Gabe ďGodzillaĒ Ruediger, the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) lightweight champion, will make his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut September 23rd at UFC 63 against ďThe Ultimate FighterĒ season two contestant Melvin Guillard.
Ruediger spoke with MMAWeekly about fighting in the premier mixed martial arts promotion in the U.S., becoming a full-time fighter for the first time in his fight career, his opponent, and how he feels the match will play out.
Ruediger told MMAWeekly, ďI just signed a contract with the UFC, Melvin Guillard, September 23rd. Thatís my main priority, and what Iím most excited about.Ē
Like most up and coming fighters, Gabe has had to balance his MMA career while holding down a job to make ends meet. Now that he has signed to compete in the UFC, Ruediger has focused his work efforts on punching a heavy-bag instead of punching a time clock.
He said, ďThis is the first fight that Iím going to have that Iím going to be able to train full-time. I told my boss that Iím taking a leave of absence . . . Iím going to be a full-time fighter, so Iím excited about that.Ē
Asked about fighting in the UFC, and whether that was one of his goals, Gabe responded, ďWhen I first started, I didnít necessarily have goals except for to just fight. Itís an honor for me, and it goes above and beyond whatever I thought I was going to be able to do. For me, thereís a lot of big promotions, but along with everyone else the UFC is the one that first got me started when I was doing Kung Fu as a teenager. You know what I mean? And when I got the call about the contract, I was just excited.Ē
Ruedigerís goals in the beginning may not have been much more than to simply fight, but time changes people, and their goals change with them.
ďTo put on the best show possible, and I think to attain another title. I had the WEC title. And I think when you reach a certain level, especially now that I can train full-time, Iíd like to be able to fulfill my potential, and hopefully that means taking home more gold,Ē Ruediger stated when questioned about his current aspirations.
ďGodzillaĒ discussed the match up with Guillard, saying, ďAs soon as I found out that he was a potential opponent I started looking him up. Iím familiar. Iím also a fan, so I especially try to keep up on the lightweight because you never know when a potential fight with one could be. Heís very athletic. He hits hard. He has got decent wrestling, but heís not really a technician. Thatís where I think heís going to make mistakes. Iíll capitalize, and Iím going to finish him. I know Iím going to finish him.Ē
On September 23rd, in California, at UFC 63, ďGodzillaĒ invades Americaís top MMA organizion.