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TRAINING: Run first thing in the morning. Wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu in the morning, and then striking and sparring in the evening.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I’ve been doing martial arts since I was eight years old, but I started training for mixed martial arts specifically in summer of 2003. I had done kickboxing and jiu-jitsu for years, but I took it up as a career in 2003. I had a lot of jobs but I had never been happy in anything I did, so when I did this, it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life – I’ve never been happier and so far things have been going really well.
Accomplishments in amateur competition? 1995 Silver medal – world jiu-jitsu championships; 5 x British kickboxing champion; God knows how many times British Sport jiu-jitsu champion.
Accomplishments in pro competition? Cage Rage Champion, Cage Warriors Champion, FX3 Champion, TUF 3 Champion, Coach on TUF 9 and TUF 14.
Ranks in any martial arts styles: None, unless you count 73rd in World Ninja Games 1999 (lack of smoke bomb skills let me down)
Favorite grappling technique: Triangle & Triple Decker Pecker Wrecker
Favorite Striking technique: Flying knee
Do you have any heroes? I’ve got nothing for respect for the guys at the top of the chain – guys like Chuck Liddell and Georges St-Pierre, and guys like Shogun Rua – I admire his style and I think he’s an exciting fighter.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It’s a dream come true. It’s the top organization in the world, and here it is, three years after I started, and I’m here. This is just a stepping stone into the UFC and hopefully I can go on and have a decent career here. I still can’t believe it, to be honest – it’s almost surreal.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I went for a little bit and then left.
What was your job before you started fighting? I was an upholsterer, making furniture, when I switched to MMA. Before that, you name it, I’ve done it, but all the crappy jobs though, nothing too flamboyant. I was a slaughterman, builder, and laborer.