Friday, March 28, 2008
Tell us Kyle, what have you been up to?
Well, I hurt my knee before the Lytle fight. I didnt think it was too bad, so I fought anyway. MRI results revealed a torn medial miniscus, torn ACL, MCL, and patella tendon.
So right now I am waiting to get surgery then rehab. Trying to get back to teaching classes and coaching football until I can fight again.
You're an LSU alum. How proud were you for the beating that put on Ohio State for the BCS Title?
Well I never graduated from LSU. So I'm more likely a drop out at this point then an alumn. But always very proud of our football in the south. Some of the best high school ball is played right around my home, and that really carries over to LSU. It was great, but no surprise. I honestly didnt think OSU was the best we could have played.
To this point in your career what are you most proud of?
Well it was always a dream of mine to fight in the UFC, so I'm glad I did that. But from here, that isnt good enough. Now I gotta prove I belong.
How did you get into MMA? You started out as a boxer didn't you?
Yes. Started a boxer, still very true to my boxing roots. But I basically saw the opportunity to learn from some good training partners this thing I saw on TV, so I took it. After while, I was pretty good at it, so I decided to make MMA my focus.
You almost didn't fight at UFC 81. Didn't you have a fight scheduled with Yves Edwards for another organization?
Someone jumped the gun on reporting the Yves Edwards fight. Basically, the contract was offered to my manager, Monte Cox, and myself. Monte, and my closest advisor on such things, Rich Clementi, decided the contract wasn't what we wanted. So we passed.
I truly respect Yves, and thought that would have been a great fight...a fun fight. But the problem came when the organization wanted to lock me into a 2 year exclusive contract. I wanted 3 fights and done, they wanted 2 years. At 25, we felt like being locked down wasn't the bext thing for me.
I've always wondered what's it like backstage at a UFC show. Did you go straight to your locker room and wait until it was time to fight? Do the fighters walk around and mingle with one another?
Well this wasnt my first rodeo. I've cornered Rich Clementi at 5 or 6 of his fights in the UFC. A guy like him, every body talks to and gives respect. He is an old school guy, paid his dues, and is reaping the rewards now. Everyone from Jeremy Horn, to Urijah Faber, to Matt Hughes, to everyone. Chuck gives him respect and his props.
I was the new kid on the block, so not alot of people wanted to chat with me. Not that they didnt want to be sociable, just they dont know me. Me and David Heath got along well, and Nate Marquardt is a great guy with a lot of positive things for me. But those guys were in my locker room, everyone else, for the most part, is strictly business the day of the event.
Coming into the fight with Chris Lytle you were on a 7 fight win streak. How disappointed were you to lose in your UFC debut?
I really really felt I had nothing to lose. Big show, nearly impossible fight moving UP a weight class to fight a guy like Chris Lytle. I was playing Jr Varsity football when that guy was fighting in the UFC.
So all I wanted to do was have fun, enjoy the experience, and bang it out and have an exciting fight. It didnt go the way I wanted, but all in all it was fun.
Has there been any talks between you and the UFC about another fight?
Yes. The UFC, namely Joe Silva knew I was hurt. He called me on the Monday following the event to tell me he appreciated me not pulling out of that fight. That pulling out would have put him in a bind, and he appreciated me getting in there and trying to bang it out.
I text him the results of my MRI, and his final words to me were, "Get your knee fixed and I'll bring you back at 155."
Very encouraging. Joe Silva doesnt strike me as the kind of guy who would bullshit me.
How influential has Rich Clementi been on your career?
Rich Clementi is MMA in Louisiana. Everybody around here, whether directly or indirectly has been influenced by him. Even a guy like Melvin Guillard. When Melvin was making his bones on the local circuit, who was putting on the fight cards? Rich Clementi. For a long while Clementi was the only guy in the state willing to put together pro cards, and pay fighters for their work. Everyone else wanted to turn a quick buck putting on all amateur MMA shows. Not Rich. I'm still not sure if he has ever actually made money on a show.
Not only that, but his door is always open for fighters to come and train free. Any fighter, any gym, always welcome.
But on a personal level, the guy has helped me out a ton financially, and just as a friend. And besides exposing me to a higher level of training and sparring, he has really instilled in me a toughness and a mean streak that Im convinced can only have come from hanging with a guy like No Love for extended periods of time. And its not just me, but all the guys down here are just salty. Dont really care about winning and losing, just want you to feel pain and be damaged. To beat a guy like that, you have to pack a lunch.
How happy were you to see him beat Melvin Guillard?
Happy because Rich is a friend and training partner. A teammate. But I have no ill will for Melvin. To be honest, I couldnt possibly have seen that fight going any other way.
Where did all that bad blood start?
The story has been told, but I'll run it down in a short.
Basically, it has always been bit of a little brother rivalry between the two. Rich was the man down here...Melvin was the up and comer. And anytime anyone talked of them fighting, people would laugh and wouldnt give Melvin respect he felt he deserved.
Then they fought in the Kings Muay Thai tournament. They met in the finals, and Rich knocked Melvin unconcious with a flying knee in the second round.
Fast forward through all the TUF stuff. Melvin made a name for himself, and I guess got sick of being "Second tier". He heard a rumor, that Rich talked a bit of shit about him, and decided to email Rich and tell him how he felt.
Rich denied talking the shit, and really had no clue where Melvins attacks were coming from. But not to be outdone, fired right back.
Back and forth back and forth this went on, until the sucker punch incident on one of those bayou shows down in Louisiana.
Didn't you also fight Melvin in one of your first professional fights?
Yeah, twice actually. Wasnt ready for that kind of opponents that early in my career.
Who are some of the fighters you look up to?
Clementi, obviously. but Im also a huge Jens Pulver fan. I love watching Spencer Fisher fight. And there is a kid named Luke Gwaltney from the midwest who I would pay to watch fight anytime. He's a guy with a huge heart, good skills, and seems like a guy who would fit in well with our bunch down here.
Kenny Stevens might be my favorite to watch fight. The guy is just so mean. Everyone from around here, from myself, to Clementi, to Crazy Tim Credeur, to Alan Belcher and Chad Jay, come to spar with that guy...and we fuckin hate every second of it.
When you are training and getting ready for a fight what is the hardest thing for you to give up? What's your guilty pleasure?
Food bro. I am an eating mofo. I would save alot of money if I limited going out to eat to like once a week. Hell I eat sushi 3 or 4 times a week. And that isnt even my favorite.
And for a guy who is considered a big 155 pounder, staying low in weight is VERY VERY important.
Thanks again Kyle. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the fans?
I will be back. Cliche, I know. But I strived and strived to make it to that level...and now I realized, it aint good enough. I want to stay there and do something significant in the sport. And at 25 with nearly 20 professional bouts under my belt, Im just getting started.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
To this point what are you most proud of of your MMA career?
Just happy that I’m fighting and proud that I’ve been able to change from being only a striker to a MMA fighter.
Have you heard who your next opponent it going to be? I heard there's a possibility you might be fighting Mike Swick.
Yes it will be Mike Swick June 7th.
What made you decide to go into MMA as opposed to boxing? You had a lot of success boxing.
Boxing was dirty. I got screwed over alot in the management and promoter side of it. I also was bored. I felt as though it wasn’t – really fighting.
How did you get selected for the 2nd season of the Ultimate Fighter?
I just sent in a tape and went through the steps like everyone else.
How instrumental has Jorge Gurgel been in your progression as a Mixed Martial Artist?
Very. Jorge is the one who was able to stop me from freaking out on my back. He helped me become comfortable on the ground. He is one of my best friends.
How special was it to beat Shonie Carter on Ultimate Fight Night 7? That show that was put on for the Marines and raised money for their families.
It was awesome. Shonnie is a fighter with a ton of experience and beating him fresh off his stint on TUF help boost my rep in the UFC.
What did mean to you to win by KO on the UFC 72 card in Ireland ?
It meant I succeeded in fulfilling a dream I had as a boy. I always wanted to fight in Ireland and didn’t think it was going to happen after I stopped boxing.
The Paul Taylor fight was amazing. I just knew when he kicked you it was going to be a TKO but you fought through it and wound up getting him in an armbar. When he caught you with that kick what were you thinking? Did your instincts just kick in?
Honestly the first thing I thought was he better hope I didn’t get back up. I was angry. Not with Paul but at myself for getting caught in the neck by the kick. Instinct did kick in and I was happy that at that time I knew I was in a good fight.
How many more wins do you think you need to get before you are considered for a title shot?
Probably 2 more against top 10 guys.
How do you feel you would match up with Anderson Silva? He's tearing through his weight class. He's almost out of challengers.
LOL. He would most likely crush me like a worm. He’s got size, reach, Thai technique and better ground then me. I would fight him though just to say I got kneed in the face by one of the best.
Who do you think will win the Serra-St. Pierre fight?
I hope Matt Serra. Its anyone’s fight at this level.
Who is your favorite fighter to watch?
It used to be Cro Cop. Now its just my friends who fight. Jorge, Kenny, Rich, Dustin, Patrick, all my teammates.
When you are cutting weight and training for a big fight what is the hardest thing to give up in your diet? What's your guilty pleasure?
Well I’m real good at being good. But after I fight I love to eat cookies. I am a cookie freak. All kinds it doesn’t matter.
Thanks again Marcus, is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans out there?
To anyone supporting me I thank you with all my heart. I started out a bit rocky but I am doing my best to become a better fight for your entertainment and I will always come to lay it on the line.