25 Aug 2010 12:54:11 PM
(Photo courtesy of MMAWeekly)
By CagePotato.com contributor Elias Cepeda
Gabe Ruediger (17-5) spent years developing a solid reputation as a talented submission fighter, racking up an impressive record and finally reaching the UFC. Then, with a loss in his debut and an embarrassing short-lived stint on The Ultimate Fighter 5, which saw him get KO’d by a scale and not an opponent, he saw it disintegrate in just a few months’ time.
That was in 2006. Since that time, Ruediger has had neck surgery, switched up teams, won and finished his last six fights, and has now found himself back in the UFC as he steps in for an injured Terry Etim to face another TUF 5 vet, Joe Lauzon. Gabe talks with CagePotato about how he survived becoming a laughing-stock and why he thinks Joe Lauzon is a “good kid,” but still wants to kick his ass.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: Gabe, you are filling in on short notice for Terry Etim to fight Joe Lauzon. The two of you, as well as his younger brother Dan, have been talking back and forth with each other for years. How did this fight finally come about?
GABE RUEDIGER: [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva approached us after my last fight and said that he wanted to bring me back but that it was hard to find a proper place for me with the lightweight division being so deep. They were unsure of what to do with me and wanted to give me a fight if they could find a really good matchup for me in terms of it being compelling. But I was in a good position at that time because all the major organizations were interested in me so I understood and was fine with that. When Terry Etim had to pull out of the fight with Joe and they called me I was more than thrilled and I think Joe was more than thrilled. The fight has a good back story to it.