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MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 5 (Nik "The Carny" Lentz)

Posted by gartface Tuesday, October 4, 2011 12:00 AM



As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

Nik Lentz is a mixed martial artist hailing from the great state of Minnesota. He's a veteran of seven fights undre the UFC banner, and is still yet to surrender a loss. He is currently 5-0-1-1, with a draw coming against Thiago Tavares and a no contest being rendered after the controversial fight with Charles Oliveira which saw him take an illegal knee while downed, breaking his eye socket. Lentz has recovered, and he took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions.

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Interview Started

MMAPG : Nik, first of all, thanks for taking time out of what must be a ridiculously busy schedule, to talk to us. We really appreciate it.

LENTZ : Yeah, no problem. Anytime I get a chance to reach a wider audience, I enjoy it. Thanks for interviewing me and thanks to everyone else for reading.

MMAPG : You’re a few months removed from your controversial fight with Charles Oliveira. How are you feeling physically? How’s your training going?

LENTZ : I feel normal. The eye healed quite quick, the neck is still a little sore, but it is strong and back to normal. The pain does not really matter, all that matters is that I can work out and fight properly, which I can now.

MMAPG : Do you harbor any resentment toward Oliveira for that illegal knee? How relieved were you that the PSAC overturned the decision?

LENTZ : No, I don’t really think of him as an individual. I don’t think of people I have fought really as people at all. They are more like objectives or things that I have to overcome. Once I'm done with the fight I will analyze what went right and wrong, but I don’t care or choose to look into what they are like in their everyday life. So no, I have no hard feelings, I really couldn’t care less about Oliveira until I'm scheduled to fight him again. At that point, I will just know that once he sees that I don’t get finished as easy as everyone else, be ready and watch out for his illegal tactics. I'm very glad that the decision was overturned, but I think who is allowed to be a ref should really be looked into and fixed.

MMAPG : So you’re gearing up to take on Mark Bocek in December. You guys are two of the most underrated fighters in the lightweight division. What threats does Bocek pose to you, and how are you going to handle them?

LENTZ : He’s a good fighter, well rounded, good top game, ok wrestling.....as far as how I'm going to handle them.....I guess you will just have to wait and see.

MMAPG : I know it’s a ways away, but do you have a prediction yet on how the fight will go?

LENTZ : With my hand raised, getting yelled at by his hometown. (laughs)

MMAPG : Let’s backpedal for a second, and let’s talk about your history. Could you give our readers a glimpse into your background and your path to wrestling and eventually, mixed martial arts?

LENTZ : I wrestled in high school, but I started in 9th grade so I was really behind. I won everything my senior year but that was not enough to get any scholarships to any great D1 schools. I walked on to the University of Minnesota wrestling team. After one year I had a starting spot and scholarship. I didn’t really like how the U of M coaches treated the guys or their style of coaching, so I had a falling out with the team. I decided to try an MMA fight, and I guess the rest is pretty much known.

MMAPG : Is there something in your life that inspires you on a daily basis to compete in this sport?

LENTZ : My fiancée, my two dogs and two rabbits, and my family.

MMAPG : For someone who is undefeated in seven UFC fights, you sure catch a lot of flak from writers and fans alike. What is your reaction when your fighting style or your game plans come under scrutiny? After all, the only thing that matters is the W, right?

LENTZ : Wrong, that’s not how the fight game works. It’s the people that sell tickets that stay around. Look at all the current fighters and watch if they lose how fast they get cut. Some fighters get cut instantly, while some can lose upwards of five times in a row and still be around. That’s not to say that it’s right or wrong, it’s just a fact. The UFC is a business, and Dana and the Fertittas know that, which is why the UFC is the number one fighting organization. I realized that and have changed the way I look at many things in that area. My last two fights have been fan favorites. I also received FOTN (Fight of the Night) and was close to SOTN (Submission of the Night), but got beat out by a Twister at four minutes and fifty-nine seconds...(which I mean, come on, I can't really beat that) So, the idea that I'm boring is pretty much erased. The only people left that hate on me are trolls that hate everything in life, and English people....... ¯\_(?)_/¯ As far as writers, I'm not going to lie, I don’t really read the MMA websites or forums. I work out and train constantly. I literally think about fighting in the shower. I really try to separate myself as much as possible from MMA when I have free time. Otherwise I would go insane. The only writer that I have ever not liked was some guy on Bloody Elbow called AJB. I have that write-up* on my computer still. He is the only guy that has really pissed me off.

* "Let's keep in mind, here, that his opponent, Nik Lentz is no world-beater. This isn't a young guy out of nowhere who will set the world on fire in the future. Nik Lentz is the definition of a middle-of-the-road fighter. Fickett, on the other hand, was at one time one of the highest regarded welterweights in the game. He is responsible for one of only three losses on Kenny Florian's record, defeated Josh Neer and Josh Koscheck in the UFC, and beat Dennis Hallman back when it still meant something. Flat out, Fickett is too talented to be losing to Nik Lentz at a backroads casino show in North Dakota." (http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2009/3/24/809352/fickett-falls-mmaa-rises-n)

MMAPG : Minnesota Martial Arts Academy boasts quite an impressive crop of fighters, most of which are outstanding wrestlers. Who gets the best of whom during training? Be honest.


MMAPG : What does a day of training at Minnesota Martial Arts consist of? What’s your daily training camp routine?

LENTZ : I can give you guys a basic layout of how my training is. There are a lot more details and finer points that are worked on and trained each day, but it’s something like this.

Wake up - 8am
Run 2.5 miles (3 miles 8 weeks out, 3.5 miles 6 weeks out)
Grapple 10-5 min rounds
5-5 min rounds Thai pads
Short break, eat
Lift weights focusing on different body parts each day
Go home

Night workout
20min jump rope
20min Heavy Bag
20min Speed Bag

Wake up 7am
Run 2.5 miles (3 miles 8 weeks out, 3.5 miles 6 weeks out)
Spar 8-5 min rounds (timing)
Small break

Explosion training (weighted vests, ladder, vertical jump vest, ect........)

Gi grapple for around 1 hour

Night workout
20min jump rope
20min Heavy Bag
20min Speed Bag

I’m a vegetarian during the day, and eat 1 meal at night with high protein low fat meats (fish, skinless chicken, once a week beef)

MMAPG : As you continue to progress through the UFC ranks, is there any desire to take a rematch with Thiago Tavares or Charles Oliveira? Is there one that you would love to take more than the other?

LENTZ : No, I fight who the UFC says. Whoever they want me to fight, that's who I fight. I can't say that I wouldn't have a little smile on my face signing those two contracts though.

MMAPG : So on Twitter and your website NikLentz.com, you post quite a bit about video games. Is this one of your biggest passions? What got you so interested in gaming?

LENTZ : I love gaming and everything to do with it. I'm a true nerd. Every once in a while I will hear that some other fighter is a gamer or a nerd, and I will be like "wow, really!?" but it always turns out the they play something like CoD (Call of Duty) or Halo, which are not really good or competitive games. They are casual and for casual players, which is not a bad thing, but it does not make you a gamer. I have a full interview about gaming here: http://wellplayed.org/forum/articles/thread/wellplayed-interviews-nik-the-carny-lent

MMAPG : What is your favorite video game of all time?

LENTZ : Starcraft.

MMAPG : What’s your most anticipated game coming out?

LENTZ : Its out, Starcraft 2.

MMAPG : Console or PC? Why?

LENTZ : PC, it’s where all the competitive games are. There are just so many more things that can be accomplished on a PC. Consoles are just cheap little rip offs of computers. That’s why the Nintendo was really called the Famicom. Not to say that I don't own every one of them and have played through almost every good classic game there is, but the PC will always be the Superior gaming device.

MMAPG : Let’s get back to fighting! Do you watch a lot of MMA? Who are your favorites to watch compete?

LENTZ : No, like I said before, I’m constantly around it. The last thing I want to do when I get done with training is turn on the latest MMA fight. I always find out the results and watch the important matches or people who are good in certain areas in the time I dedicate each day to what I guess would be called "film" study. I spend about an hour a day watching other fighting videos and highlights to learn what the most talented fighters are doing so I can not only understand it, but learn how to reproduce it.

MMAPG : What are your goals for the future in the UFC? What do you want your legacy to be? Is that a word that means something to you?

LENTZ : I want to and will be the champion of the UFC. The legacy is something I don’t think about. much like your nickname, you should never write or try to produce a legacy. That’s what comes after you have done your job right.

MMAPG : I know you must be busy, so I’ll let you go, but I have just one last question. What is up with the Vikings!? Does Frazier give demotivational half-time speeches, or what?

LENTZ : It’s a sad and odd feeling being a Vikings fan. I will probably die 10 years younger because of it. I have no idea what’s going wrong, but if I had to guess, it would be that the team is getting tired.

MMAPG : Thanks again for taking time to answer some questions Nik. We wish you the best of luck in your bout with Bocek. Take it to him!

LENTZ: One Last thing, I just want to say thanks for all the support I have been getting not only about my career, but with everyone checking on my health. It really is a big deal that so many people went out of their way to see if I was alright. I'm eternally grateful for it. Thank You!!! Also, follow me on Twitter (@NikLentz) and watch me beat Mark Bocek on December 10th at UFC 140. Thanks again! Live long and Prosper.

Interview ended

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Follow @NikLentz on Twitter

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.

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