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TRAINING: It's just training, nothing typical. We work on all aspects of the MMA game, so that's striking, wrestling, groundwork, sparring, condition and strength training, etc. So having so much to work on every day is different.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training at the age of 17 and fought my first serious fight at 19 years old. My brother took me to the gym to defend myself and I was a youngster with a lot of energy. My brother showed me that I could use the energy in sport and he was right. After a while, I enjoyed working out and eventually fighting for a living.
What ranks and titles have you held? 2h2h World champion, 1st place European ADCC
third place Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, Dream Champion, K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Champion, former Strikeforce heavyweight champion
Do you have any heroes? No
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? I did always expect myself to get into the UFC at one point in my career. I didn’t know when that was gonna be, but I did always see myself in the UFC at some time.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? Yes, I finished college but never had the desire to continue with school. I discovered pretty quick that I wanted to be a athlete or join the army.
What was your job before you started fighting? My brother works in security, so when I was young and fighting I tried to make some extra money by doing security work as a bouncer.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? Fighting people that I looked up to in the beginning of my career like Belfort, Igor Vovanchyn and Peter Aerts and beating them is extra special. My first fight against Badr Hari was also a special accomplishment; people never thought I could win that fight and beat him in the first round via KO.
Favorite grappling technique: Guillotine
Favorite Striking technique: Knees