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Exclusive: Bellator Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad on his First Title Defense and Post-Lesnar Team DeathClutch

Friday night, Bellator Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad kicked off an impressive weekend for heavyweight MMA with his first title defense against Eric Prindle at Bellator 70 in New Orleans, Louisiana. After the event, I managed to catch up with the champion in order to talk about his victory and the current state of Team DeathClutch. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my microphone with me (again), so at times the interview is hard to hear. I’ve taken the time to transcribe it for you, available after the jump. Great win tonight. You defended your title by submitting your opponent within one minute of the first round. How satisfying is it to get such a quick victory?

Cole Konrad: It’s extremely satisfying. You envision fights in your mind and how you think they’re going to go – or how they could potentially go – and I think it went pretty much according to plan. A little bit different maybe than I had envisioned it, but everything’s alright.

CP: What do you mean by a little bit differently than you envisioned it?

CK: Well, I was anticipating taking a shot I thought he was going to come in to me harder and well, he didn’t, obviously. We kind of kept our distance.

I had a good, strong feeling he was going to throw an overhand with his left, and I was kind of waiting on that, and waiting for him to come in to me. When he did, I just, you know, tied up and worked for a trip off that shot. But part of that was how he came in. So that was the difference of what I had envisioned.

CP: Up until tonight, fans have been a little critical of your performances. How satisfying was it to hear such a loud ovation after your win?

CK: It was satisfying, obviously. I would say obviously in the past I haven’t finished a lot of fights, that I had gone to the judges. That’s not great from a fan’s perspective, and I am a fan also of MMA, so I understand the frustration. From that standpoint, it was gratifying obviously to get this submission, and in short order, too.

CP: We didn’t really get to see it tonight, but how far along would you say your standup game has come?

CK: *laughing* You’ll have to keep waiting and watching! I think it’s come quite a ways, but you never know until you actually put it together out there.

CP: How has the climate at Team DeathClutch changed ever since Brock Lesnar has retired from MMA competition?

CK: It hasn’t changed too much, to be honest. We’re all still pretty much together. Obviously, Brock was a big factor in Team DeathClutch, so a little bit has changed. But for the most part, we’re all still together, rockin’ and rollin’.

CP: Were you a little surprised to see Brock retire when he did, and were you a little surprised to see him go back to pro-wrestling?

CK: No and no, actually. And I have nothing to base that on, it’s just a personal opinion.

Brock is a great guy, and I don’t have too much to say about him besides that. He knows what he wants and he goes after it, and I respect that. He must have known that the time was right to walk away and move on, and if that’s what he thought, I respect it. I wasn’t totally shocked by it, and at the same time, the guy goes after what he wants.

CP: Given that it’s heavyweight week for the UFC, how do you see yourself stacking up against the heavyweight division as a whole?

CK: You never know. That’s the beauty of MMA, you never know. They have some great fighters over at the UFC and I would love to be able to defeat some of them.

CP: One last question before we leave: It keeps coming up about the partnership between Bellator and TNA Wrestling. Would you ever consider doing something like that?

CK: *laughing* Why, do they need a fat kid?

I don’t know. You know, never say never, but where I’m at right now, I don’t think so.

Previously: Exclusive: Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney Talks Women’s MMA, Fighter Insurance, Impact Wrestling and More


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