[Click Here for Part One of my Interview with Renzo]


Stephanie: What do you think of all the changes happening in MMA and how it has evolved throughout the years?


Renzo: Everything is evolving; the moment that you stop evolving, you become like Blockbuster [Video]. You have to close your doors… You have to be open to new ideas and new concepts, so that cost them. That’s why today you don’t have a Blockbuster in your neighborhood. I honestly believe for the sport to evolve, we need rules, we need weight divisions and that’s what happened. I grew up at 135 pounds; my whole life I was trying to gain weight. I take like three, four, five times a day huge meals and I did everything so I could gain weight because I was fighting open-weight division! I was 160 pounds fighting guys 230, 240! I imagine now…it would be much better [than] when I was fighting with the rules that we have today, but everything needs to have its base. I’m glad I was able to be one of the pillars that formed that base; that support, that amazing support. I gave my blood, I gave my sweat and I was there hurting and teaching and doing, you know? I completely disagree with [the statement] ‘Who knows does, who doesn’t know, teach.’  In reality, I KNEW, I DID, and I TAUGHT. [Laughs] Every rule has an exception.


Stephanie: Do you remember UFC159 when Michael Bisping scratched up Alan Belcher’s eye very badly? There was heavy discussion that there should be new gloves made to cover the fingers and prevent eye gauges. What are your thoughts on that?


Renzo: It’s dumb! I saw the new glove; it’s bigger, thicker. Soon they’re going to be wearing boxing gloves! The gloves should be smaller and thinner, in reality. You see that guy [Yancy Medeiros at UFC 159] broke his thumb when he fell on the ground? Why is that happening? The guys who are taping the hand before they go into the glove… You have to understand, when I [fought] I didn’t want no wrapping; never, I don’t need one! Just the glove, I will be fine. But I had to wear the wrapping. So here we are, they wrapped my hands so much (because they go in there like it’s a boxing match) and the fingers curve forward. If [Medeiros] had fell with his hand on the ground and the thumb wasn’t so wrapped, he wouldn’t break his thumb. The thumb would give, would slide a little. But the thumb was so tight that it came out of place. So that’s the situation; when someone moves, your first instinct is to push the guy away. You open your hand to spar; anybody would do that. But now, your fingers are pointing forward thanks to the wrapping. You’re going to stick your finger in the guy’s eye! That’s why so many eye gauges have been happening. You lose the ability to open your fingers and spread your hands; when you can’t do that, your fingers become little arrows. The problem is the wrap, not the glove.

Pride FC

Stephanie: That makes sense.

Renzo: Yeah, first time for Pride [FC], I told them, ‘Look, if I fight with this glove, I am going to break my thumb.’ They said, ‘No,’ that I had to fight with the same gloves. I go in; I fight; I walk out…I have a broken thumb. I look at them and I show it. I said, ‘This is what you do and I broke my thumb!’ I still have one [thumb] twice the size of the other because of that. After they saw this, [Pride] immediately changed the glove; they never had that problem again.


Stephanie: Pat Miletich was quoted as saying that you are ‘a man’ because you didn’t run away from any fight. Can you tell me a little bit more about your superfight, your relationship with Pat and the surprising submission in the first round? How did you know to keep your hooks in when it looked like Miletich was handling it so well?


Renzo: I have a very good, very strong arm in guillotine. I was one of the guys who made and perfected the submission. A lot of times, people think they are safe. If you have a chance to see the fight again, you are going to hear the commentators say, ‘No! The arm is inside. There is no danger for Miletich.’ …And then he taps. [Laughs] I always loved Pat; he’s a great guy and I always thought of him more as a jiu-jitsu fighter than a wrestler or a boxer (although he had great wrestling skills and great boxing skills). He was a jiu-jitsu man; very smart with his opponent and a guy I really admired. When they called me to fight him, I said, ‘No, I don’t want to fight Pat.’ And they said, ‘Why?! You and Pat are the same age; you’re supposed to fight,’ you know? I said, ‘If I fight him, I’m going to beat him too easy; I’m going to submit him.’ They said, ‘What?!’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m telling you!’ But they kept calling! Then Pat calls, he said, ‘Come on, let’s do this fight…’ I said, ‘Pat, my brother, I don’t want to fight you for one reason: I’m going to fight you and I’m going to submit you very fast.’ He goes, ‘You really think so?!’ I said, ‘I know so, Pat! There’s no match. Grab someone that you’re going to beat up! You’ll be able to trade punches or you’ll end up submitting him; look for another good fighter that you want.’ I say, ‘You’re going to fight me and I’m going to finish you in the first round!’ It’s funny because I see how his game is; he accepts that you clinch with him…I know him. I’ve seen him fighting his whole life. I saw him, like one of the first jiu-jitsu national championship they had was in Chicago, back in 1985 I think or ’89, something like that. I have pictures of Pat training with me then…so I knew everything on him.


It was funny because the whole week I was there in his town. Everywhere I went, people made fun of me: ‘You’re the guy fighting Pat?! You’re going to get your ass kicked!’ I said, ‘Do you have tickets to watch the fight? If you don’t want to see Pat lose, sell those tickets FAST! Get your money back, because you won’t get your money’s worth!’ [Laughs] The whole week I was there doing this. I wanted to cut my hair in town; I asked, ‘You know Pat Miletich?’ and the guy said, “No.’ I say ‘Okay, go ahead!’ [We both crack up.]


[Before the fight] I hurt my neck in a way that I didn’t have no strength in my left hand. I couldn’t hold my weight on that side. I remember Miletich v. Graciethat day because I was hurt. I only slept two hours a night; I had to sleep with a bunch of pillows and my head had to be in position with the towel holding my neck, so my neck would be curving back. The next day, I wake up and because it took me so long to sleep, I woke up late. All the radio people were in the lobby saying that I quit, that I wasn’t fighting. I ask them, ‘Why? Is the arena filled up or is there some disgrace that I don’t know about? Some natural disaster?’ ‘Oh no, they say that you are hurt.’ I say, ‘Now that I am here in his town already?! I am going down to [Pat’s] academy and we will solve this problem.’ Then we worked it out for the fight.


When I was able to clinch with him, I actually clinched on the wrong side. If I wouldn’t find the guillotine, I wouldn’t have strength in my hand to hold it. So, I clinch and I spin to the right, pull it apart, because I knew then I would clinch on the right side. The moment that I had the clinch on the right side, I jumped for the guillotine and he had the feeling that he was safe. As I’m holding him and he was acting like everything was fine, but then I felt him a little bit out of balance and I knew he was done…I told the ref, “Don’t worry, everything is under control; the fight is over.’ [Laughs] Then I put my head back and I finish him. Everybody who I knew jump in the ring; everybody that came with us. It was one of the most amazing moments I have ever seen; it was unbelievable. After the fight, Pat asked me, ‘Hey! What did I do wrong?’ and I said, ‘You kept yourself steady. You should have gone down and tried to find a way to escape that.’ He said he was standing because he didn’t want to go on the ground with me. He said, ‘I thought about it, but I couldn’t do it.’ He’s an amazing guy. I told him to get another opponent and fight again in his hometown…his whole family…his MOTHER was there! Who wants to hit someone when the mother is watching? I’m glad I put a choke. If not I would have been hurt on the way home! But I love Pat; he’s the best. He’s a great instructor, a great teacher, a great athlete. He was one of the best fighter of the UFC for sure, one of the original. He was always unbelievable. I always admire him.


Stephanie: Tell me about your current workout routine.


Renzo: Well, I had a problem in my back…I had a horse race in Abu Dhabi…


Stephanie: What?!


Renzo: Yes! I did 85 miles on a horse. Out of 180 horses, only I think 17 or 18 horses finished. I was 15. I do believe on that process, I had a hairline fracture in my back from so much pounding on the saddle. It’s been almost three months now and it was bad. So that stopped me for a little bit from training, but I am coming back now. I have been working out and most importantly I have been training with my son. We’ve had a chance to go at it…the kid is getting good.


Stephanie: Earlier you were telling me your most memorable fight will be your next one. Are you planning on fighting soon?


Renzo: Yes. I am looking forward to getting in shape again and to be back on the game; one more run! I do have some wood to burn.


Stephanie: When can we can expect to see that, in what time frame?


Renzo: Probably before the end of this year, I will be back in the game.


Stephanie: But not back in the saddle…


Renzo: Not in a horse! No, I’m not sitting my butt on a horse for a while! [Laughs] It cost me a lot!


Stephanie: Can you tell me which fighting promotion we’re talking about here?


Renzo: I can’t say yet.


Stephanie: I can’t wait. Thank you so much for the interview, I really appreciate it!


Renzo: That was my pleasure, believe it. Thank you.



[Click Here for Part One of my Interview with Renzo]


Photo Credits: Renzo Gracie & Family

Renzo GracieThere is not one true MMA fan in all the world that has not heard of the Gracie legacy. What’s more, everyone has their favorite Gracie; they show tribute with tattoos, t-shirts, gi patches, attending autograph signings or seminars and even dedicating their training to a gym bearing the Gracie name. For this particular MMA fan [me!], Renzo is just that: my favorite. I cannot believe that I was able to share one hour of uninterrupted phone time with this affable legend. (Well, besides when his phone overheated and he had to put it in the freezer for a couple of minutes…)


Below is part one of our interview, in its entirety. I did not edit out any questions, because I truly wanted to share all of this candid, funny and incredible one-on-one with the rest of you…plus one very exciting announcement and several photos from Renzo’s own collection. Part two will be published shortly. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.



Stephanie: Did you have any hesitation continuing family tradition in the martial arts? Did it come naturally to you and do you think natural ability is carried in the bloodline?

Renzo & Charles

Renzo: To be honest, I was always very weak physically [growing up]. I loved and admired so much the people thatwere involved with jiu-jitsu that I just stuck with. I believed that passion for the sport comes before natural ability. The moment that you love something so much, you just don’t let go; you insist on it and you stick with it. I think the biggest gift that my family could give me was actually not just the bloodline, but the passion to make me understand how great the sport was and how important it was in changing people’s lives. That was very easy to follow, but [It takes] hard work. I would rather have a student who actually works hard than any guy that has a natural ability who is lazy.


Stephanie: How did you meet your wife, Cristina? Do all of your children practice jiu-jitsu?


Renzo: I met my wife at an early age; the first time I met her I was ten-years-old. Her father was friends with my father. We end up being together when I was 23; we were friends already for long time and it came naturally. I fell in love…I think before her, [laughs] but I am very driven, so I make sure that she fell in love! She gave me three wonderful kids [Catarina, Cora and Ruran] that I cherish and they like jiu-jitsu. One of my daughters [Catarina] works in fashion. She works at Abercrombie & Fitch and now she is thinking about setting up her own clothing business, so I am very happy for that. And my boy, [Ruran] he’s 18 and he trains a lot. He trains the whole day jiu-jitsu, so I believe the same passion my father passed to me I was able to pass to him.


Stephanie: What is a typical day like in the Gracie family?


Renzo: We have four academies, so things are pretty stable. Today, I woke up, I went to work out, came back and took a nap and [my family] woke up. We were just having breakfast me, my kids and my wife.


Stephanie: What do you think about Twitter and social media? How has it affected this sport?

Renzo & CharlesRenzo: I do believe Twitter and Facebook, social media in general, helps spread the word. Everything is bigger, much faster than before. Before you have to wait for something to hit a fad that everybody would embrace; now, it’s different. I think [social media] pushed to make MMA big. You find out about kids who train in Russia, kids who train in Abu Dhabi; you have access to that information. It’s a really important tool for research, but it’s important too to communicate and to learn. You are able to find the knowledge in the most amazing way. Imagine, when I was a kid, [if] I wanted to know about something, I had to go to my aunt’s house and she had an encyclopedia at home and I had to look into that. Now I have that access at my fingertip; it’s unbelievable! It’s on my phone, it’s on my computer at home…it’s everywhere. [Follow Renzo on Twitter @RenzoGracieBJJ]


Stephanie: Do you have any stories about your experience on social media to share with me?


Renzo: There was one time a guy send me a private message saying that he was going to kill himself. He had lost his job…Luckily, he was in Jersey, so when I got that message, I messaged him back right away and asked him where he was. He told me where he was…I told him to wait because I was going to get a beer, too. So I know that this guy now has a job; he is working hard, supporting his family…he realized how foolish his thought was like that, you know? I remember having my beer with him.


Stephanie: You really did go?!


Renzo: Yeah, for sure. I have a chance to make a difference; why not embrace it, you know? I am friends with him even today and I check on him all the time to make sure that everything is good. I never put that on Twitter, but you have it firsthand. First time I told this story.

Renzo & Cristina

Stephanie: Tell me about the muggers that you tweeted about beating up.


Renzo: Yes, yes. Exactly like that. It was good [laughs]. The only thing that I forgot to mention…when [the muggers] came to me, they actually reach inside my pocket; like they are grabbing something. This is how they rob in New York; they say, ‘oh give me a cigarette; oh give me a dollar,’ but they grab and they go inside your purse and they go inside your pocket. In reality, it’s a way for them to get away with it if they end up in court. They are going to have a way to defend themselves by claiming that they were asking for a cigarette or a dollar, so that’s how they rob you. [One] day a guy asked me for a lighter. ‘Where’s my lighter!’ When he say that, I look at him and started smiling because I thought about the cigarettes, you know? I say, ‘look at this guy here, he’s making a joke!’ I said, ‘I have no lighter, my brother!’ And he goes ‘You told me, you promised me you going to bring my lighter!’ And I said ‘Come on buddy, you know I don’t smoke.’ ‘WHERE’S MY LIGHTER?!’ And I thought that he was doing the same thing [as the muggers], you know? So when he did it again, I was walking already towards him. I accelerate my pace and I said to him, ‘You don’t want me to have a lighter on me, so I don’t set your ass on fire!’ He said ‘Ok!’ And he took off. Unbelievable!


Stephanie: Wait, was this the same night that you choked that guy out three times?

[For full story, click here]


Renzo: No, that wasn’t the same night. The lighter was a month and a half later. It was two guys; I got two guys. I drove and the second one I got him near the west side highway.


Stephanie: Woah. Remind me never to cross you.


Renzo: [Laughs] Nah, I’m the nicest guy alive, but I’m an educator; these people need to learn. When I beat them up, I scare them well too to make sure they don’t do that again, or I’m there, you know? They’re new born-again Christians!

Cora, Cristina and Roran

Stephanie: What are some differences between MMA fans of your hay-day and the MMA fans of today?


Renzo: There’s a small difference, but you have to understand every fan is extremely important for our sport. They’re the ones that support us and makes the sport grow. Without the fans, there’s nobody, but back then, the fans were more hardcore. They knew about everything. Now you have the guy who watches one fight or he heard from his friend who does [MMA] and the next thing you see is everybody is wearing a Tapout shirt and thinking he can fight, but I’m very glad for that. I always dream to see this sport going in that direction and growing like that and be able to give the place in the sun that it deserves from all this hard work.


Stephanie: What was it like fighting all over the globe? What were some of your experiences in the different countries you visited?


Renzo: America is a very intense jury. Americans like the fight and they cheer. But wherever you have soccer crowd, like if they normally root for soccer, you have a more intense experience like I had in Brazil. Japan they are very polite; you can hear, like the whole arena. We are talking about 65,000 people arena, you can hear the coach giving instructions to the fighter.  Nobody makes a sound, but in Brazil, soccer fan, they go crazy. They curse, they throw things…they suffer and they cherish together with you; it’s unbelievable. I don’t know if you watched the last UFC? There were a lot of Brazilians in the crowd. You could hear them going, [sings] ‘Woah! Woooahh!’ It was funny; it was funny to see that! It was like a soccer game.


Stephanie: What was your most memorable fight and what is the most precious memory from your career thus far?


Renzo: I honestly think that my most memorable fight will be the next one: the one that I didn’t live yet, so that will be a new experience. All those that I already did, they are part of the past and I learn from and I improved from, but I always think my best will be the next one. The most amazing moment…there are so many that is difficult to point one. I have every day that I see a student doing a move that I was able to teach them; it’s an unbelievable moment. Every time I get on the mat and I sweat with those around me, those amazing people that I admire and I keep going as a fighter and as a teacher. It’s an amazing moment. I was lucky that I embrace a profession that, to me, is not a work at all. It’s a pleasure. I was very fortunate for that. So if you ask me to pinpoint one moment, I don’t have; I have hundreds. I have one almost every day. That’s how great this sport is.


Stephanie: What qualities do a good teacher or instructor possess?


Catarina & RoranRenzo: I think passion. Passion for what he’s doing. I remember even when I was back in high school, the teachers that had the passion when they were teaching, they were the best teachers. That is what pushed me to be a great teacher because I could feel the passion that they taught, the passion that they explain to you and how grateful they were when you learn. I think that’s the best quality a teacher can have, is to have passion when he teach.


Stephanie: In your documentary, “Legacy,” we see Daniel Gracie describe your coaching style as “almost spiritual.” Do you believe that you have a “sixth sense” when it comes to teaching jiu-jitsu?


Renzo: I believe that there is a spiritual world, for sure, that looks after us, but I do believe in dedication and hard work. The devil is the devil, but only because he’s the devil…and he is old [laughs]. I am very fortunate to be able to be in an age that I can have access to the knowledge of all of the generations of my family up to now: from the first ones to the young one. That taught me a lot. So it’s like I am thinking and I am sensing and I fought too, so it gave me a lot of knowledge to be able to pass through to all the others. By analyzing different fighters, by knowing their game, I could predict everything that they were thinking about doing and how they thought about winning the fight, so it’s easy to prepare my guys to do the right job. For sure I think when you dedicate yourself you develop that; you develop the ability to see what the other guy is thinking about, how to beat him. If you can apply that in your coaching, it’s easy for them to get better. It’s, I think, one of the most important things you can have is a great coach.


Stephanie: Did you ever have a moment when you questioned your career path?


Renzo: I’m very good at interacting with people; I have a natural ability. I could change jobs today and I would be fine, but I knew I would succeed [with jiu-jitsu]. I never thought I could make money doing jiu-jitsu. I really thought about maybe joining the financial market. I had offers to work with them. I have a very close friend of mine, he’s the owner of the Bank of America in Brazil and many times he invite me to work with him, to work at his bank. He goes ‘Renzo, you will be able to make a fortune; I know you!’ But, I could never, because of the beauty that we had, our mission in life – every Gracie had it – was much more valuable than anything else. I believe I make a bigger difference with what I do than actually sitting behind a desk and getting my bank account fat. I have a very good life, financial-wise; I always thought I was going to have to have two jobs: jiu-jitsu and then something else. Fluently, I can speak just jiu-jitsu, you know?


Stephanie: Speaking of happiness and being fulfilled, in “Legacy,” your father [Robson Gracie] talks about how his happiness and his riches were his family and having you and your siblings as his children. When you saw that for the first time, how did it affect you and what did you take away from that?


Renzo: Oh, it brought tears to my eyes. It made me understand how great, how lucky I was to have a father like him. [He is] an amazing man. Every time I’m with him, I cherish that moment and I keep in my memory forever. He’s an amazing dad and a great teacher and I’m glad he pass a lot of knowledge – life knowledge – not only jiu-jitsu knowledge, but life knowledge, to me that I hope I can pass on to my kids, too.


Stephanie: If someone were trying to explain all of your accomplishments and your entire legacy that had no clue about BJJ, martial arts or the Gracie name, how would you want that person to describe you? What would you like to be remembered for most in this industry?


Renzo: I ask everybody to forget Renzo; just remember the Gracie name. Gracie name is the famous jiu-jitsu…the amazing people who proceed me. The Gracie name is the backbone of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Gracie jiu-jitsu.


Stephanie: For my readers who don’t know the background of Brazilian and Gracie jiu-jitsu, can you explain how your family developed the martial art from the Japanese jiu-jitsu and how it evolved?


Carlos Gracie

Renzo: Jiu-jitsu was taught to my grandfather, Carlos Gracie, by Mitsuyo Maeda, who was a jiu-jitsu practitionerfrom Japan. He came to the United States and he had an exhibition that they did for President Roosevelt at the White House. Since Maeda was the best back then, he wanted to be well-represented jiu-jitsu on the match and he wasn’t allowed; like they actually put a guy who was senior to him, but wasn’t a better fighter. So, this guy had the fight for the President and he ended up in a draw. Maeda was so frustrated that he abandoned the Japanese tour and left to Brazil to become a diplomat. With that, he met my grandfather and he started teaching jiu-jitsu. After Carlos learned jiu-jitsu, he began teaching his younger brothers in Rio de Janeiro in the first Gracie Academy. We became the capitol of jiu-jitsu after that; we grew the sport so much there that it became a huge influence in Brazil.


The difference was that the Japanese saw my grandfather was very weak physically; he walked around at 110 pounds. So he had to adapt his art for his body type. That’s the beauty of jiu-jitsu; you adapt to whatever body type you have. My grandfather wasn’t any different; he had to prove he’s the best, so they start working, him and his brothers. They thought if they believed they couldn’t lose, they would win the fight. Some matches were very long, like an hour, hour and a half, two hours long, but they walk out victorious because the other opponent couldn’t beat them. We create the best martial art like that, the best martial art to learn. You know, it’s like an American Express card; you should never leave home without it! [Laughs]


[Click Here for Part Two of My Interview with Renzo]


Photo Credits: Renzo Gracie & Family



On Houston’s 610 Sports Radio’s Mad Show this morning, Dana White revealed that if Cain Velasquez successfully defends his UFC heavyweight title at UFC 160 this Saturday against Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, his next title defense will be held in none other than HOUSTON, TEXAS. 


HUGE NEWS for the ‘Chopped n Screwed’ …and for Texas MMA in general, too! Click HERE for the full audio interview.


Follow me on twitter @stephaniejoplin for more breaking news and witty banter.



Photo via 

MMA: UFC 155-Dos Santos vs Velasquez 2

Healy1Imagine for a moment that you are across the Octagon from your competitor. You realize that with two rounds behind you, only five more minutes, and one very skilled contender, stand in the way of glory. Your corner blurts out excited sentences as the medic tends to the cuts on your visage. The crowd roars, the lights blind and your pulse quickens, yet you remain focused on the task at hand. Instantly, all you see is your opponent: the vanishing point on your half-painted canvas. The noise from the crowd is nothing but a dull, remote hum now as you stand to face your Goliath.


Suddenly, the referee is waiving you off your foe. You have finished the battle and rocked your opponent to sleep. As you take your place in the center of the Octagon, you await the announcement of your name. The moment arrives and, as your arm is raised, Bruce Buffer calls out…. your opponent’s name?!


For a split second, Pat ‘Bam Bam’ Healy (32-15) truly thought he had lost his marbles. After all, submitting top-10 lightweight Jim Miller (22-5) in a remarkable rear-naked choke is no easy task. What’s more, Miller did not even have a chance to tap.


“There was definitely a brief second of panic,” Healy laughs. “Like, man, what exactly just happened? I looked around and I could tell by everyone’s reaction that I won though.”


Apparently, this moment was Buffer’s very first “oops” in all his years with the UFC, but Pat takes it all in stride.



“It helps, you know? One more reason for somebody to talk about the fight.”


Another very obvious reason to keep talking about this fight: Healy took away honors (and a boatload of cash) for not only “Submission of the Night,” but also “Fight of the Night.”


“As soon as I got to the back [after the fight], I saw Bryan Caraway who had a sub that night too,” Pat recounts.  “We were kind of joking back and forth the whole time about who was going to get [SOTN]. When you go backstage, you really start thinking about those bonuses. You sit back and hope for one, but it’s kind of unreal. To get two of them, I definitely sleep a little better at night right now.”


Miller, whose only losses since 2009 came from the likes of Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson, took his most current win last December off Joe Lauzon at UFC 155. If you didn’t see that fight, do yourself a favor and watch it: it was one of the bloodiest battles I have ever seen. Naturally, it occurs to me that Healy was probably expecting a similar performance out of Miller this time around.


“Yeah, watching that last fight, what with the big success in it at such a high pace, I knew that [Jim] would try to have the same fight with me,” explains the Strikeforce vet.


The difference, of course, was that Pat did not aim for a win simply by decision. He was not going to leave it to chance once that bell sounded for round three.


“I felt like I had that momentum at that point pretty strong on my side. I learned back when I fought Josh Thomson that you really have got to fight for that finish at all times. That’s one thing I keep in my head now. I’m happy I was able to get [the technical submission].”


Pat Healy and Josh ThomsonYou should know that Thomson is the only person to finish (hell, the only person to win, period) over Healy since 2009 at Strikeforce – M1/Fedor vs. Werdum.


“One thing I really learned mentally [since then] is I don’t ever think of the third round as ‘man, I got to take him down, hold him down and I can get that decision,’” Healy reiterates. “That’s kind of what I was trying to do when Josh reversed position and choked me out; I try to keep that finish in my mind.”


I ask if he thinks a re-match between he and Thomson would go down differently today.


“For sure,” he replies. “A lot of things have changed since I lost to Josh. I started going out to Hawaii to train with B.J. [Penn]; I learned a lot from him. I focus a lot more on technique. That has been something that has helped turn my career around. It’s gotten me a lot better a lot faster.”


As a Strikeforce crossover, Healy knows all-too-well the cynicism that surrounded his fellow fighters as they made the transition into the UFC. It has been apparent, judging by fellow talents such as Luke Rockhold, Gilbert Melendez, Daniel Cormier and Gegard Mousasi that these cage bosses are certainly here to stay.


“That’s the way the media and the fans look at it. Everything outside the UFC is second best,” Healy tells me. “Most people don’t know there’s a sport called ‘MMA.’”


I start cracking up and blurt out, “Oh, you don’t train UFC?”


“[Laughs] Everybody’s heard that ONE too many times!” Pat says, cutting up. “The basic fans know the UFC above everything. I think in Strikeforce, the top guys were at a really high level and we are proving that now.”


Pat was supposed to face the most recent UFC lightweight belt contender, Gilbert Melendez, twice before Strikeforce dissolved; yet, both times, Melendez backed out. I ask Healy if he believes Gilbert ducked him or if they were legitimate circumstances.


“I think the first time, [Melendez pulled out] without a doubt, he was injured,” Pat tells me. “But the second time, when our fight was about to happen and it was when we were all kind of moving to the UFC, he just made a business decision. With him fighting for the title in the UFC, I think that was the right business decision. I’m not bitter about it.”


Some report that Healy is “over” a Melendez match-up, while others say he would accept the challenge heartily. Pat clears things up for me:


“I wouldn’t mind it. Everybody was asking me about it for so long; ‘You want Melendez? You want Melendez?’” he mimics. “Everyone thought I had, like, a quest for him, but I just wanted to win the belt and he was the guy that had it. So I guess I was just over getting asked about the Melendez fight so much. If they were to offer it to me I wouldn’t be upset about it.”


Speaking of the belt, what does the Oregon-native really think of Benson?


“I think he’s a really tough champion. He has had some close fights where he barely edged out. He’s the champ for a reason and he’s definitely a tough champion to overcome.”


As for the recent lightweight championship bout, Healy had this to say:

“I really thought Melendez just edged it out first, second and fifth round. But it was really close. Sometimes they want [the challenger] to come in and just really ‘beat’ the champ, so…” Pat tapers off. “But, definitely, Ben pulled it out. Nothing too drastic [happened], nobody got robbed, or almost finished in the submission. It wasn’t too terribly dramatic.”


I tell Pat that I have to ask him a very serious question: does Bendo’s hair “situation” affect him as a fighter?



“[Laughs] I think that has to affect him a little bit,” Healy admits. “Watching that last fight he was adjusting it so much! I was sitting watching it with a bunch of friends and they were all talking about it, like, ‘Man he’s going to time him trying to put his hair back and hit him in the face when he does it!’ He should do something about it, for sure.”


The question on everyone’s lips is who is Bam Bam’s next opponent? Who does he want?


“I don’t know what’s going on right now,” he sighs. “I have really been racking my brain looking at the top five, ten guys and wondering what they’re going to do. I’d like to try to fight a guy coming off a win; I’ve been on a winning streak. But Melendez lost; that would still be a good fight I think. They say if [Jose] Aldo wins [against Anthony Pettis, who is moving to featherweight to take on the Brazilian native] that he is going to come up to 155 and fight Benson. Really I don’t know who to call out or who to want to fight; it’s all jumbled up in there right now. I wish I had a better answer than that!”


Is 155 Healy’s ideal fighting weight?


“Yeah definitely, I wouldn’t move. The guys at 170 are so big; they have such a bigger frame,” he says. “Like, rolling around with Mike Pierce, who I train with, really let’s me know that I belong at 155. I walk around at like 185; I’m certainly not a small 155-pounder. It takes some work; I get pretty lean when I get down there.”


So how does Pat maintain himself at his physical peak in terms of diet?


“It’s really green, a lot of vegetables,” he explains. “It’s really the portions; I never get a big, hearty meal. That’s what I miss. It’s at least five or six weeks that I don’t get to have a meal where I walk away really full.”



Steak and potatoes? Not for this dude.


“I really love breakfast; that’s always been my thing. I was thinking, like, a big eggs benedict and pancakes. Breakfast is the only way to go for me.”


Another need-to-know (for me, of course): who would Pat fight if he could choose one person in his weight class, past or present, to fight today?


“You know, I think it would have been…not that I have anything against him…but Jens Pulver back in the day,” he says. “Like, the original badass at lightweight.” [Click here for my interview with Jens.]


Hypotheticals aside, Pat is dedicated to the path ahead.


“My goal in the UFC is to win the lightweight world championship,” he affirms. “You know, if you’re not working for that, I don’t really know what you’re doing. I want to be able to keep fighting and have moments like this, man. I mean, doing what I love to do. I can’t imagine doing anything else. As long as this ride can keep going, I like it!”


For now, Healy will take some time to hang with his best buddy.


“I have some weird habits that don’t really co-exist very well together,” Healy chuckles. “I like guns. I like bird hunting with my dog. I have a German Wirehair Pointer named ‘Finnigan.’ He’s my right hand man and he’s a much better bird dog than I am a shot. It’s so fun to watch him work. He has a smile on his face; it’s weird, you can see it. He’s like the ultimate man’s dog: the dog that’s not afraid of anything, that will jump off cliffs into the water…he’s pretty cool.”


Healy2I presume that Finnigan will be accompanying his ‘human’ on a one-way ticket to Hawaii, where Healy will soak up the sun and get to work once again with his mentor, B.J. Penn.


Lastly, Healy and I talk about the importance of family. It’s pretty evident that he would give them the world if he could (although, I think he plans to, eventually):


“I have an identical twin brother [Ryan] and he just had twin girls,” says Uncle Pat. “[Ryan] is an assistant GM at the UFC gym in Hillsboro [Oregon]. My goal is to invest in a gym and have my brother run it; he’s great at that stuff. If I can help and we can build a business together, what could be more satisfying than that?”




Pat would like to thank:


“Jason House with Iridium Sports Agency. It’s the first time we worked together and I think he did a great job. I really appreciate everything he did for me and all the companies that sponsored me for the fight.”


Photo Credits: Bleacher Report  Cage Wall  MMA News Uncensored  Fight Time  Cage Potato  & Pat Healy.

Internet sensation and juiced up cartoon man, Tommy Toe Hold, came to visit me down in Texas this past weekend. Take a look as Tommy tells the world why the Texas MMA scene, especially in Houston, is soon becoming a force to be reckoned with in the UFC.

Check out UFC 162 on Saturday, July 6th, as Texas takes over, with appearances from the likes of Andrew Craig, Brian Melancon, Charles Oliveira and Tim Kennedy.

HUGE thank you to Tommy for putting this together for and also to Andrew for being such a good sport.
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