(Tuchscherer puts Alexey Oleinik right where he wants him during the semi-finals of YAMMA Pit Fighting last April. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
With a record of 17-1 and wins over UFC vets like Krzysztof Soszynski, Travis Fulton, and Branden Lee Hinkle, Chris Tuchscherer has been paying his dues for over five years. And yet, the 33-year-old North Dakota native and former two-time NCAA Division II All-American wrestler was told "no dice" when he tried out for TUF 10 earlier this year. Luckily, the UFC came to their senses and decided to give the Crowbar a shot against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 102 this Saturday, in a match that could be pivotal for both of their careers. After months of training with long-lost-twin Brock Lesnar, Tuchscherer is ready to test his might in the Octagon. And his first opponent had better watch the hell out…
CAGEPOTATO: You tried out for the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, and ended up with a contract to fight Gabriel Gonzaga. How exactly did that come about?
CHRIS TUCHSCHERER: I thought I was going to get on the show — I tried out, everything was looking good, I got a second interview — then I got home and I got a call saying I wasn’t going to make the show. Later on that week, I got an e-mail from Joe Silva with a contract offer, so it worked out for the best. But I honestly couldn’t tell you why it went down like that. I was never told, like, “your record is this good, so we just want you to have a contract.”
If you did end up as a castmember on this season of TUF, how do you think you’d do?
I think I would have done very well. I would have seen myself as one of the guys to make it to the finals.
At UFC 102 you’ll be facing Gabriel Gonzaga, who’s very dangerous but has been somewhat inconsistent during his time in the UFC. Do you view this fight as a big step up in competition?
Well, I’ve faced some pretty good guys in the past. Gonzaga’s made his resume as a dangerous opponent in every aspect of the game, so I guess it’ll be a step up in competition considering where he’s been so far, but I don’t look at him as being any better of a man than me, or intimidating to me, because we’re all the same. He got his shot in the UFC in a different way, he made a name for himself right when he got in there, and he is who is now.
I’ve seen a few of your fights online, and your general strategy seems to be to take your opponent down and finish the fight with strikes from the top. Is that pretty much how it’s going to go down against Gonzaga?