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TRAINING: Run with the dog at the crack of dawn in this fine English winter. Drive an hour to the Wolfslair to train techniques, BJJ, wrestling, and striking, or on the pads and some more cardio, then I spar in the evenings. I do that six days a week.
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 TUF9.
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.