Let’s change gears. Who are your top five fighters in the game right now and why?
Jon Jones, because he’s had such a meteoric rise. He’s cleaned out that division against guys who are the best in the world. Jose Aldo for pretty much the same reason, Aldo is so phenomenal on the sheet. What we don’t see a lot of is his jiu-jitsu. He’s got such a depth of knowledge with his skills and everything. Anderson Silva too for obvious reasons, he’s the man. Georges St-Pierre number four and Junior Dos Santos is number five.
What are some of your hobbies outside of MMA?
I like to cook a lot. That kind of goes hand-in-hand with my career, I have to eat well and try to eat healthy stuff.
So you’re not one for the outside nutritionist? It’s all on you, you’re making the menu everyday?
What’s the worst beating you’ve ever given and taken outside the Octagon?
I was at a concert with a friend of mine, my friend who’s a giant at 6’8", 300-plus pounds. This guy [at the concert] decides he doesn’t want to fight him, he wants to fight me, and it didn’t turn out real well for that guy. He got busted up, kneed in the face, and choked out.
Win, lose, or draw, I have to leave everything in the octagon and put on a really amazing fight for the fans.
The worst I’ve ever been beat up outside the cage? I’ve been jumped a couple of times. One time in particular, I was 17 and it was New Years, we were out partying and I guess I showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time. Got jumped by a bunch of dudes who were in their mid-to-late 20s. I ended up bleeding profusely in the back of a truck. [Laughs.]
Yikes. Who influenced you to become a fighter?
My fighting mentality and the fighting spirit was probably taught to me by my dad. Not so much the martial arts, but, my hard-nose approach to what I do. He taught me that in anything you do in your life, give it 100 percent. I got that from him, and that’s the reason I’ve been so successful.
When did you first start fighting?
I liked to fight from a really young age. I started getting into fights when I was a kid and it turns out I was good. I wasn’t really a bully, most times it was me defending myself. And for the most part I always came out on top. The first time I stepped into a mixed martial arts school, I was 15 years old, from there I knew this was what I wanted to do. Of course the sport wasn’t at all what it is today, and even the top guys in the sport weren’t making a career out of it, but it was something I wanted to do right off the bat.
What’s going through your head right before you walk out of the tunnel?
Basically, you’re just looking to keep a sweat going, keep your heart rate up. You don’t want to go out there cold. Just trying to keep yourself pumped up, not too hyped up but not too relaxed, just kind of right on the money as far as your mental state. Basically telling yourself this is go time, this is for real in about three and a half minutes.
What are your final thoughts going into UFC 154?
I’m honored to fight Georges St-Pierre, I’m excited to go in and put on a great fight. Win, lose, or draw, I have to leave everything in the octagon and put on a really amazing fight for the fans.