11-26-2007, 04:43 PM
Status: Hows that working for ya?
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Elmhurst, IL
| | Erik Paulson Interview: The Comeback
PDG: Letís start with your comeback fight against Jeff Ford at HDNets fight night. How did it feel to get back in the cage? |
Erik: I felt great as I trained very hard for that fight. I trained off and on for about four months and then the last month was 100% intense. I worked a lot on conditioning and then once the fight was close I started cutting. I trained with my fight team at my gym in Orange County, California. At my gym there are world class fighters and also fighters that I have been training with for years. It is a great combination to train with as you can go in against the tougher guys and they try to bust you up and kick your ass and then I can also go to the other guys and work on my techniques and training.
PDG: Your fight only lasted a little under 2 minutes; where you hoping it lasted longer or was that good for a comeback fight?
Erik: To be honest I would have been fine if the fight lasted 30 seconds. It was a comeback fight and I wasnít sure what Jeff was bringing as far his ground game. I knew he was a good striker and a couple of people that I talked to said he had good boxing skills and KO power. Jeff was in K-1 and you donít get to fight there if you donít have any skill. I wasnít going to discount anything about himÖÖpeople are always telling you this and that about a fighter. I like to surround myself with people that tell me like it is and what I can expect from my opponent. I donít have a lot of people around me telling me BRO YOUR GONNA KICK HIS ASSÖ.YOUR SO MUCH BETTER THAN HIM. It is a horrible thing to have over belief in yourself.
PDG: Tell me a little about the weight issues the night before your fight.
Erik: I was down to about 206 lbs after sitting in the sauna most of Friday night. Then after midnight Jeff informed me that he was not going make weight.
PDG: That had to piss you off a little bit.
Erik: At first I thought he was trying trick me. Fighters are always joking around like that. I had been sitting in that sauna trying to lose as much as possible and then I saw him and I was thinking to myself that he looks huge for 205 lbs. I kept asking him if he was going to make weight and Jeff kept telling me it was no problem. Then on Friday he told me that he was over trying to make weight and in an interview he said that he thought he could lose the weight but it just didnít work out. I also found out he had been working on a movie with Eddie Murphy and thought that maybe that was the reason he hadnít cut yet. I basically got the feeling that Jeff just wasnít taking the fight seriously. On the other hand I wasnít coming out of retirement to lose.
PDG: Was that it or are you planning on a few more fights?
Erik: I want to keep fighting and I actually was planning on a fight in early December in the Philippines for Josh Barnettís team. They had an opening at the 205 slot for a card in Manila but things just didnít work out that way. I was disappointed because it would have been a good rollover for me in regards to the time between my first fight and that one. I didnít suffer any real injures in my fight with Jeff so I am ready to go now. I had a bit of an ankle sprain but even the day of the fight I went running, took a sauna, lifted some weights to get the blood flowing and swam about 10 laps in the pool.
PDG: Why comeback now?
Erik: Personal achievement. I am not into the publicity and all that. Training to fight keeps me healthy and itís nice to show people that after 7 years of retirement I can still compete.
PDG: So will you be fighting for HDNet again?
Erik: Yes I have already talked with them about a possible fight in February.
PDG: Most mixed martial arts fans didnít see that event. How was the event handled being as it was the first HDNet fight night?
Erik: It was great and Mark Cuban took really good care of everyone involved. The guy doesnít go into business ventures to lose money and he has the cash in his bank account to back himself up. They signed Frank Trigg and Jason Miller to fight in the December event and I think it will end up being a very good promotion. Joe Silva from the UFC told me that I wasnít marketable and Bodog backed out on a fight I was supposed to have with Bill Mahood so I have nothing negative to say about HDNet.
PDG: You talk about training and the fighters you train. Cub Swanson is one of them and he has a big fight coming up against Jens Pulver on December 12th for WEC. What is your outlook on his match-up?
Erik: Cub has been training his ass off and is now up in Big Bear training with guys like Joe Stevenson. I think he will be in great shape come fight time but I havenít trained with Cub for about a month and a half. I call and check in on him though. I donít have a lot of fighters his size at the gym so he likes to go up to Big Bear and train with those guys. It is great up there for the younger fighters; in addition to the high elevation you donít have to worry about girlfriends, bills or the paparazzi. I have no problems with my fighters cross training. I want the best for them.
PDG: You are in Minnesota training Brock Lesnar right now. How is he doing with the transition from the WWE to the UFC?
Erik: He is completely over professional wrestling. Brock reminds me a lot of Josh Barnett and he has that look of a caged warrior in his eyes. He is a fighter and a competitor by nature and now it is about working on the submission training.
PDG: Were you surprised that he was matched up with Frank Mir for his first real MMA fight?
Erik: I can imagine that the UFC is paying Brock a good amount of $$$ and so why not put him in with a good fighter that I think he can beat. Not to take anything away from Frank as I think he is a stud. I just hope he comes to the cage well conditioned and everyone gets to see a great fight. If Frank underestimates Brock he will be in trouble. Even if Brock just uses his wrestling background he will be hard to deal with. He is 6í5íí and 270 lbs and has hard punches. My shoulders have been sore all week and my thighs are killing me. I used the Fairtex leg protectors and let Brock kick me and let me tell you those pads are for light heavyweights not super heavyweights. To top it off he is training with the University of Minnesota coaches for his conditioning.
PDG: Anyone that knows you or Josh knows that you guys are good friends. Did it surprise you when he wasnít involved in the upcoming M-1 debut New Years Eve with Fedor Emelianenko.
Erik: Not in the beginning. I know that the fight between Josh and Fedor would be a big money event but they need to have Fedor beat somebody first. I think M-1 is trying to establish itself by having him fight Hong Man Choi and then heíll get a bigger name. Not that the Korean fighter isnít good but he is no Josh Barnett. If Fedor and Josh fought on the first show and Fedor lostÖ.M-1 would lose its superstar in the first event. They want to give Fedor someone he can probably beat up and have a great show for their first production. Kind of a David vs. Goliath deal.
PDG: Does Josh want that fight?
Erik: He has always been looking for that fight. I have never heard him say he wants another fight more than that one. I think that Josh just needs to fight as he hasnít fought for almost ĺ of a year. The thing is though is he is training harder now than when he fighting regularly. Josh is training 4 to 5 days a week now.
PDG: How much are you training right now?
Erik: Sometimes twice a day with lots of conditioning because at the end of the day what matters is your tactics and conditioning.
PDG: What fighters that you are currently training should MMA fans keep an eye on?
Erik: Danny Suarez is one and he fought for the IFL. He was doing good, got a girlfriend, got his black belt and then got burned out on the IFL a little bit. Fighting every month at different weight classes can do that. Obviously Cub Swanson is someone to watch.
PDG: What upcoming training seminars do you have?
Erik: We currently are doing seminars in the USA and in Europe. Fans and prospective participants can find a full schedule of the seminars at www.erikpaulson.com. We also hold daily fight practices at my CSW gym in Fullerton, California and I encourage any fighters to show up and check out our program.
PDG: I appreciate your time as you probably need your rest before going back on the mat with Brock tomorrow.
Erik: Thanks for your time and the interview