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German Phenom Krauss Enters The UFC

“I watched The Ultimate Fighter season with Michael Bisping and said ‘that’s kinda cool, mixing it up.’ And my father was a wrestler, so I was interested in that too and I did that a little bit, so I said let’s mix it up and put it all together.”
In Germany, boxing has always been a huge draw, with arenas across the country packed with fans eager to see the likes of the Klitschko brothers, Arthur Abraham, and Sven Ottke doing their thing over the last decade. And if not for fate intervening, Breisach native Pascal Krauss might have joined in the party. But by 19, Krauss - a junior boxing champion in 2004 - felt like he had reached a fistic wall.

“I had a feeling that I couldn’t get further anymore because my coaches didn’t take that much time trying to help me out,” Krauss recalled. “I felt like I wasn’t stepping past a certain point.”
 
Then he saw The Ultimate Fighter season three, and suddenly new avenues opened up in his mind when it came to his combat sports future.

“I watched The Ultimate Fighter season with Michael Bisping and said ‘that’s kinda cool, mixing it up.’ And my father was a wrestler, so I was interested in that too and I did that a little bit, so I said let’s mix it up and put it all together.”

Surprisingly though, his father wasn’t the first one lining up for tickets to his son’s eventual MMA debut.

“Of course he’s into fighting, but he injured his knees by doing that sport, so that’s why he didn’t want me to get into that pretty young,” said Krauss. “He thought that maybe it’s not the healthiest sport for a person.”

The 23-year old chuckles.

“I made it somehow.”

He sure has. Considered to be one of Europe’s rising stars across all weight classes, Krauss has gone 9-0 with seven submissions and two knockouts since turning pro in 2008, proving himself to be a quick study in the hardest game. But it’s not all been gifted to him naturally, as Krauss has been eager to put his passport to work in order to learn his craft. From Brazil to New York, and most recently California, the German phenom has been racking up the miles, giving himself a decided edge over his fellow Euro prospects.

“For a fighter not fighting in a real big league (until now), I’ve traveled a lot,” he said. “I’ve been to Brazil and I’ve been to the States before and I’ve tried to get my game better by training at different places. It’s way more professional over here (in the US). It’s not that big right now in Germany. It’s growing but it needs some more years to get to the level it’s at over here. Back in Germany I have to go to a wrestling club and wrestle with them, go to a boxing club and box with them, and do jiu-jitsu at another place. There’s not like a real good MMA school over there where you can put it together. You have to do it yourself, but I love what I’m doing and I’m living my dream right now. Coming here and training for two months, staying in San Diego, hanging out at the beach, going to the gym and training with great guys, it’s fantastic.”

And after taking matters into his own hands, Krauss’ results speak for themselves. On Saturday, he takes his step up to the big leagues as he makes his UFC debut against the UK’s Mark Scanlon, and while Scanlon is a late replacement for the injured Kenny Robertson, the switch hasn’t affected the Freiburg resident in the least.

“I respect him as a fighter,” said Krauss. “He’s well rounded, he has a good record and he looks strong, but I think I will beat him.”

As for the prospect of protecting his “0”, fighting at home, and making his UFC debut all on the same night, again, he’s calm, cool, and collected.

“Anytime you fight you feel pressure,” he said. “I hate losing and if you’re getting more and more popular people watch you fight and they write about you, so there’s always pressure. Maybe it’s a little bit more this time, but I love fighting, so it’s good, and it’s the same for him.”

If it sounds like Krauss is more grounded than your usual 23-year old, that would probably be an accurate assessment of a young man whose ambitious goals are clear. Then again, he does have a good example to follow in one of his fighting heroes – current UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

“GSP is my role model,” said Krauss. “I’m trying to be good at every part of the game and trying to get better. I’m not just focusing on jiu-jitsu or just one part; I’m training everything good and then I look at what the weakest part of my opponent is and beat him there. Use your strengths against his weaknesses and I want to be a smart fighter – not just going in there to bang, but to also know about the other techniques and stuff.”

He also likes to finish, guaranteeing that he will be a fan favorite as well.

“Of course,” he smiles. “Never leave it to the judges, right?”


 

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