Jeff Hougland has been training to fight Takeya Mizugaki for a while. Originally scheduled to fight at UFC 151, after the cancelation the fight was pushed back to UFC on FuelTV 6 and will be part of the Facebook preliminary fights. MMARecap caught up with Hougland to talk about the fight, going to China and more.
How’s it going today?
Going great, just woke up.
That’s right you are out on the West Coast so it’s what like 11am out there?
I’ve been up for a little bit. I had to eat. I like to eat before I go to the gym. I like to sleep in. That’s one of the benefits of being a fighter right?
Yes you get to set your own schedule. I’m a dad and my kids wake up early. I don’t get that luxury. If they sleep past seven, that’s awesome. Let’s talk about this fight, you are taking on Takeya Mizugaki in about three weeks. Are you excited yet?
Oh yeah. I’m ready for this fight to be done. I feel like I have been training for this guy for like half a year which I basically have. We were supposed to fight at UFC 151 and then that got cancelled and the fight got pushed back. I just feel like man I spent a lot of time getting ready for him. I just want to fight him and move on. I am looking forward to the fight. It’s always exciting to fight in the UFC. I’d be lying if I said that I’m stoked to go to China. I’m not big on traveling. I would have preferred to fight in Las Vegas where it is a two hour flight and I can be back in my man cave. I probably would never see China any other way unless someone was paying for it. So I guess that will be cool. It’s cool to be part of history.
Do you plan to do any sightseeing when you are out there?
That’s the thing, everyone is like man you get to go to China. But they don’t realize for me it isn’t a fun trip. I go there and I see the airport, the inside of a hotel, the inside of a sauna and then the inside of a cage. Those things are the same. I plan to try and see a few things here and there. But it is kind of hard to relax and enjoy yourself if you know that at the end of the trip some guy is going to try and kill you.
Do you anticipate there being anything different about fight week compared to a fight here stateside?
Yeah for the most part. Las Vegas, everything is all in one spot. I just like knowing where everything is and routine.
Let’s talk about the delay of this fight as it was originally scheduled for UFC 151 and you have been training for him for a while. When the fight got cancelled and then rescheduled, did it change anything with your training camp or was it just a continuation of the previous camp?
When I got the news that it was cancelled I relaxed for about two weeks. I still trained and everything. I didn’t fight train. I didn’t do a ton of hard sparing. I own my own gym so I am always in the gym. I have no choice I am in here. I just kind of eased back for two weeks, then started going hard again. My main thing was that for me to go through a training camp and not get hurt, I look at that like a blessing. It’s hard not to get hurt. It’s hard for all the stars to align; for the weight cut to be great; no injuries; the drills coming together. I was really ready to go. It was a mental set back and physical set back, but I am a professional fighter. I would fight on Mars. I will train and do it.
Let’s talk about Mizugaki, he’s a bit of a streaky fighter, but always seems to bring a good fight. What are you expecting out of him?
I am expecting him to be tough. Obviously he is well rounded. I expect him to come out after me pretty hard. On paper, compared to the other guys he has face, I don’t have as much clout. He’s fought Jorgensen and Faber and Torres and all these other big name guys in the bantamweight division. I expect him to come out and try and finish me off, and that’s kind of one of the reasons I wanted to fight him is he never has a bad fight. Win or lose he always brings it. I want an exciting fight. I am trying to get one of those bonuses really bad. If we can go out there and have a great fight. I feel like I catch guys when they come after me. When a guy kind of stalls on you there isn’t as much opportunity for a great fight or to catch submissions or a knockout. I am looking forward to throwing down with him for sure.
Safe to say the bonus you are looking for is submission of the night and handing him his second submission loss of his career?
That’d be the number one. Fight of the night would be second. I want submission of the night cause then I would win and get the bonus.
Now this is your third fight on your UFC contract, and you are 1-1 so far, is there any extra pressure on you to perform well in this fight?
I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t. I feel like that it. It’s the fight where they decide what they are going to do with me. I would like to fight in the UFC as long as I can. It’s a good payday and good exposure. On the other hand if I go out and I lose, my life won’t change that much. It isn’t like I am going to be panhandling in the streets. I have my own gym, I got my own fighters I manage. I have a lot of things going on on the side. I am not going to be hungry, my family will be ok. I put that pressure on myself because I want to perform. I want to do well and have a great fight. I train hard for this fight.
Do all your friends and family know they need to wake up extra early to watch your fight live?
That’d be cool if they did. I don’t think I would get up that early to watch someone fight. It kind of sucks because 151 we were on FX and that’s a lot more people. Now I am on facebook at four in the morning. They might as well release my fight straight to VHS. Nobody is going to watch that.
Where can the fans find you at?
I am on twitter at @jeffhougland and on facebook as well.
Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
Venum, Lexani, Headrush, Iridium Sports Agency, Waterson Excavating, Liberty Events and Promotions, CTRL Industries, Alias Society, Fokai and thanks to you for giving me a voice.