How did you first get into fighting?
I started with boxing. One day my friend and I fought in the street and it went surprisingly well, so we wanted to get better at it, improve our skills.
So he became a professional fighter too?
No, no. He didn’t do anything (laughs). When I started boxing I looked up at the champions and I wanted what they had, so I put everything I had into becoming a professional fighter.
What’s your training like?
I used to train a lot when I was younger. Twice a day, every day except Sunday. But now I understand my body a little better so I alternate between training once and twice a day so I get more rest. I don’t need to train as much as I used to because the technique is there. I train to get sharp and get ready for fights. It changes a little bit but it’s basically sleep, eat, train, rest. Boring as hell but you have to do it. If you win, it’s worth it, and if you lose you’ve done it for nothing. The risk is high but the returns are good.
What’s time-off like?
I play a lot of video games. Friends come over and we play FIFA. Other than that I go out, not to party, just grab a bite and drink. That’s about it.
What do you think about the outcome of the Weidman fight?
It’s a fight where’s the outcome is unpredictable. I can’t say I would’ve won and he can’t say the same about himself. Although, the way the fight was going, I felt I was getting the upper hand. He was getting tired from the takedowns. I understand he won the first round but really, he did nothing other than getting me down. Did he hurt me? No. Did I have a wound? No. Nothing. I believe in the second round I was dominating and I hurt him. He was also getting more tired than me because he kept shooting for the takedowns. But then again, you never know with these fights. I didn’t want to win that way, but it’s a win. I’ll take the win, I don’t care how. After 2 years people are going to see a win on my record, they’re not going to talk about the drama. They forget about it. You’re as good as your last fight they say, and that’s true. If I win my next fight really impressively they’re not even going to talk about this.
Could the fight have been handled better?
I don’t think the referee did anything wrong. He thought it was illegal knees. What could have been done differently? Don’t make those stupid rules. I upkick a lot. If I get taken down by an opponent I want to upkick them but that’s not allowed. I’m allowed to kick someone in the head, it’s like hitting someone in the head with a baseball bat. But “oh my god”, don’t upkick somebody cause you might hurt him. I know the rules are for fighters’ protection but some rules just don’t make sense. Some of them are more advantageous to the wrestlers, who just take you down and hold you. I think a rule change would be the easiest way to deal with these problems.
Do you think Weidman was being a bit of a dick by going for a DQ?
Yeah, but he was tired. I was tired so I knew what he was feeling. I only realised later on that he was trying to get me disqualified. When the referee first asked him he said he couldn’t continue but then later on he suddenly said he could when he found out the knees were legal. Still, the commission didn’t allow him to continue because he couldn’t pass their tests. You didn’t see it on camera but he was wobbly and he didn’t know what month it was. The commission also didn’t allow him to continue becase he said “I can’t fight”. They take it seriously, so it’s his fault.
What do you think about Michael Bisping?
Nice guy, I like him but, he got an opportunity that he didn’t deserve. Chris Weidman was injured so he fought for the belt, and won. And now, he’s being a dick by not giving the other guys the opportunity that he got. He doesn’t think about that. He’s just selfish. Put simply, every government has rules, and everybody has to obey those rules, otherwise you go to jail. UFC should also have rules (about fighting for the belt). If you’re the number 1 guy you have fight for the belt. It shouldn’t be about being popular enough or doing the right kind of promotion for the fight. Be fair to the number 1 contenders. If they want to make super fights, like GSP vs Anderson Silva, people are still going to show up to watch. Why does it have to be for the belt?
Do you think you’ve earned that shot to fight with Bisping for the belt?
At this moment I’m not very positive about getting a titleshot, because he’s fighting GSP, then it’s Yoel Romero next. By then I have to fight one fight. I’m putting it on the line every time I step in the cage. My road is a lot more difficult. I have a lot of speedbumps while other fighters are on the highway, cruising to the title fight. I have seen Chael Sonnen given a title shot right after a loss. How is that possible? Even Dan Hendo. 4 losses and 1 win, and he went for the belt. That’s crazy.
For Fight Night Singapore, who do you think will win? Holly Holm or Bethe Correia?
That Correia, she sucks! She’s a terrible fighter and she’s arrogant. I don’t know how she can be fighting on the main stage. The women fights suck. I don’t like to watch the women fights (laughs).
When do you think you’ll be fighting until?
I’m in contract negotiations but it’s taking a long time. I wanted to fight in June/July at Fight Night, but probably September in Holland because they’re going to need me there.