betty brosmer photos
Classic Crush: 31 Photos of Betty Brosmer, Legendary Pin-Up Girl

Tag: retrospective interview

Chris Leben: The CagePotato Retrospective Interview

Chris Leben UFC interview
(“I want people to look at me and say, ‘Wow, this is where he started and look where he ended up.’” Photo props: MMA Weekly)

By Ben Goldstein

Over the last six years, we’ve watched Chris Leben evolve from The Ultimate Fighter‘s original wild-ass brawler, to a multi-faceted contender who has the tools to defeat virtually any middleweight opponent on any given night. In fact, two of Leben’s last three fights have resulted in the greatest victories of his entire career — his epic UFC 116 Fight of the Night against Yoshihiro Akiyama, and his stunning 27-second knockout of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132.

On November 5th, Leben will headline UFC 138 in Birmingham, England, against Mark Munoz, in a meeting that could put one of them on the short-list for a title shot. We spent some time on the phone with the Crippler last week and discussed all the notable battles in his life that have led him to where he is today, facing yet another massive opportunity. Enjoy, and check out our previous Retrospective Interviews right here.

THE ORIGIN STORY

(Matt Lindland, overdressed as usual.)

CHRIS LEBEN: “I think I was in the fourth grade when I got into my first fight. I can’t remember what it was over — something on the playground. But that was my first real, non-wrestling match, hitting-each-other-in-the-face kind of fight. And all the other kids just stood around and watched. I didn’t get into fights a lot, but I definitely had some good ones, like all kids that are a little more on the wild side.

I did a little wrestling in grade school, and something called Christian Karate that I did in like third grade. Then I started boxing in eighth grade and I actually took that really seriously.

Even when I was in junior high, my plan was always to fight in the UFC. I joined Team Quest right after I turned 21. You have to remember that at 185 pounds, I was training with Matt Lindland, Evan Tanner, Chael Sonnen, Ed Herman — we were all in the same room, every day. And every day I walked into the gym, my first coach Robert Follis would say, ‘Good morning Chris, how are you doing?’ And I’d say, ‘Did you get me a fight yet? Did you get me a fight yet?’ I’d never say, ‘Good morning, how are you,’ it was always ‘Did you get me a fight yet?’ I believe it was about six months until I had my first amateur fight.”

Read More DIGG THIS

Chris Lytle: The CagePotato Retrospective Interview

Chris Lytle UFC photos Rocky poster
(“I’d rather lose the best fight of my life than win the worst.” Photo courtesy of Sherdog)

On August 14th, Chris Lytle will step into the Octagon for the 20th time in his career, when he squares off against Dan Hardy at the aptly-named UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It will be Lytle’s first-ever headlining bout for the UFC — as well as an opportunity to re-claim the title of “Most Bonus-Worthy Fighter in UFC History.” (He currently shares the honor with Anderson Silva and Joe Lauzon.) We recently spoke to “Lights Out” about some of his most memorable UFC fights, his upcoming scrap against Hardy, his crowd-pleasing style, and the tough lessons he’s learned along the way. Enjoy…

CHRIS LYTLE vs. BEN EARWOODLytle’s UFC debut
UFC 28, 11/17/00
Result: Defeat via unanimous decision
Chris Lytle Ben Earwood UFC 28 photos

“I’d been fighting for less than two years at the time, but as soon as I started training, I got really involved in watching the UFC. I knew who all the key guys were and I knew it was the pinnacle of the sport, so it was my goal to be there. We only fought two five-minute rounds [at UFC 28], and they’d started having fighters wear gloves not too long before, so it was just way different. Earwood was more of a wrestler — he just tried to hold me down. I don’t think they stood us up once.

Back then I was training with Jason Godsey and a few other guys maybe two or three times a week. Every one of us had real jobs, full-time jobs, and this was something we did for fun. I definitely felt like we were good fighters — Jason was King of Pancrase, and beat a lot of good guys — but we didn’t train every day. And after that fight I kind of realized…I didn’t feel like Earwood was any better of a fighter than me, I just felt like he had a better gameplan than I did, he stuck with it, and he trained more than I did.

Read More DIGG THIS

Dan Henderson: The CagePotato Retrospective Interview

Dan Henderson Wanderlei Silva PRIDE
(Knocking out Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE 33 was “definitely a much bigger accomplishment than anything else I’ve done.” / Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

With 14 years of battles under his belt, Dan Henderson has bridged the gap between the old-school and the new-school. He started competing in 1997 — long before “Zuffa” and “the Unified Rules” entered the MMA lexicon — and his first four appearances were in single-night tournaments, where he was often pitted against seasoned fighters with years of experience. (Luckily, Henderson had his Olympic-caliber wrestling background to fall back on, and went 9-0 in those tournaments.)

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Henderson evolved with the sport, and has managed to remain one of the world’s top fighters. Coming off a first-round knockout of Renato Sobral in December, Henderson returns to the cage this Saturday in the main event of Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson, where he’ll be challenging Rafael Cavalcante for the promotion’s light-heavyweight belt. We caught up with Dan to get some war stories about his long career and his thoughts on what lies ahead…

Becoming ‘Hendo’: The Brazil Open ’97 (6/15/97)
def. Crezio de Souza via TKO, 5:25
def. Eric Smith via technical submission (guillotine choke), 0:30

Read More DIGG THIS

Rich Franklin: The CagePotato Retrospective Interview

Rich Franklin UFC MMA photos
("When you put your focus on one thing, you tend not to focus on the journey. Once you get there, it’s not going to be as big of a deal as you thought it was going to be.")

This Saturday, Rich Franklin will step into the Octagon for the 18th time to face Forrest Griffin in the co-headlining feature of UFC 126. During his 12-year career, Ace has experienced everything from championship glory to bitter defeat, and now stands as one of the sport’s most revered statesmen. “I think that what people will remember me for is that I’m a tough competitor who’s put on entertaining fights for the fans all these years," Franklin tells CagePotato. "And I’m happy with that kind of legacy.”

Rich was generous enough to give us some phone-time recently, and instead of asking him about his gameplan for Forrest, we discussed Franklin’s career as a whole, from the moment he decided to pursue MMA as a full-time job, to the fight that changed his life, to every other notable moment that helped forge the fighter he is today. Let’s begin…

The Early Days, 1993-1999
Rich Franklin: “I started training in traditional martial arts in 1993, then I saw the first couple UFCs and started doing some jiu-jitsu. I was training at a Royce Gracie chapter here in Cincinnati, and the guy who was leading my class was a blue belt. By today’s standards, if the best you had in your area was a blue belt, you’d be way behind the times, but in 1994 it was a big deal to have that kind of a resource. So I was doing jiu-jitsu, working with kickboxing coaches, and of course I’d been watching the UFC, learning off instructional tapes and all those kinds of things.

I started fighting at these little local amateur shows out in Richmond, Indiana, and clearly at that point in time, I was just light-years ahead of the competition that was showing up at the event. The promoter told me, ‘These are amateur events, I don’t really have anybody for you to fight.’ But there was a gentleman there who said, ‘You know what, I run a pro show, and I’ll pay you to fight." And he offered me 200 bucks. I was like, ‘Wow, I can make money fighting? This is great. I’m gonna make 200 bucks." I was bankin’.

RICH FRANKLIN (5-0) vs. AARON BRINK (7-4)Franklin’s first regional title fight
IFC: Warriors Challenge 11, 1/13/01
Result: No contest due to accidental injury, after Brink’s leg slipped through the cage.

Read More DIGG THIS
CagePotatoMMA