Getty Images reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this image or clip. If you violate our intellectual property you may be liable for: actual damages, loss of income, and profits you derive from the use of this image or clip, and, where appropriate, the costs of collection and/or statutory damages up to $150,000 (USD).
Training: A typical day of training involves speed/agility training in the morning, pro team training with rounds in the afternoon, and extended cardio training at night. Sometimes I'll mix in an hour of grappling or kickboxing after team training, some days I'll do some pad work before team training, and some nights I'll do a couple sauna sessions after my cardio.
When and why did you start training for fighting? A couple years after I stopped wrestling competitively in 2000, I felt lost and always a little stir crazy. I started training for MMA in 2006 after I met Chris Wilson, and he convinced me that I shouldn’t let my wrestling skills go to waste. Fighting has definitely given me a renewed focus and sense of purpose that I once had with the sport of wrestling.
What ranks and titles have you held? I won the 4A Oregon high school state wrestling tournament in 1997, as well as placing 3rd in both 1996 and 1998. I held a couple amateur MMA belts before turning pro; the FCFF lightweight belt and the Sportfight Proving Ground lightweight belt.
Do you have any heroes? Kind of cliché, but my mom. She raised five kids by herself, and kept her sanity in the process.
What is your favorite technique? I know its mean, but my favorite technique is knee riding someone in the face while working for a straight arm bar. If the arm bar isn’t there, I’ll keep their face pinned with the knee ride and rain down hammer fists.
What does it mean for you to fight in the WEC? Fighting in the WEC means that what I'm doing in my fight training is working. I feel that my job as a fighter is primarily to train, and every two or three months I get to test my training in an actual fight. The WEC is a major organization in MMA, and now I get to test my training against other major league competitors, so fighting in the WEC means everything at this point.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I went to the University of Oregon on a wrestling scholarship for two years and majored in Anthropology, but I burnt myself out of wrestling and dropped out of school. I gave college another shot a couple years later, this time studying Political Science at Portland State University, but I quit 30 credits shy of my degree. College isn't for everyone, kids.
What was your job before you started fighting? I worked as a line cook at a series of restaurant/pubs before I took up fighting. I loathed the idea of being stuck in the service industry for the rest of my life, and this may have been the biggest contributing factor to me taking the plunge into MMA. Stay in school, kids.
Most memorable professional fight (who, where, why)? That would be my most recent fight against Amirkhan Mazihov. It was in Seoul, South Korea for the M1 Global Challenge and I was representing Team USA West against Team Russian Imperial on the Fourth of July of all days. The pressure was on. I finished the fight with a guillotine choke 22 seconds into the first round, putting Mazihov to sleep in the process, so that one's both memorable and easy to remember.
What was your most challenging professional fight (against who, when, what was the outcome)? My most challenging fight was against Dennis Davis in Las Vegas May 20th, 2008. I won a unanimous decision, but that was my third pro fight, and Dennis had over 20 fights at that point, and he cut my face up pretty good in the process. We also fought at a 150lb catch weight, and I hadn't weighed in that light since 1996.
Did you compete in any other sport(s) at college or professional level (what sport, where, how long)? I wrestled at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon for two years, but you already know how that turned out.
Who were your training partners for this fight? My training partners for this fight were Ian Loveland, Tyson Nam, Pat Healy, Ryan Healy, Zac George, Nate Coy, Aaron Stark, Dan Stewart, Chris Yea, Chris Jensen, Matt Lindland, and Chael Sonnen. Yushin Okami has also been visiting the gym for the past month as well, and I've gotten to grapple with him a bit.
Did you put more emphasis towards a fighting style or adjust your training to prepare for your opponent (what did you do differently/why)? I've tried to keep the emphasis of my training geared towards becoming a more well rounded, complete fighter. Of course I'm working on my striking, but I'm not neglecting my grappling either. The only thing I've done differently from the last fight is to start my speed/agility training with Jon Salami of Elite Athletics World one week earlier, so that by the fight rolls around, I'll have a month's worth of world-class, specialized conditioning.
What, other than WINNING, are you using for motivation for the fight? As far as motivation for this fight goes, I'm excited to enter this one at my peak physical and mental condition. My last fight against Crunkilton got pushed back five weeks, and I had a couple setbacks in that time. So I'm motivated to give my best performance to the fans of the WEC, and to be at my best. I've come to realize that although I'm a fighter first, people watch MMA to be entertained, so I'm gonna do my part to dish out as much violence in the cage as humanly possible.
What is your favorite thing about this sport? The sense of accomplishment I get from being a part of it.
How long do you see yourself staying in this sport? I see myself being involved with MMA for the rest of my life. As far as me getting in the cage or ring and scrapping, I think I've got ten more years left in me.