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| | Ten TUF Questions: Troy Mandaloniz Discusses Episode 10
Ten TUF Questions: Troy Mandaloniz Discusses Episode 10 of TUF: Hughes vs. Serra |
Posted by MMA Junkie on November 27, 2007 at 5:53 pm ET
Troy MandalonizEach week MMAjunkie.com interviews the latest cast member eliminated from “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra” with questions submitted by our readers. The sixth installment of “The Ultimate Fighter” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV. Stop by MMAjunkie.com every week for “Ten TUF Questions.“
This past Wednesday, Spike TV aired the 10th episode of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra,” in which Troy Mandaloniz (2-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) faced a very tough Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout in Matt Arroyo (2-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
After winning six of the show’s eight preliminary fights, Matt Serra’s team found itself pitting teammate vs. teammate in the quarterfinals. Wednesday’s episode featured two fights — with four Team Serra fighters — as Mandaloniz fought Arroyo, and Richie Hightower fought George Sotiropoulos.
Mandaloniz, who scored an impressive knockout KO victory over Paul Georgieff in a preliminary fight, tried to make it two in a row against the jiu-jitsu fighters. However, Arroyo used a head kick to set up a takedown, and he quickly secured a fight-ending arm-bar submission to knock Mandaloniz out of the competition.
MMAjunkie.com recently spoke to the Team Serra fighter about the episode, his biggest regret from the fight, his life as a trainer to stars such as Kendall Grove, the misconception that he’s trained by B.J. Penn, and his upcoming fight with friend and teammate Richie Hightower at the show’s live finale on Dec. 8.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: How did you end up on the show? Did you go through the application process, or were you recruited?
TROY MANDALONIZ: The producers came to Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu and talked to Kendall Grove (“The Ultimate Fighter 3” middleweight winner) and he recommended me. B.J. Penn then called the main producer and recommended me and said I would be a good fit for the personality part and also for my skill set. From then on, I had to send in the tape, but I didn’t have to do the tryouts. They liked what they saw, and I was on the show.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: I don’t think a lot of people realize it, but you’ve trained some big-name fighters who have fought in the UFC — Kendall Grove, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Tony DeSouza and Gray Maynard. Do you prefer fighting or training?
TROY MANDALONIZ: I love training guys and watching them bloom into fighters, but there’s no greater rush than getting in there and fighting and living out your dream. Fighting is a passion for me. Training guys will always be around, but fighting is something with your youth. Who knows how long you can do it, you know? Randy Couture’s out there, but you never know. I prefer fighting and the recognition that comes from it when you’re successful. There’s nothing like it.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: How did the nickname “Rude Boy” come about? (from reader “SarahC”)
TROY MANDALONIZ: As a kid, I was the kid who if someone told me to try something, I’d do it just to show the big kids I could. Raggae music is also a big influence here in Hawaii… and in raggea, it’s a term for kind of urban ghetto youth… I was also in a band, and because it was my name as a kid, it kind of caught on. Anyway, it stuck. It’s like someone calling you a “tough guy” or something. “Hey tough guy!” (laughs) I’ve had it a long time.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: I know they mentioned it on the show, but how upset were you that Matt Serra didn’t corner you in your fight? Are you still upset? (from reader “korkis”)
TROY MANDALONIZ: Nah, I’m not mad at all. None at all. Looking back, I understand the position Serra was put in having to corner (against one of his guys). It was tough for him. When you’re getting ready for a fight, you have enough going through your head. I’m usually mentally tough in most situations, but being stuck in the house and no one you’re close to being around and not having your usual coaches who focus on you and just you — well, I just jumped to conclusions and was reading between the lines when there wasn’t anything there. I really regret. I know Matt has taken some criticism and got bad publicity because of (what I said) on the show, and I regret it. He was in a tough position, and looking back, you can see he was doing the right thing. I really do regret it.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: Looking back on your loss to Matt Arroyo, what’s your biggest regret?
TROY MANDALONIZ: Definitely, it was not being myself. Leading to the fight, we had a lot of training. We had a lot of jiu-jitsu guys. I’m well-rounded but I prefer to stand up and finish a fight in spectacular fashion. I was training (with Matt), and I was a little nervous because he was strong in that session… So, I took that into the fight and I guess I panicked. It’s funny, though. Before the semifinals (after being eliminated), I was training with Matt, and I did much better. I stuffed his takedowns and ending up beating him up a little bit on the ground, and I was doing much better. I guess I was just paranoid. It wasn’t me. You’ve got to understand, you’re fighting on national TV, and you’re scared about losing. I panicked a little. I guess it comes down to the experience level. Live and learn, though. I can only look forward.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: Aside from Matt Serra, who was the most helpful coach while you were on the show? (from reader “giallo”)
TROY MANDALONIZ: I really clicked with Ray Longo. He was the striking coach. He really liked my style, and he gave me a lot of words of encouragement. He said I could take the whole thing. “You’ve got the skills to do this” and things like that. I believed him. He really said the right things for me. We really hit it off.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: What’s it been like having B.J. Penn as a friend and trainer? Are you training with him now? (from readers “ACCBiggz” and “Josh Money”)
TROY MANDALONIZ: See, actually that’s a big misconception that he’s my trainer. We grew up together and went to school together… but we’ve trained (separately). I train with B.J. twice a year if I’m lucky.. I’m usually training in Las Vegas at Couture’s (gym). He brought me out to train for my fight (next month), though. This is probably the first time I’ve really been training with him and would call B.J. my trainer.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: On the show, Dana White insinuated that it was weird that you had no ground game despite being friends with B.J. Did that upset you? (from reader “Zal”)
TROY MANDALONIZ: You could grow up with Wolfgang Puck, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to know how to cook. That’s the point I have to make. I’ve learned a lot, and he can teach you a lot of things. But he’s a very special fighter and one of the best in the world… Even his own students — they’re not all like him. They all have their own specialties. I work with Kendall Grove more than anyone in Las Vegas, and I train with Shawn Tompkins, and I train with my own guys and even by myself sometimes.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: We recently talked to Richie Hightower about your guys’ upcoming fight at the live finale. He said fans should expect a war. What’s your prediction?
TROY MANDALONIZ: It’s definitely going to be a battle. People are talking at home and in Las Vegas, and they’re saying I’m going to just smack the guy around and destroy him. I can’t see that. People aren’t giving Richie the credit he deserves. He’s overcome a lot of adversity. He used to be over 300 pounds, and look at him now. He has a ton of heart, he punches as hard as I do, he has good wrestling and good jiu-jitsu, and his guard is really hard to pass. I know he’s now overcoming a lot of heat he’s taken since being on the show. He’s a battler. It’s definitely going to be a war. We’re looking at making it the fight of the night so when they realize they put us on the undercard that they feel bad about it.
MMAJUNKIE.COM: So what’s next for you? Do you want to stay in the UFC right away, or do you think you need some more seasoning in the smaller shows?
TROY MANDALONIZ: I definitely want to compete at the elite level. I train at Couture’s gym with high-level guys, and I know where I’m at. I know I can be a competitor in the UFC. Until I get that call that says I can’t (compete in the UFC), I want to stay there. I’m not looking at the past, and I’m not looking at the future. I’m just looking at the present and the fight ahead of me.
The will to win is not as great as the will to prepare to win."
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