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Interview: Andrei Arlovski Talks Lessons Learned and Future Goals in Strikeforce

by Cage Potato contributor Matt Kaplan

With his new Strikeforce deal completed, it seems like “The Pitbull” might soon be barking up a couple of old trees.

Popular Strikeforce heavyweight Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (15-7) is set to take on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva on May 15, and while he isn’t looking past the big Brazilian, he understands that a win over Silva could put him in position to avenge his devastating 2009 losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers in the not-so-far future.

Since his June loss to Rogers, Arlovski has murdered Mike Pyle, beaten up a bully, done a ton of video blogging, and trained with some of the best camps in MMA. Arlovski recently signed a new multi-fight deal with Strikeforce, and the former UFC heavyweight champ is looking to avoid a third straight loss. Arlovski has lost two consecutive fights three times in his career, and if history teaches us anything, it’s that 1) the first man killed in the American Revolution was Crispus Attucks, and 2) after back-to-back losses, Arlovski quickly goes back to crushing people. The sometimes hairy, always scary Arlovski says he has a few scores to settle in Strikeforce, but before he can do that, he needs history to repeat itself on May 15 against “Bigfoot.”

Kaplan: You’ve announced on your 16-month, multi-fight deal with Strikeforce. Exactly how many fights are you hoping to have in the coming 16 months?

Arlovski: I hope to have four fights in the next 16 months. The first one is against “Bigfoot” Silva on May 15.

In the eight months that you were out of MMA competition, was your focus on a return to the cage, or were you considering other pursuits?

I worked on many things and one of them was getting back in the cage. I spent quite a bit of time training and working on technique. I also took a month to film Universal Soldier 3 and had a fun exhibition boxing match with Fres Oquendo in Miami at The Blacks’ Annual Gala.

Are you still concentrating heavily on boxing?

I have definitely been focusing on my MMA overall, but I do enjoy improving my boxing every day. I am working on my grappling, BJJ, wrestling.

Your first challenge after some time off is a big one. Share with us your impressions on “Bigfoot” Silva. What special challenge does he present to you?

My impression is that he is a tough guy. Silva has long arms, heavy hands, and is very good at BJJ. All of my fights have been tough ones, so I am just going to have to put together the best game plan and overcome any challenges.

What prompted you to spend time with the Greg Jackson camp for this fight?

I got introduced to Greg Jackson through some friends in the fight world. I thought that it would be a good idea to learn something different, to add to my training in Chicago, and to work with some new, talented sparring partners.

What do you feel has been the biggest benefit of your time with Jackson?

I was interested in learning from him. He is a very well respected coach, and I really enjoyed my time in New Mexico. Greg helped teach me some really good combinations, and I got the opportunity to train some with Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, and some other great members of their team.

Do you plan on spending more time with that camp?

I had planned on going out there a few weeks ago, but that trip got canceled because he was busy with GSP. I ended up going out and spending some time at AKA in San Jose, and that was a great experience as well.

You said on your website that you’re eager to show everyone what you “have been working on the last few months.” What changes can fans expect to see?

Matt, you are just going to have to wait till May 15 for that one. But thank you for listening to my live video chats.

Your last two fights ended in KO losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers. What did you take away from those losses?

Keep my hands up and don’t try the flying knee (smiles).

Is a rematch with Fedor and/or Brett important to you? Has there been any discussion of either with Strikeforce?

Honestly, I need to take things one step at a time. I just signed my contract and I need to get a win with “Bigfoot” Silva before I can even think about a rematch with Fedor or Rogers. But yes, I would eventually like a rematch with both of them.

How do you see the Strikeforce heavyweight division?

Strong. I have some unfinished business to do there.

Overall, what do you hope to accomplish during the next 16 months of your Strikeforce tenure? After that?

I have no idea after that. I want to succeed and win and have some exciting fights over the next 16 months. Who knows, maybe that will include a rematch with Rogers and/or Fedor.

Cagepotato Comments

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robthom- April 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm
^^ Lol.

Good luck AA.

(Fingers crossed)
Fear Itself- April 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm
Someone tell Brandon Vera: THAT'S how you stand and point into the air in immodestly tight pants.
peckawoodd- April 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm
I have a theory that I can back up with no evidence or scientific facts. His legs are too weak. Weak legs= feeble chin. Ya gotta start doing them powa lifts, buddy, c'man!
Lorenzoe553- April 6, 2010 at 5:12 pm
if u get rocked ur not thinking about wats behind u.
agentsmith- April 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm
On top of keeping his hands up, he should also try not to back straight up into the cage when a guy rushes him. You'd think someone who's trained in boxing as much as him would know that.
ghostboner- April 6, 2010 at 12:59 pm
As I have been telling you fools for sometime now, the glorious return of the Great AA is afoot. Prepare yourselves. Buy a Swiss army knife, and pray for that unfortunate Bigfoot fellow.
MK- April 6, 2010 at 12:14 pm
RwilsonR, you are exactly correct! I mixed up my history with my Harper Lee. Shameful...
Lorenzoe553- April 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm
when arlovski fought fedor he was winning that fight. fedor wasnt landing any of his punches because arlovski was beating him to it every time with the jab and the straight right. where he fucked up was when he jumped in trying for flying knee at the same time fedor was coming back from the ropes with one of his big over the head right. he hadnt even lifted his knee up before getting hit by fedor and his hands were both down. rogers got him with a big left hook in a flurry of punches and just stuck to him once arlovski stepped back showing he was rocked. none the less getting knocked out by rogers or fedor is nothing to be ashamed of. the WAY fedor got him, maybe.
Defender- April 6, 2010 at 11:59 am
Skeletor +1

RwilsonR- April 6, 2010 at 10:36 am
knucklesamitch is absolutely right that it is Attucks, not Atticus. And in assuming you mixed your elementary school memories between Revolutionary War trivia and a vague recollection of reading To Kill a Mocking Bird in making your first point, I think we might also assume that your second point is equally flawed, and that Arlovski is doomed in his next fight. Poor bastard just can't catch a break.
rlh61- April 6, 2010 at 10:32 am
I was wondering the same thing regarding the three straight loss comment. The way I read it, mission accomplished...he beat Pyle after the Fedor/Rogers losses.
Me- April 6, 2010 at 10:30 am
I couldn't edit my post comment fast enough. We'll just leave it at that. I need to click links.
skeletor- April 6, 2010 at 10:13 am
Another big difference between being an Arlovski fan and a cubs fan is if you're an Arlovski fan it doesn't garuntee that you're wife, sister, mother and grandmother are dirty smelly whores. Plus Arlovski has a little bit better chance at winning a world series.
provrorsbarn- April 6, 2010 at 10:05 am
Hes got no chin....enough is enough
jimbonics- April 6, 2010 at 10:02 am
War Russian Roulette!

Defender- April 6, 2010 at 9:58 am
I have always been an Arlovski fan, but really it's like being a Cubs fan. You really want him to win, but you just know something is going to eff it up. Dudes glass jaw is the stuff of legend at this point.

I'll always root for him, but when he loses I'm not afraid to say:

"Yeah...that's kinda what I figured would happen."

Pretty sure the secret is he needs to grow his hair back out.
knucklesamitch- April 6, 2010 at 9:38 am
Crispus Attucks was the dude's name.
LukeTheDuke- April 6, 2010 at 9:25 am
Very excited. Watching Andrei beat Sylvia for the title with the ankle lock got me into MMA in the first place.... In a world where you try to pound the dude out on the ground this guy drops back for the sub. A true MMA fighter. Very glad to hear he is coming back. WAR PITBULL.
Derekrva- April 6, 2010 at 9:22 am
Always want to see Arlovski perform well. His last two fights exposed his main weaknesses, but he is a talented fighter and I think he'll out maneuver the slower Silva en route to a decision victory. Or he will be laid out again..we'll see.
Anonymous Henchman 0731- April 6, 2010 at 9:16 am
I've always been a big fan of the Pitbull...that's gonna be a hell of a fight. Hopefully that Faberge chin will hold up!
Chu9001- April 6, 2010 at 9:04 am