself developing a little bit quicker – and eager to learn again. Because sometimes you get into a routine where you find somebody to fight, you prepare for them, and you don’t really do too much for yourself. And that’s one thing that I was sort of grateful to have was a little bit of time off where I could improve my own skills. And I went and trained with Marcelo Garcia for my Jiu Jitsu, and, man, the next thing I know – just training with him for a week I felt my game step up to another level. And it was awesome. So I plan to continue doing that. So some time off sometimes is always the best thing.

So this rumor regarding a fight between you and Nick Diaz is just a rumor?
Yeah.

I remember an interview you did about your famous—epic, actually—beard and how it serves a purpose to remind you that you are in fight mode and that you shave it off after your fight. Is that still the case, or are you keeping the beard this time?
You know, I actually did a video saying I shaved it, and I said the next time you guys see me with a beard is whenever I fight GSP. Like I said, it’s just nice to have stuff like that because there’s always an end. The beard, whenever it’s shaved, I completely feel relaxed and a nonchalant-type attitude. Because I’m so wound up so tight for those 3 months… For training and training and training and trying to be good on one night, and then as soon as I shave it, man, all of the sudden I go on a crash. Like I’ve been going to bed at like 8 or 9 o’clock and waking up at 8 o’clock in the morning. Just, my body’s been dumping constantly because of… I know my fight’s over with. There’s just so much build-up and then it is just time to relax and my body recovers.

I know you said you didn’t care who won or lost the main event, but were you able to watch it, and did you have any thoughts on the fight as a whole?
Yes, I watched it. It was an awesome fight. I though tit was a great fight. You know, Georges came back. He was strong, just as I was hoping that he would be. Carlos Condit also was stronger than I was… I knew that he could do good on his feet, but he also did very well – I knew that he had good jiu jitsu, but I didn’t know how well GSP could nullify his jiu jitsu. But Carlos Condit also did an excellent job. Both those guys would be tough fights. And that’s what I’m looking at. I just want a fight – I didn’t care who won it, I just wanted a fight – a bout. Either one of those — I was like, man, that’s a good fight for both of them.

Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
I want to give a shout out to a couple people. Of course, Echo, of course they’re one of my big-time sponsors. Also, I got Bass Pro this time which is pretty sweet. I got TRX, Wildwings, MRG, and also I got a video game sponsor as well.

Anthony Leone – Every Fight’s Really Big

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Anthony Leone via World Championship Fighting

Anthony Leone via World Championship Fighting

Anthony Leone will be fighting at Bellator 83 against former Bellator champ Zach Markovsky.  We sat down with Leone to talk about the fight, his goals and more.

How’s it going today?
Things are going great. Just got done with a training session and just preparing for the last couple of days.

You are scheduled to fight Zach Makovsky at Bellator 83 in about two weeks. How’s training camp changing now that it is winding down?
It’s really good. I’m really just getting myself some fine details in now. Sorry, I’m on the treadmill right now. Just fine details in and a lot more pad work. And this is my last week hard. We’ll go till Friday pretty hard and just worry about my weight next week.

This fight is at 135lbs. Do you have a big cut from your walking weight, or do you tend to stay in the 140s?
Yeah, I wish I was one of those 140 guys, really. I actually started my career at ’55. I’ve only had like 3 fights at ’35, most of them were at ’45. So unfortunately I’m… I did the Jiu Jitsu World Games like a month and a half ago at 162, and I just made weight for that.  So I’m one of those heavier guys.

So the weight cut to fight in this weight class is not a fun process for you?
No, man. It’s really horrible. It changes your whole outlook on everything.

Zach is the former bantamweight champion. Safe to say this is one of your biggest fights of your career?
This fight, yeah. Every fight is definitely big. You know, everybody says it. Every fight’s really big in your career. But definitely this one has some type of cloud over my head where I have a picture of Makovsky on my refrigerator. I wake up every morning and I see that guy, and I really… I haven’t thought about a fight more than I’ve ever thought about this one.

What was going through your mind when Bellator offered you this fight as your fourth fight with them?
Oh, I was excited. I found out maybe August or September that they were thinking about it and I was in Thailand training. I was like let’s just get this contract, let’s do this. What an opportunity, you know?

Makovsky is likely the favorite in your fight according to the odds makers. Does being the underdog have any effect on you?
I was probably, the majority of my fights that… Well, I was probably the underdog. So it really doesn’t bother me. I hope my friends bet on me – and family – and make a lot of money.

Looking at the two of you on paper, you are very similar as far as styles are concerned. Because you both like to go after submissions, do you think this could turn into a stand-up brawl instead of a test of whose grappling is better?
Not sure. We’ll see what happens. I don’t want to give away too much of our game plan that we’ve been working with as a team. Usually though, when you do see two grapplers fight, you don’t really see too much of the ground game. And same thing with strikers, when you see two strikers fight – high level strikers – you might see a little bit of ground game.

Will this fight be a tournament qualifier for next season?
I’m not really sure. We didn’t really talk about specifics like that.

I know you’ve competed against Georgi Karakhanyan for a chance to fight in the tournament before. Would that have been as a bantamweight as well or featherweight?
That was at featherweight, actually.

What are your goals for 2013?
Right now, my main goal is to beat Makovsky, and really when you have a fight coming up your mind is focused and you’re very one-directional-minded. So basically thinking about Makovsky. But it’s definitely to keep training as hard as I’ve been training these past years, staying focused, and just a continuous growth, and martial arts getting better.

Where can the fans find you at?
I have actually a website. LeoneMMA.com. That’s one place. And then Facebook, I think it’s Leone MMA. Sometimes I’m in Ithaca, New York training at Team Bombsquad, sometimes I’ll be in Phuket, Thailand training at Phuket Top Team. So if you want to come down to one of these places, come on down.

Phuket is pretty large. What part do you tend to be focused at?
I’m sure everybody’s heard of Tiger Muay Thai. That’s actually a huge freaking gym. I can’t believe how big that is. It’s really like a college or something. But Phuket Top Team is on the same road, and it’s called Chalong Road. And there’s actually like four MMA or muay thai gyms there. It’s huge. The whole street’s just covered with muy thai fighters, any type of fighter. It’s really crazy. That place is really blowing up there. And that’s where Phuket Top Team is. Pretty good coaches there. Really good coaches, really good guys that are really trying to get better and improve, so it’s awesome. It’s awesome to have both gyms to train at.

Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
Yeah, my sponsors. My sponsor Grips. Check them out. My manager and never stops working – he’s an animal. Primo Bellarosa, my muy thai mma coach – he’s the man. He really helps us out here. All my teammates. I think there’s a lot of teammates to mention, so they all know who they are really. My brother, my mom, Phuket Top Team, Olavo Abreu the Brazillian jiu jitsu coach there, Rodrigo Praxedes another jiu jitsu coach, family, friends, love you all.

Matt Schnell – I Want To Start Putting People Out

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Matt Schnell - photo by Andy Hemingway for Sherdog

Matt Schnell – photo by Andy Hemingway for Sherdog

Matt Schnell was featured on the MTV reality show “Caged” and has used his success from the show to catipult him to a Legacy Fighting Championships contract. The promising flyweight fighter is now 2-0 after his impressive victory over Marcus Dupar at LFC 15 on November 16. We caught up with him to talk about the fight, getting into the UFC, and being a part of the reality show.

Jake Ellenberger - via UFC.com

Jake Ellenberger – I’ve Wanted To Fight Koscheck Since Before I Was In The UFC

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Jake Ellenberger - via UFC.com

Jake Ellenberger – via UFC.com

Jake Ellenberger was scheduled to fight Jay Hieron at UFC 151, but that event was cancelled and his fight was pushed back to UFC on FX four weeks later. He won the rematch earning a unanimous decision and now he’s hoping to get on a card in February. MMARecap caught up with Ellenberger to discuss his fight, Josh Koscheck and more.

How’s it going today?
I’m doing good. How about you?

Doing well. It’s been a busy day for me. I started my marathon training again yesterday, and all I could think was, “I don’t know how you guys do this.” And I’m just running; I’m not getting beat up every day. So that’s my first question: How soon did you get back into training after your fight with Jay Hieron?
I’m always training. Whether it’s just watching videos and mentally strategizing. I’m constantly talking to people, coaches, and just seeing things I can get better at. So really I don’t ever stop training. The intensity came down a little bit obviously. I went down to Brazil a couple weeks and was training down there as well. But for me, I keep building on the things I’m doing good and keep evaluating myself.

You are coming off your victory over Jay Hieron at UFC on FX 5. How big of a win was that for you?
Every win is a big win, especially at this level. Every fight is extremely tough, and there’s so much that goes into every fight. Each fight has its own special meaning. But especially avenging somebody I’d lost to in the past, it was a big one for me.

Was there anything in that fight that surprised you at all?
Not really. Jay’s extremely athletic — he’s quick. And I knew he was gonna be a lot better fighter than when we fought the first time. So surprise me? Not really. I was expecting a tough fight and a whole new fighter. I had to focus on me and what I had to do to win.

How would you rate your performance in that fight?
I was happy overall. If you look at it from the outside looking in, it’s a dangerous fight to take for anybody, especially me being established at the UFC and then having a guy come back from who hasn’t been in the UFC, that you know is gonna be a tough fight. And for me, I don’t have a lot to gain from fighting it, I really don’t. But at the same time, it’s my job. I don’t get to choose who I fight. My job is to do who they put in front of me. So it was tough to strategize. He had a lot to gain by coming back. For me, I have to come back 100% and prove that I am a contender

Did anything change in training camp for that fight when it got pushed back a month due to UFC 151 being canceled?
Really not as much as you’d think. I was already peaking, so for me it was continue to train but start to separate the days and kind of take a little bit more… a little more relaxed until I found out when it was going to be rescheduled. It wasn’t a big change for me. It was those last four or five days which I had to shake up the temple a little bit. I didn’t want to over train and just being smart. That was the biggest thing.

Now you were originally supposed to fight Josh Koscheck, but then he had to withdraw, and you got Jay Hieron instead. Is Koscheck a fight you’re still actively seeking?
Yeah, he’s somebody I’ve wanted to fight from before I was even in the UFC. Whether that happens… I don’t know. It’s definitely something I’m hoping for.

When would you like to get back inside the cage?
I was hoping maybe February. February would be a good time for me.

What’s your preference between fighting on Fox or pay-per-view?
I would always rather be on the biggest cards. As far as going from pay-per-view to FX it really doesn’t matter to me because it doesn’t change your pay. My MMA pay stays the same whether it’s the first fight on a FX card or on a pay-per-view. It’s always exciting to be on the main show, everyone loves the attention. But if I could choose I’d definitely love to be on a Fox card, for sure.

Where can the fans find you at?
They can find me on Facebook – Jake Ellenberger on Facebook – or they can follow me on Twitter @EllenbergerMMA.

Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
LunarPages as well as Muscova and Team Vega.

Robert Whiteford – I’m Gonna Punch A Hole In His Head

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Robert Whiteford

Robert Whiteford

Robert Whiteford is set to fight at Cage Warriors 50 against Chris Fishgold. A victory over Fishgold puts him on a ten-fight win streak with the majority of those coming by way of either knockout or submission. And while the UFC has their eyes on him a bit as he was an alternate for The Ultimate Fighter Smashes, he knows that an impressive performance against Fishgold could get him to the organization he wants to be apart of.