(On second thought, no, I wasn’t going to finish my sandwich. Please, by all means. Props to Esther Lin.)
Last night, Strikeforce sent out a roundup of quotes from a media conference call held yesterday, where Scott Smith, Andrei Arlovski, and Brett Rogers took questions about their upcoming matchups on June 6th. While Arlovski didn’t say much other than he was excited for the fight and he should have stuck to his gameplan against Fedor, "The Grim" stole the show, discussing everything from his preparation for Arlovski to Alistair Overeem acting like a fool. Here are some highlights:
What are your thoughts on being offered this big step up in opposition?
Rogers: Once I got the phone call and Arlovski was set in stone, I was excited. I remember watching this guy at a younger age and thinking, ‘man I get to take on someone like that?’ He’s an explosive guy; he likes to move around. It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but nothing I don’t think I can handle. He’s big, slimmer guy. He likes to move, he likes to be quick and move his hands. I’m kind of mellow with the fighting stance, so it’s definitely going to be me taking my time and controlling the fight.’’
How long have you been training for this fight — after planning on fighting Alistair Overeem?
Rogers: I was hoping someone would bring that up. I thought I was fighting him, but I got this one about three weeks ago. It’s cool because, the way I see it, it’s actually going to be a better fight than the one with Overeem would have been. With Overeem, we might have ended up on the ground and did all that up-and-down stuff. With Arlovski, he likes to stand and bang and I like to do that too. This is going to make for a better fight. I was putting in some time for Overeem. Then he wanted to act like a fool. He’s a pro fighter and he wanted to act like a fool. That’s on him. I’m moving onto bigger and better. I’m getting this fight. I’ll knock Arlovski out and hopefully move on to somebody better. I’m trying to get into that top-10 ranking. This isn’t going to be forever so I need to make my move like right now when I’m healthy.’’
Can you talk about the pressure that was involved with the Abongo fight?
Rogers: “You can pull anyone from the street and tell them you’re going to get ‘x’ amount of money, you’re definitely going to feel that pressure that you’ve got to get out there and do whatever. I went into that fight with that kind of mindset. I knew a small amount of his background and I wasn’t going to give him a small chance of doing anything. That’s when I decided just to clog whatever he wanted to do and just stay up on him. I just went in there, clogged his stuff and did what I needed to do. There was too much money riding on it. If I didn’t win that fight, I’d still be working. I feel like I’m still in the same situation with the Arlovski fight. If I move forward, it’s great, but if I don’t I’ve got a problem. He’s just another man. He walks around with vampire teeth; he’s supposed to be a monster. We’ll, I’m a monster too. I like to go in there and just hurt. That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to do anything else. None of that soft tacky stuff … just hurt.’’
How do you grade Arlovski?
Rogers: “I give his standup a high rank because he does like to use his hands. He can move his head really good. He has a nice right, I’ll give him that. But, as far as anything else go, there isn’t anything that would make me nervous. I’m just the type of fighter that likes to control the pace. I’m going to be the heavier fighter. I’m sure he’s going in around 250. I’m always on top of the weight. I just have to stand and bang with him. That’s all I can do, really. If he gets real careless or real crazy I might have to just check him and bang him around the ring a little bit and try to calm him down. I’m not going into this fight to try and be bouncey-bouncey with him.’’
Do you feel your only way of winning is by a knockout?
Rogers: “I won’t say it’s my only way of winning. First and foremost that’s going to be the first thing I go for. If it comes down to us turning around on the ground, I feel safe with the Jiu-Jitsu game. I know he has a background in that, but he’s just another man. It’s just another day in the gym, except we’re going 100 percent. Hopefully, he’s not sleeping on that.’
Who is it that you have your eye on in the heavyweight division?
Rogers: “I did have my mind set on that belt. I was kind of concentrating on that. So whenever Overeem heals, I’m going to go for that. Pretty much I want to fight anybody people say are better than me. I’ll fight Overeem, I’ll fight Arlovski, I’ll fight Fedor. I’ll fight whoever is up there. I’m going for all the top-10 guys in the heavyweight division.’’