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. Brian Ebersole is a veteran mixed martial artist, who after years on the other circuits, has finally found his way to the UFC. He is 2-0 in the Octagon and is coming off two impressive performances against Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman. Brian recently sat down to answer some questions from MMAPlayground.
* * * * *MMAPG:
First of all, thanks for taking time to answer some questions. I’m sure your schedule must be hectic. Also, we’d like to congratulate you on your win against Dennis Hallman in August. How are you feeling since that win?EBERSOLE:
I came out healthy, so I'm very pleased. A quick return to the Octagon (3-6 weeks later) would have been possible, but as it stands, I've had to wait quite a while. So now, I'm feeling fat because dieting proper for that long is just not in my nature. MMAPG:
You’ve been around the sport for quite some time now. How and when did you start getting involved in mixed martial arts? Was there something in particular that piqued your interest?EBERSOLE:
Can I point you to previous interviews? Teasing.... I saw UFC 1, like most teenagers in 1993. I had my first submission grappling experience at 15 years old and continued ever since. I was a wrestler, so it appealed and was a simple/natural extension of thought/technique/goals/rules from what I'd always done. MMAPG:
Having fought all over the world, in numerous promotions, you’ve had quite the journey to the UFC. Could you describe your journey for our readers?EBERSOLE:
I'm a lifelong athlete. Some people want to act amazed at the fact that I'm in the UFC after so long. Well, what other plausible result was there? I'd fought more than a few top guys, have had numerous "losses", I'd been submitted just enough to learn the lesson, but had never been beaten up. My experiences had to lead me here, eventually. I trusted that, even when it seemed improbable. If I could sum up my journey, simply.... I'd say that the sport has been motherly to me. I could always depend on it for support and as a source of guidance, education, and self-improvement. The gym/sport was always there, I felt. And I loved it, so even when my life's circumstances kept me from training/competing for stretches at a time --- I always drifted back "home".MMAPG:
How gratifying is it after your long journey, to finally be part of the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world? EBERSOLE:
It certainly puts a nice touch on the overall story, doesn't it? I could have retired, happily, having had a good run of wins outside the UFC (I was on a 8-fight streak before UFC 127). But it's every fighter's goal to compete in the Octagon. One win there is worth the weight of countless wins in other organizations.MMAPG:
Who or what is your greatest inspiration in life? Is there someone or something that drives you to succeed?EBERSOLE:
What else is there to do in life? Fail? I feel that I'm "average", but that's based on the fact that I've won matches/bouts all my life. Why shouldn't I continue to win? I'm yet to impress myself, and I think that attitude is what allows me to strive, progress, and compete with myself on a daily basis.
Greatest inspiration in life? Hard to say. I've seen members of my family work very very hard at jobs that they do not enjoy. Mostly, with little complaint. That said, I feel lucky to be in the position I'm in. And I find inspiration each day in the fact that I have choice and opportunity. Inspired not to waste opportunities, you might say.MMAPG:
At 30 years old, you’re still really young for having competed for over 11 years, and in over 60 fights. Do you feel like you’re just now hitting your peak?EBERSOLE:
Hard to say. I don't know what I'll feel at 33 or 35 years old. I may unlock talents and abilities that I never thought I'd have. What if I develop a wicked Rubber-Guard, eventually. Maybe that'll combine with my current talents and people will say that I'm better for it.... That I'm the best Ebersole that they've seen.
All I know is that I feel a continued depth of knowledge, being accrued. And a continued depth of soreness and prolonged recovery time, post-workout (as opposed to the University-aged Ebersole of 1998).MMAPG:
You’re riding a very impressive 9 fight win streak over the past three years, with your only loss coming to one of the best middleweights in the world, Hector Lombard. You hear a lot of fighters talk about how much they’d love to avenge a loss or two. Is there a loss that you’d absolutely love to avenge more than the rest?EBERSOLE:
Yeah, Lombard. I could have beaten him that night, and I wish I would have. I don't like seeing him walk around like a tough guy all the time, knowing I could be jeering him and poking fun at him had I beaten him.
But really, all of my losses burn me. Not one of them WASN'T my fault. And I only give Ed Herman credit for actually taking initiative to beat me, via triangle choke. The others, I gave away whilst suffering acute onset CSS (Chael Sonnen Syndrome).MMAPG:
You’ve fought in quite a few weight classes throughout your career. Is welterweight where you plan on staying?EBERSOLE:
Most likely. I would fight at Middleweight. And for the right reasons and given time, i could probably trim to Lightweight again.MMAPG:
If you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist/coach, what would be your back up? Any dreams or aspirations outside of the ring?EBERSOLE:
I would be a History teacher and Wrestling coach at a USA high school, most likely. That's all I'd ever really wanted to do, be a wrestler. I've found a way to do it all-year around now, with it being part of the curriculum in martial arts gyms. Call it BJJ, No-Gi, MMA, Wrestling, etc. I've found myself being able to coach wrestling 12 months of the year, instead of 3 or 4.
If not for sport, though, I'd probably run an ashram in India or a brothel in Thailand. MMAPG:
You have an interesting ritual including body hair. Could you explain to our readers what that ritual is, and why exactly you do it?EBERSOLE:
The Hairrow is an arrow sculpted of chest-hair. It points to my chin, a simple target. It's cheeky, it's fun, and it's something to talk about.MMAPG:
You set up shop in Australia for quite a while. Are you still living and training there? Who are some of the guys that you train with on a daily basis.EBERSOLE:
I travel almost the entire time I'm in Australia. I don't have a hometown, per se. So I don't have an everyday team or training partner. I frequent Sydney and Melbourne most often, and do have my favorite local joints.
Sydney - KMA Martial Arts. I'm able to train alongside Corey Nelson and Shabe Kafo, there. Shane Nix comes in at 7am to grapple, often. I've been lucky enough to work with Jamie TeHuna a few times, and BJJ BB Richard Sargeant trains us a few times per week with a private session and a regular class time.
In Melbourne, I spend time with Ed Bavelock and Kimekai Martial Arts. I have camped at ESS Performance, for conditioning and recovery.... And ESS is within walking distance of Dominance MMA which houses BJJ BB's and 2011 ADCC competitors Cam Rowe and Dave Hart. They have a formerly world-ranked freestyle wrestler that teaches on Monday nights, and a 3x Judo Olympian that now competes in Muay Thai. So there's a great place to play...
Next week, I'll have a group of Australia's best WW talent coming into ESS Performance/Kimekai. UFC Countdown is coming to film, and I will have Shane Nix, Ben Alloway, Shaun Spooner, Dylan Andrews, Corey Nelson, and Gokhan Turkyilmaz all in for an Aussie super-camp.
There's the rumor that the UFC will have an England vs. Australia TUF. I know the talent in Australia and WW is our only weight class with any depth to speak of. I'm hoping that the UFC takes note, and that these young guys are able to get an opportunity to head to Vegas. I'd love to travel there and coach them, but either way, I'm happy to have played (and will continue to do so) a part in their journey forward. MMAPG:
During training camp, what does a day in the life of Brian Ebersole consist of?EBERSOLE:
Training first thing in the morning, when I go 3x/day. Breakfast first thing, if it's a 2-workout day.
Then I read and work online, keeping my forward schedule in-line and staying on top of things best I can (I fall behind plenty).
Midday, training. Food. And most often, a nap.
Evening training, dinner, and a cuddle with my partner (or phone call, if she's not travelled with me).
When at ESS Performance, I have the luxury of a sauna, ice baths, and hot tubs for recovery.MMAPG:
You and Dennis Hallman seemed to have a great time with each other during the lead up, and during the actual fight. There are often a lot of stiff personalities in MMA. Do you think fighters, for the most part, take themselves too seriously?EBERSOLE:
Some fighters are a$$h@les, yes. If not for the opponent, what would you do? The opponent is integral to the competition. Most often, he's a guy just like you. I can understand guys that "know" each other and did not enjoy their previous encounters. But if you don't know a guy, why the drama? Fight, then share a beer. If you don't like the guy's attitude, don't share another one with him.MMAPG:
So you and Rory MacDonald have agreed to touch ‘em up in December. It’s great to see that you’re already getting back in there before the New Year. How’s the lead up going so far? Have you started training camp?EBERSOLE:
Just starting camp now. And I have that overly-talented, under-publicized group of Aussie Welterweights coming in next week. I'm hoping to stay healthy through some tough sessions with them, and then I head to Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. MMAPG:
This fight is likely going to be touted as a “veteran vs. youngster” type of fight. Is that how you’re looking at it? What do you feel are your keys to victory in this fight?EBERSOLE:
Yes, vet vs. youngster. Those are the facts and statistics, aren't they? You media folk make me laugh sometimes, playing Captain Obvious. Keys to victory? Don't get hit in the mouth, don't get more tired than him, don't give him a head start on a scramble, and don't tap out. If I can do that, I reckon I'll win a decision at worst.MMAPG:
Once again, thanks again for taking time to answer some questions! We wish you the best of luck in the lead up and in your fight with Rory MacDonald.EBERSOLE:
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* * * * *www.BrianEbersole.comFollow @TwasEbersole on TwitterBrian "Bad Boy" Ebersole on Sherdog.comDISCLAIMER: 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.