(I love to see a man so bald and yet so happy.)
The Ultimate Fighter‘s Krzysztof Soszynski (known around these parts as K-Sos) came up short in his semifinals match-up with Vinny Magalhaes on last night’s show, but his skills certainly caught Dana White’s eye enough to land him a fight against Shane Primm on next weekend’s finale.
In this exclusive interview, K-Sos recounts his experience, discusses life with Junie Browning, and what we can expect when he gets in the Octagon next Saturday night and fights to keep his dream alive.
CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me Krzysztof. Watching the show, it seemed like you were one of the few guys who didn’t get too bothered by being in the house. Did it ever get to you like it did with some of the other guys?
Oh, absolutely. To be honest, it’s a mental game more than anything while you’re there. It’s a six-week mental challenge. That’s what it is. The physical part was easy. You’re only training about four hours a day. You can go when you want, you can miss practice if you need to rest, but you’re in that house for twenty hours a day no matter what. That was the real challenge. Those who passed will probably go on to do well. Those who didn’t, they might have some problems down the road.
It sounds like we’re talking about Junie there, so I’ll just ask, did you think he should have been kicked off? Did you guys really want him to stay, or did Dana White kind of talk everybody into that?
To be honest, everybody expected him to get kicked off. We expected him to get kicked off the first day he got in when he became the crazy drunk kid. But when he threw that glass, we thought for sure that one of the other guys was going to get a shot at Efrain. So it was very surprising that Dana didn’t kick him off.
We kind of understood that the kid wanted to be gone, he wanted to leave on a good note so he could say, ‘I didn’t lose. I would have been the best fighter, but Dana White kicked me off.’ So I see Dana White’s point. And, we all wanted to see him lose. I think everyone in that house wanted to see him lose. Justice was served.
You quickly got the reputation of the prankster on the show. Is that something you did just to deal with the tedium of the house, or are you a prankster by nature?
No, I don’t usually pull any pranks at all. I just needed to find something to help the days go by quicker, the help me get through the stress of being away from my family, my wife and my son. It’s six weeks of being locked up in a house with people I didn’t know, except for Vinny and Elliot. It was just something that I could do rather than turning to drinking, and I thought it would help put a smile on my face, hopefully a smile on other people’s faces too. Some of them were stupid and childish, but some of them I thought were legitimately funny. And it worked to help get me through, most importantly.
Since you and Vinny knew each other and trained together at Team Quest, it must have been difficult to go out there and fight him.
Yeah, that was probably the hardest fight I’ve ever had to go through because Vinny and I know each other so well. He knows exactly my weaknesses, he knows exactly my strengths. I know his weakness and his strengths, so it was very hard. We both had to come with a good game plan. Obviously he just got his game plan into action a little better than I did.
It looked like you were controlling the fight early on before he locked on the armbar. When you get caught in a submission like that after winning the beginning of the fight, does it just make you wish you could fight the guy again right away?
No, not really. You never know. You could fight the same guy ten times and maybe you’ll win five or maybe you’ll win nine. It’s hard to say just from one fight. What surprised me was when he pulled guard. He’d never done that in training with me at Team Quest. He’d never done it before in training at the house. And I’ve never really seen him adopt that strategy with anyone else. So when he pulled guard it was like, ‘Holy smokes, what’s with this?’ I was just upset with myself for letting him do that and using to catch me in a submission.
What do you think of Vinny’s chances in the finals?
I’m pulling for him 100%. Regardless of what happened between us in the house, some of the shit-talking that went on, I think he’s going to have bright future in the UFC. He’s got a really good chance of beating Bader. Bader’s an animal, but Vinny’s no slouch and if he improves his standup game, and I’ve heard he has since he’s been training with Xtreme Couture and Shawn Tompkins, I think he’s going to have a great chance.
You’re fighting Shane Primm on the finale show, so your future in the UFC is still up in the air, I suppose.
Yeah, this has been a 5 1/2-year goal in the making. I think everyone who gets into this sport wants to fight in the UFC eventually. That’s been my goal, and that’s why I took the opportunity to be on “The Ultimate Fighter.” I didn’t win the semis, but they’re giving me another shot on the finale next weekend. If I put on the show I’m supposed to and beat my opponent, I can make it happen.
With something like this, does the UFC explicitly tell you that if you win this fight you’ll get a contract, or is it just kind of assumed?
No, they never said anything like that at all. Dan Henderson made a couple phone calls for me to ask them what’s going on, if I was going to fight, and they told him that I’d be in the finale and then we’d go from there. But I think we all know that if you lose on the finale show, your chances of making it to the UFC aren’t too great. If you win, you’ll probably get at least one more fight in the UFC, maybe more. My plan is to go in there, dominate against Shane Primm, and beat him up for as long as it takes.
It’s true that Nogueira was completely different in his style, it was a family atmosphere, everyone was together all the time. With us, the coaches were there to help us with whatever we needed. If you came in and told them what you wanted to work on, they let you do it and they helped you.
Everyone says Frank Mir was such an a-hole, and yeah, he said some stupid things sometimes, but I really enjoyed training with him. He’s a really smart fighter, he understands MMA really well, and he helped me a lot with my game. I was very pleased with the training I received.
Thanks for talking with me. Anything else you want to add?
Just stay tuned next week. It’s going to be a great show.