Exclusive Interview w/ TUF 3 & UFC Star Rory Singer

MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with Ultimate Fighter veteran and current UFC fighter Rory Singer to discuss his upcoming bout against Jason MacDonald on the main PPV card of UFC 72 “Victory”, coming up on June 16th in Ireland among a number of other topics. Below is a complete transcript of the discussion.


Chris Howie of www.mmanews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I'm speaking with Ultimate Fighter 3 Alum and UFC Middleweight fighter Rory Singer. How ya doing today man?

Rory Singer: I'm doing very well. How about yourself?

MMANews.com: Not doing to bad at all. So you have a fight coming up a little under 2 weeks away against Jason Macdonald at UFC 72. How is preparation going for that fight?

Rory Singer: It's actually going very well. Basically chugging along for the last 8 weeks. This is my last hard week before leaving Sunday for Northern Ireland. It's been going along great.

MMANews.com: Are you looking forward to making the trip over seas?

Rory Singer: Honestly, I'm not so much looking forward to the travelling portion of it. If there was some way I could Star Trek my way over there I would. I'm definately looking forward to fighting in another country and getting another stamp on my Passport. I'm live for the first time so I'm definately excited about that.

MMANews.com: What have you been working on in training?

Rory Singer: There was a big emphasis on my jiu-jitsu. I think that is where this fight could possibly end up, Jason has a really good ground game so I've been putting in some extra time with American Top Team and all the boys down there. I've been training with Roberto Traven once a week for the past couple weeks. We had Dustin Dennis out to my gym a week or two ago. I just actually spent a week at ATT and just got back this weekend. I've been working hard on my boxing and my wrestling. I was doing a bunch of training with Carmello Marrero for his UFC fight with Wilson Gouveia. I'm always training everything and putting it together doing my MMA. I'm always trying to get better.

MMANews.com: You actually hold a win over Gouveia.

Rory Singer: Yea. I do, yes, from a few years ago. Unfortunately my teammate was not as lucky. Wilson is definately not the fighter he was a few years ago when I fought him.

MMANews.com: You are a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu is that correct?

Rory Singer: Some would say a brown belt, others would say I'm still just a purple belt since I fight without a Gi. I was promoted. According to the high standards of American Top Team I'm probably just a purple belt but there is no one I can't get on the mat with, without a Gi and compete with. Since I am a no-gi fighter, a grappler, and an MMA fighter you could say that I am a black belt as an MMA fighter. I'm an advanced no-gi grappler but with the Gi i'm not quite a brown belt yet. Maybe one day I will be.

MMANews.com: Are you hoping some day to have a black belt?

Rory Singer: Most definately. At some point in time the fighting has to end. I just got off the phone with Tom Gerbasi over at the UFC and I said unless your Randy Couture or George Foreman you have to stop fighting some time and go on with your life. The black belt is something I definately want to have. Hopefully one day I'll have a larger gym than I do right now, a full time facility.

MMANews.com: You were talking with Gerbasi about Couture and Foreman?

Rory Singer: Yea man, unless your Randy Couture or George Foreman you've got to stop fighting[laughs]. Those guys seem to be able to keep doing it and doing it well. At some point in time it has to end though. When that time comes for me I'd definately like to have my black belt.

MMANews.com: Well, Couture is still winning championships at 43.

Rory Singer: Its amazing, and Foreman was fighting when he was 50. So it's like, some people can do it, some people can fight forever. I don't know if I'll be like that but I'm still only 31 but maybe in another 10 years I'll still be fighting, who knows.

MMANews.com: What are some advantages or disadvantages you see yourself having against Macdonald?

Rory Singer: I truly believe I have the better stand-up. I think just watching his fights, even though he's fought a couple south-paws, I believe i have the better stand-up. I think my ground game is as good as his. I have no concerns about being on the ground with him. I also think our wrestling is comparable. The disadvantage that I think I'll have is that he is going to be stronger than me but it's not like I haven't faced that in every other fight that I've had in my career. He's also going to be in great condition and I'm in pretty good shape myself so I don't know if that will be a factor or not. Honestly, I think we match up well and it looks like a good fight on paper so hopefully it will be a good fight when we enter the Octagon. I think it will be a fight that is decided by who tires first or who makes the first mistake and gets caught.

MMANews.com: How is your cardio at this point?

Rory Singer: My cardio is pretty good. My cardio is definately pretty good. It's probably better than it's been for any of my previous fights.

MMANews.com: How about your weight, are you at weight now or close to weight?

Rory Singer: I'm definately not at weight but I'm right where I want to be at this point in my weight-cutting. I'm pleased with where my weight is at right now for sure. I try to have an easy weight cut for my fights. I don't kill myself to get down. I've been eating well, taking my supplements, training hard, and I'm healthy. The weight is coming of perfectly so making weight for the 15th shouldnt be any problem.

MMANews.com: Do you see the jet-lag being a problem at all?

Rory Singer: I don't think jet-lag will really be a problem. I'm getting in a few days early just to make sure. We're leaving at 8:30PM Sunday evening and getting in at 930AM Monday morning.

MMANews.com: Really?

Rory Singer: Yeahh [laughs]. Part of my diet is a water diet where I basically drink a couple gallons of water a day for a few days to lose some water weight. I wanted to make sure I was there and able to start that on Monday because I NEED to start that water diet on Monday. It's almost an 8 hour flight but with the time difference its quite the day. I'll just have to get through Monday, tired, sleep on the plane a little bit and get through Monday tired, then go to bed at a regular hour and get up Tuesday and I should be fine. I've fought in South Africa and I've fought in Japan. I haven't really had any issues going but coming back is when it really hits you.

MMANews.com: What are your opinions on Jason calling himself the “TUF Killer”?

Rory Singer: TUF Killer? I think that is hysterical. I don't think the nickname should count if you give it to yourself so I don't agree with that but he has beaten two guys from TUF. He got smashed by Franklin and now he's about to fighter another guy from TUF. I plan on putting an end to that, so, I don't know what kind of nickname he'll have to come up with, maybe “I was the TUF killer of two TUF alumni and then I lost to Rory Singer”. That's a long nickname so I don't know if it will work out for him or not but it will certainly end with me on June 16th. He's just not going to win that fight.

MMANews.com: You mentioned fighting in Japan before. Where did you fight there? Was it Pride?

Rory Singer: It was Prides Best. It was one of Prides smaller shows. I fought Daijiro Matsui in a 2 round fight, Two 5 minute rounds. I got that call on 8 days notice and trained my butt off to get ready for that fight. We had a great fight and I honestly to this day, and many people who have seen it, believe that I won that fight but when you go to Japan and fight the favorites and don't beat them down or choke them out then your not going to win that fight in Japan. It was a great experience and a great fight and I loved every minute of being in Japan.

MMANews.com: What are your opinions on the Zuffa purchase of Pride?

Rory Singer: Umm, I don't really have one. I think the fact that they are bringing some of these guys into the UFC is great. I haven't heard any plans for them to do a Pride show but they are certainly bringing alot of that talent into the UFC and thats awesome. There has always been the debate “Does UFC have the best fighter or does Pride have the best fighters?” and now they have the opprutunity to put that to the test. The UFC fighters have done well but unfortunately for Chuck Liddell, not so well. For the most part I think its a great accquisition of those fighters but I don't know how Zuffa can do the WEC, UFC, and Pride and then make them all seperate. If they can great, and if they can run that show over in Japan for the Japanese fans than thats awesome. They are certainly some of the best fans in the world. The fact they are bringing the talent to the UFC is awesome though. Dan Henderson is fighting Rampage next so you have two Pride guys fighting for the UFC and there is nothing wrong with that in my mind.

MMANews.com: I guess for someone like you you have two different opinions, being a fighter and a fan.

Rory Singer: Exactly, I'm a fighter first but I'm definately still a fan. As long as I'm watching good fights and good match-ups I don't really care where it happens so to speak. I'm still going to watch Henderson and Jackson. There both two great guys. Whether it's in Pride or the UFC it's going to be a good fight regardless.

MMANews.com: It's was around this time last year that The Ultimate Fighter 3 was airing. Looking back how do you feel about the experience?

Rory Singer challenges Jason MacDonald on June 16th at UFC 72 “Victory” on PPV …

Rory Singer: It was certainly a good experience. It's definately been good for my career. I think it's somewhat of a double-edged sword. People still view me as a guy that's in the UFC and may not deserve to be there because I was on the show. At the same time the show is what helped propel me into the lime light and now it's just a matter of proving that the show isn't what got me here. I'm a good fighter that has had 3 quality fights in the UFC in the past year so that's what is allowing me to be here. Although there may be a large contingent of fans that think I can't beat Jason and that he will walk through me but I'm sorry that I'm going to prove them all wrong and prove to the public at large that I deserve to be in the UFC and I deserve to be fighting a quality opponent like Jason Macdonald. In my opinion he is nothing extraordinary. If he were extraordinary he would have beat Rich so that just shows that he is a guy that has things he needs to work on and that he is where he should be at this point. I've had a pretty good career up to this point. Not including the show I've won 10 or so of my last 13 or 14 fights. I'm a good fighter and a quality opponent. I train hard and it may be the show that got me here but it's my ability that has kept me here.

MMANews.com: Now you lost to Yushin Okami at UFC 66 and now he is fighting Rich Franklin on the same night as you. How do you see that fight going?

Rory Singer: That's a tough one for me to call. The styles are so opposed that… I was in there with Yushin and he's 4-0 right now [in the UFC]. I lost my fight, Swick lost his fight, Belcher lost his fight, Starnes lost his fight, he's no joke and he's 20-3 for a reason. He is a tough strong guy and a good ground and pounder. You would have to give the striking advantage to Rich but I give the wrestling advantage to Okami. He's lost 3 fights but I don't think any of those fights were by submission and I dont think he's going to get submitted from Rich's back and with Okami he's going to end up there because he's a good wrestler and he's strong and he kicks hard. It wasn't his punching that bothered me but he can kick hard and he can wrestle. He'll bring you down and ground and pound you. I unfortunately have a first hand experience with that. I really think it's a tough fight to call. I think it comes down to, can Rich keep it standing or can Okami take him down. I think if he can take him down he'll pound out the victory.

MMANews.com: Who are some fighters that you would like to get in there with?

Rory Singer: Honestly, I don't think about that. The fights are presented to me and that's the fight I worry about. When that fight is over I worry about who is coming to me next. There are certainly guys in the division that I match-up well against and there are guys in the division that, right now, I may not match-up well against. All I can hope is that I go out there and I beat Jason Macdonald and the next fight that comes to me I'm ready for. I match up well against a guy like Kendall [Grove] but maybe I don't match up well against a guy like Terry Martin. I don't think so much about who I want to fight. I'll fight who I have to fight and prepare my best and go out there and fight my best. That's really as far as I let that go in my head. Right now I have one ultimate goal: That is to go out and put the smack down on Macdonald, celebrate a victory, come back home, and get ready for the next one

MMANews.com: With the mention of Grove, back on the Ultimate Fighter you had a few differences with him and a few other guys like Ed Herman. Do you hold any animosity towards anyone on the show?

Rory Singer: Well actually I just talked to Ed the other day. I gave him a call a couple weeks ago and he finally got back to me. I was in Las Vegas for the last WEC, not this one but the one before it, when I was cornering Micah Miller and I had a chance to do a little training with Ed. I won't say we had like a heart to heart but we sat down and we had a discussion and talked and he told me he had a newfound respect for me after seeing my fight with Okami and I felt badly about some of the things I seen after watching the show. That was something that happened but alot of that was because of the situation. A lot of the animosity and the issues we had on the show were because we where on that show and it wasn't because we couldn't get along outside of the show but if when you put 16 dudes in a house together and have them fight each other it's not an enviroment for happy fun time[laughs] You Know! It's just not a happy place to be. Kendall has grown as a fighter, he's grown as a person and he is a tough 185 pounder for anyone without a doubt. He improves all the time in the gym and he's improving all the time in his fights. Belchar is no joke and he hurt him, he took it to him. Are there people from that show that I don't care for? Yeah. Is there any animosity? No.

MMANews.com: What are you up to when your not training and have a little spare time?

Rory Singer: Just hanging out. Making plans with my finace, were trying to get married next June so I'm trying to be a part of that whole process. I read, I watch movies, I relax, and sometimes enjoy the fact that I have nothing to do. I'm just a normal dude enjoying free time reading a good book or watching a movie. Just relaxing. There is not a whole lot of time to relax when you're a professional fighter. Being an MMA fighter and the level that we are at, there is no off-season. You need to always be somewhat ready to then get ready within a 6 to 8 week period if not sooner. There is no off-season for a mixed martial artists, a professional fighter. UFC, WEC, Pride, there is no real time to just say “I'm going to f*** off for the next couple months”. So when you get some free time you enjoy every minute of it the best you can.

MMANews.com: What nickname are you running with now? Is it “Outburtst” or “Version2.5”

Rory Singer: It's “Outburst”. Dennis Hallman retired the “Version2.5”. It is “Outburst”. It's a nickname given to me by my friends from the show and just who I am in general. They say that I am prone to these verbal outbursts. Usually very funny verbal outbursts. One of the favorites being are “Are you f***ing kidding me?”, which I will say just all the time. Especially when driving. I have some road rage issues, it's certainly a possibility. While I was on the show the guys back home had to take care of the gym and teach and keep it running and keep it Staph free[laughs]. They decided that I was prone to verbal outburst and that it should be my nickname. It's kind of like my homage to them. These are all the people that care so much about me. They want to see me succesful and improve and go as far as I can. They thought that was what my nickname should be and the next day that was my nickname.

MMANews.com: How are things going with your gym?

Rory Singer: Things with my gym are going exceptionally well. We just partnered up with American Top Team so we're now the Hardcore Gym/American Top Team of Athens GA. That's been great and I've always had a great relationship with the guys there. I consider Ricardo Liborio a good friend and I've always gone down and trained because I live 10-15 minutes away from the main gym in Coconut Creek. It's given me a chance to visit my grandmother who lives down there and has been ill the last few years and then go train at the main academy. The next logical step was to become a partnered gym. We had Ricardo up here a few weeks back. I've spent 2 weeks down there preparing for this fight on two seperate occasions. It's just been really good for the gym. I helped Micah Miller with his fight in the WEC and Brian Bowles just had his first fight in the WEC beating Charlie Valencia who was the number 1 contender and he just put the smash down on him. Me, Carmello, Forrest, he's not with us anymore but was for so many years, the gym has just been improving all the time and getting bigger all the time. Hopefully within the next year or two we'll a full-time big facility. Right now we're doing 3000 Sq.feet and we hope to one have 10,000 to 12,000 Sq,feet and make a living of it once the fighting is done. Right now I couldn't be happier with the way things are going and how my guys are doing. We have a really good and solid fight team, probably one of the best in the state and tops in the southeast, so, I couldn't be happier.

MMANews.com: You were working on a degree in Nursing, is this correct?

Rory Singer: Yes. I have a degree in biological engineering, I am presently on a leave of absense from Nursing School. By the start of the summer I had taken and complete my first semester before going on the show and start filming TUF3. So I took a leave of absense. My grades will stand for another couple of years and assuming that I don't end up opening a large staffed, full time facility then that is something that I could always go back to. I did very well… I closed out the semester with honors and that is something that I would love to pursue if the gym things doesn't work. So I never finished the degree but I do have a Biological Engineering Degree from Georgia University.

MMANews.com: Are you working with any charities or doing any community work?

Rory Singer: No, the only community work I've really done was teaching some defensive tactics at the police accademy, but other than that I have not done any charity or community work.

MMANews.com: When did you initially get into MMA?

Rory Singer: My MMA debut was in 2001 and my pro debut was at the end of 2001. I had probably been training for a year or two before that but had been doing other training for 7 years. I started off wrestling in high school. I wasn't an exceptional wrestler but I also wasn't an awful wrestler. Then when I came to Athens I did some Tough Man Boxing and then I met up with a boxing coach, Donald Kefner and he has been one of my boxing coaches for many years. Then I did some Muay Thai and met up with a coach named Scott Hicks. So then I then I was doing the Boxing and the Muay Thai and The Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling so we thought why don't we put this all together and do some MMA. It basically started from there.

MMANews.com: You would you say was your toughest opponent to date?

Rory Singer: Toughtest was Josh[Haynes]. He is by far one of the toughest people I know. One of my hardest fights, obviously, was most recently with Yushin. I've had some very tough opponents.I've fought Dennis Hallman, Dustin Denes. Wilson Gouveia, Daijiro Matsui. I've had some quality guys over the years. If you look at my record I've haven't done so poorly.

MMANews.com: Anything you would like to say to your fans?

Rory Singer: Thanks for all the support. Watch my fight with Macdonald, you'll f inally get to see me live on the PPV. I'm going to prove to all the naysayers that I deserve to be in the UFC and that I can beat Jason MacDonald and when I do I know my fans will be behind me and support me. Thanks for watching and I hope you enjoy the fight.

MMANews.com: Are there any sponsers you would like to thank?

Rory Singer: I'd like to thank Sprawl, I-fight, Intense, there are a few others that just came on board and I'd like to thank all those to. They help make this easy. Sponsership helps pay the bills and help gets you ready for the next fight.

MMANews.com: Alright Rory, Can we get a prediction for your fight with Jason MacDonald at UFC 72?

Rory Singer: My prediction for my fight with Jason MacDonald. That's tough. My prediction is I'm going to win. I don't know if it's going to be on the ground or on the feet but my prediction is I'm going to win this fight. I'm either going to submit him or knock him out.

MMANews.com: Ok man, I have to thank for your time here. It's really appreciated.

Rory Singer: My pleassure.

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