MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 3 (Nam Phan)
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.
Nam Phan is an Asian American fighter, who has also competed as a professional boxer. He is most known for his time spent in the Ultimate Fighter household during the twelfth installment of the series. He failed to reach the final, but impressed enough to earn a shot in the Octagon, facing Leonard Garcia and losing what is widely regarded as one of the biggest robberies in recent mixed martial arts history. With a recent loss to former featherweight champ, Mike Brown, Phan was given what he wanted. On October 8, in Houston, Texas, Nam will get a chance to step into the cage and exact his revenge on Garcia.
Phan caught up with us while in his gym, gearing up for some kickboxing.
* * * * *
MMAPG: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Nam. You have a fight scheduled right around the corner against a familiar opponent in Leonard Garcia. The look on your face when the decision was announced the first time around pretty much expressed what pretty much everyone was thinking…you got robbed. Do you plan on switching up your game plan this time around? I know you don’t want to go in to much detail, but did you go back to the drawing board in preparation for a rematch with Garcia or did you just fine tune your previous strategy?
NAM PHAN: I always try to show some support! The only thing is I gotta try to finish this fight. I feel like if I don’t finish this guy in 15 minutes, just count is as a loss.
MMAPG: How do you feel about the judging in the Garcia fight, and how the judges seem to award his aggressiveness so much?
NAM PHAN: It kind of pisses me off. You gotta be aggressive, it’s cool, but you gotta score points. It’s frustrating.
Reinvented heavyweight Tim Hague launches five-fight plan for octagon return
As it turns out, "The Thrashing Machine" might of just needed a little oil change.
Eight months after Tim Hague (12-5) was released from the UFC for a second time, the Canadian heavyweight says he's undergone a total overhaul and is looking to make his way back into the octagon.
Personal problems have been dealt with and training reinvigorated. Hague embarks on a journey at Friday night's Aggression MMA VIII event that he says should take five fights and less than a year to earn his spot back in the world's biggest MMA promotion.
Michael Bisping believes he's next in line for UFC title shot over cheating Chael Sonnen
Michael Bisping: "Mayhem Miller's Mouth Is Bigger Than His Brain"
Michael Bisping coached against Jason "Mayhem" Miller on the season of The Ultimate Fighter that was filmed this summer and will air on Spike TV this fall, and for fans of the show who enjoy seeing conflict between the coaches, Bisping has some good news: There was friction during filming between the two of them.
Bisping said on The MMA Hour that he and Miller had several encounters during the taping of the show, and he came away from them with less respect for Miller than he had before.
"Miller's mouth is bigger than his brain," Bisping said. "I definitely get the upper hand throughout the entire season. I'm not talking about the fights, I'm just talking about the one-on-one interaction with Miller."
Mo Lawal on Strikeforce: "Seems like Dr. Kevorkian is waiting to pull the plug"
At this past weekend's poorly attended Strikeforce event, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal was one of the few to say it – even though most people were thinking it.
Strikeforce appears all but dead.
"I (had) thought Strikeforce was a cancer patient," he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Man, it's a damn AIDS patient instead – with Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the background ready to pull the plug."
Lawal's criticism began even before the event, "Strikeforce Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov," which took place Saturday at Cincinanti's U.S. Bank Arena. Lawal (8-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) defeated fellow light heavyweight Roger Gracie (4-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) via first-round knockout on the Showtime-televised main card.
Despite learning the "stanky leg," Douglas Lima still eyeing Bellator gold
Highly touted prospect Douglas Lima (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BFC) recently advanced to the semifinals of Bellator's season-five welterweight tournament, but the win was anything but easy.
In fact, "The Phenom" was nearly ousted from the bracket in the opening round of his Bellator 49 bout with Steve Carl when a right hand clipped him behind the ear.
It was a lesson for Lima, who admitted the early blow affected his performance throughout the fight. However, he said he also learned a few valuable lessons along the way, including his new favorite dance move: the stanky leg.
What Chael Sonnen REALLY Thinks About Anderson Silva
Despite his recent, well-publicized troubles, which have included being suspended for steriods and receiving a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to money laundering charges, ESPN have seen fit to place him alongside host Jon Anik for the past two weeks running.
Sonnen has seized the moment, almost entirely dispensing with his standard UFC persona in favor of something far more professional, sincere, and, dare we say, truthful?
“The bottom line – Anderson Silva did an awesome job,” Sonnen said in his assessment of ‘The Spider’s’ performance at UFC 134 in Rio last weekend. “He continues with his dominance. He’s such a good striker. And what he’s really good at is keeping guys at range and having guys fight his fight, and he showed it again.”
Jon Anik then tested just how much he could get Sonnen to admit on national TV by asking him if his rival was the best in the business.
“I’m not ready to say he’s the best ever,” Sonnen said before conceding, “but he’s certainly special.”
There were flashes of the “old” Chael though, such as when he was asked who Silva can beat.
“For me personally it comes down to this – if you want the job done right, apparently I’m going to have to go out and do it myself.”
i also enjoyed his analysis of Anderson mocking opponents....
“When he drops his hands and mocks you, that’s when he’s getting ready – that’s his set-up. So you gotta make him restart. Either take a couple steps backwards [and] make him come to you, or charge him, but you’ve gotta reset him. That’s when he’s starting to get his footwork down.”
After latest win, re-energized Jens Pulver has no plans for slowing down
Jens Pulver said he's found a winning recipe for success in MMA. Or more accurately, one for finding success again.
The former UFC champ got back on the winning track this past Saturday with a second-round KO victory over WEC vet Coty Wheeler (14-4), and today, he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) about the ingredients that have gone into his reinvention.
Mostly, it's about limiting his appetites between fights.
"People want to know the biggest thing that makes a difference? I'm not going to go out after this fight and get up to 195 pounds, 20 percent body fat, sit for three months, and then go, 'Oh, it's fight time again?' Then spend my entire camp trying to get in shape," Pulver (25-15-1) said of his pay-per-view win at "MMA Fight Pit: Genesis." "That's how I rolled for the last four years.
"Now, I'm 156 this morning with six percent body fat, and I'm training this afternoon."
There, he'll don a jiu-jitsu gi and work with trainer and fighter Jeff Curran, with whom he took residence with this past November. The gym boasts a stable of impressive newcomers and veterans alike, but Pulver gave special attention to Curran's cousin, Pat Curran, who is scheduled to meet Marlon Sandro in the finals of the Bellator "Summer Series" bantamweight tournament on Saturday.
"I think Pat Curran, he definitely leads the way," Pulver said. "That's a powerful kid. He's leading the charge, dominating people in Bellator. It's hard not to follow."
Pulver has struggled to overcome mental blocks in 12 years of competition, and in recent years, he has met a rising tide of critics who say he should hang up his four-ounce gloves. As for now, he's ignoring them. The only appetite he's looking to feed is new information gleaned from the gym...
Strikeforce exec denies Marloes Coenen's claims of fight week mistreatment
As a former Strikeforce champion, Marloes Coenen is understandably upset at the promotion for cutting her following a title-bout loss to Miesha Tate at this past month's "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson" event.
But as a Strikeforce executive, former WEC boss Reed Harris doesn't understand why she's not being exactly truthful about the circumstances surrounding her release.
"When I read [what Coenen told MMAjunkie.com], I thought, 'Wow, there's some motive behind this because to take that situation and turn it around is just not right,'" Harris told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Earlier this week, Coenen told MMAjunkie.com that she sensed a brewing issue even before her fight. The Golden Glory product was conspicuously absent from the July 30 event's pre-fight press conference, and she seemed to suggest that was no accident.
"We wanted to go with somebody else, and they said, 'No, no, you don't have to come any more. It's already done and you can stay [at the hotel],'" Coenen said. "Really weird to me because you don't leave the champion out of the press conference. If you say you will leave at 10 o'clock, you won't leave at 9:55. That happened throughout the entire week, that kind of stuff."
Harris, who was actually driving the vehicle Coenen was expected to take from her Hoffman Estates hotel to the downtown Chicago press conference, said her recounting of the situation wasn't exactly accurate...
Zuffa Threatens To Pull Overeem Out of Strikeforce Grand Prix
Zuffa Threatens To Pull Overeem Out of Strikeforce Grand Prix
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of MMAFighting.com's "The MMA Hour", Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair "The Reem" Overeem (35-11-0-1) had some shocking news to share, as he confirmed that he has been "threatened" by Zuffa to be pulled from the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix if he does not comply with a scheduled September 10th date to compete in the semi-finals vs. Antonio Silva.
"Stikeforce has requested me to accept the fight for Sept. 10, to agree on that, but I have not agreed on it and I also had some emails, some questions asked, is the fight confirmed? No, the fight is not confirmed. I do not confirm it and I will not confirm it," said Overeem...
Ben Rothwell: Its Not Right How Champions Act
Dont call it a comeback !
"Big" Ben Rothwell (31-7), has not been seen in the UFC cage in over a year now. His last steps inside the Octagon saw him take a hard earned decision win over tough kickboxer Gilbert Yvel. Despite the win, Rothwell left the cage with a torn ACL and a deviated septum. After surgery and a hell of alot of work, Rothwell is set to step back into action, and will square off against big hitting Mark Hunt at UFC 135. Speaking to CageWriter.com, Rothwell stated:
"I've really worked hard on myself. It's not a comeback. It's an unveiling. I have been off for more than a year, and instead of using it as a layoff I've used it as a huge building block. I posted a few pictures, and people said, 'Whoa, this guy ain't the same.' When I came back to Duke, he said, 'People who are off because of an injury usually gain 20 lbs. You look like you've lost 20 lbs.' ... A lot of these guys, especially champions, I see how they act, and it enrages me.
Rashad Evans Predicts Jones vs. Rampage; Criticizes Jackson
Coming up on September 24th, the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship will be on the line as current champion Jon "Bones" Jones faces one of the nastiest punchers to ever compete in the sport, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
One fighter who undeniably has more history with both of these men than anyone else is top 205 pound contender "Suga" Rashad Evans.
Ryan Bader: No More Calling Out Fighters
It seems Ryan "Darth" Bader (12-2) is done with calling out fighters in the future. After being dominated at UFC 126 by current Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Bader decided to call out MMA legend Tito Ortiz. Against all odds, "The Huntington Beach Badboy" produced a stunnung upset and choked out Bader in the first round. That was a wake up call for Bader, who told ESPN.com:
"I lose three in a row, that's tough man. You see guys get cut for that. So yeah, I do feel that pressure.
Nogueira: Sonnen Has No Principles Or Character
You can add Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to the Loooooong list of Brazilian fighters who are lining up for a shot at Middleweight motormouth Chael Sonnen. In the last couple of years, Sonnen has made a name for himself as a tormentor of Brazilian MMA, laying into the likes of Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and even Nogueira's big brother.
Now, speaking to Sherdog.com, Lil Nogs had voiced his own opinion on the controversial Republican:
“It sure would be a great fight with Chael Sonnen. He’s a guy everybody wants to beat. He’s not a good example for the sport. He talks too much and says a lot of nonsense."
Lyoto Machida: It Was My Fighters Heart Against My Professional Mind
Amid the scramble to find a replacement for an injured Phil Davis at UFC 133, UFC turned to former champion Lyoto Machida. It seemed set at first, with Dana White confident that Machida was stepping up. But it turned out that the only way Machida was accepting the short notice bout with Rashad Evans was if UFC opened up their ever fattening wallet.
After eventually finding Tito Ortiz to fight Evans in UFC 133 main event, UFC president Dana White let it be known that Machida was asking for "Anderson Silva money." Now, speaking to TATAME.com, Machida reveals his take on the situation:
“UFC invited me for a bout with three weeks in advance and I said I wouldn’t take it since the beginning. I wasn’t prepared for it, it’d be against my own principles of professionalism, against what my family and team believe, and didn’t want me to fight." Said former Light Heavyweight champion Machida.
Dana White: Jon Jones Not A P4P Great....Yet
Pound for Pound (P4P)....The term splits fans down the middle, some love doing P4P lists, others see them as ridiculous nonsense.
Ask fans who love them and you will usually hear that UFC Champions Anderson Silva and Georges St Pierre are topping the ranks, but does MMA's newest golden boy Jon "Bones" Jones deserve to be listed among those elite legendary names. Here is what UFC President Dana White thinks:
"Many people think that Jon Jones should be considered one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world...........