After suffering from one of the nastiest staph infections that has been documented, in at least the MMA world, Kevin Randleman is ready to make his return to action. After suffering from numerous medicals problems that have sidelined him and kept him on the self he will make that return on May 18th at the next World Victory Road show in Japan. Kevin took a few minutes to sit down with MMANews.com own Chris Howie to discuss quite a few different topics in this newest MMANews.com Exclusive.
KEVIN RANDLEMAN INTERVIEW MARCH 17th 2008
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I am speaking with “The Monster” himself, Kevin Randleman. How are you today Kevin?
Kevin Randleman: I’m doing my friend. How are you?
MMANews.com: I’m doing great. So the last time we spoke you were healing from that nasty Staph infection. How is that coming along now?
Kevin Randleman: Wow has it been that long since we spoke.
MMANews.com: I believe so.
Kevin Randleman: Well right now I’m 100% back to being 100%. I can honestly say that I haven’t been in this good of health since 2000.
MMANews.com: That’s great to hear then.
Kevin Randleman: Yeah with bum knees and getting banged up and such and I don’t like getting surgeries [laughs].
MMANews.com: So you will be making your return this year. How are you feeling about that?
Kevin Randleman: Yes I will be making my return. Well, I never really left but I will be back fighting this year. Even though I was hurt it wasn’t all that bad. I got to really focus on my Jiu-Jitsu and get better at that.
MMANews.com: Who helped you train?
Kevin Randleman: I train a lot with Alex Schonauer. I also train with John Lui and a lot of the guys at Randy Couture’s. All I needed was repetition and as long as you have that you are going to be good. I like to look at myself as having the gift of being a very athletic person so all that I need to be able to do was get in there and train Jiu-Jitsu with guys that can kick my butt every day.
MMANews.com: Are you daily on a regular basis?
Kevin Randleman: Oh yeah. I’ve been training on a regular basis since I moved to Las Vegas. The one thing I was worried about was getting cut or injured again because you can be tough as nails but you can only take so many surgeries you know. That staph was painful man and it was bullshit.
MMANews.com: It’s good to hear that you did heal from that because I know you have a lot of fans that look forward to seeing you back in competition.
Kevin Randleman: The fans that I have Chris, are the best. Some fighters go through this and bounce back a lot faster but I had to take my time. The fans have been there for me the whole time. You know about my lung problems and all that and sometimes it takes time. Now I’m coming back to fight because I know I’m much better than I have ever been. The Kevin Randleman of today will kick the piss out of any Kevin Randleman of the past. If that is any indication of what the fans are in store for than they will be happy.
MMANews.com: When will you be fighting Jeff Monson?
Kevin Randleman: I’ll be fighting Jeff on June 21st and I know that is going to be a good fight. I know Jeff and we are friends but it doesn’t really matter because I’d fight my own brother. We are in this for a chance to be the best and fight for a title. I know that Jeff is going to be in great shape and I am training hard at my Jiu-Jitsu because I don’t want to make the mistakes like I have in the past against great Jiu-Jitsu guys. I can always strike and my wrestling ability is always going to be there, I could do that in my sleep. My Jiu-Jitsu is only getting better and my hands will always be fast. I’m in great shape and I feel like I’m in a better place in my life and I have a lot of people to thank for that.
MMANews.com: Who have you been training with?
Kevin Randleman: Everyone I train with is a champion, from Gray Maynard to Jay Hieron to Marvin Eastman. These guys are all champions. You can only get better when you train with guys like that because the mindset isn’t going to get any better.
MMANews.com: Everyone is always gunning for the same goal…
Kevin Randleman: Gunning for the same goal, that’s exactly it. I will never be able to be a champion unless I have a camp around me that is going to push me.
MMANews.com: Do you train full time at Xtreme Couture?
Kevin Randleman: No not right now. Because of the long layoff I am rusty but even on my most rusty day I’ll still be able to beat some of the top guys tomorrow. In 60 days when I fight my first fight back in Japan, which will be May18th, I’ll be in the top shape that I have ever been in, in my life.
MMANews.com: So you will be fighting on May18th?
Kevin Randleman: Yeah that will be with World Victory Road. You can call it a warm up fight before Monson is you want but I call it my first fight.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on your old friend Mark Coleman making his return to the UFC?
Kevin Randleman: I’m very excited. I feed off of my friends and everything that is good and strong. It’s great for him you know? He kept life in this sport. When it was dying in the USA he went over to Japan and people loved him over there. He’s a pioneer in this sport going from all the different rule changes with no gloves and such. He’s done it all. He has helped change this game to be a better sport.
MMANews.com: How are you seeing his fight with Brock Lesnar going down?
Kevin Randleman: I think he can win. I know he can win. Mark understands that this fight could re-jump his career or it could end his career. This is not going to be an easy fight for him but styles make fights and in this fight you are going to see blood because these guys are big strong wrestlers and they are going to take each other down and pound the other. I think what it will come down to is who the better striker is. I think that you’ll see them wrestler each other a bit but it will come down to them throwing punches at each other.
MMANews.com: Mark will also come in with a wealth of experience.
Kevin Randleman: Exactly. That is something that me and him have been discussing.
MMANews.com: Now do you still train with Hammerhouse or have you guys kind of parted ways?
Kevin Randleman: No, not at all. Hammerhouse will never ever ever ever part ways. Right now I am building a gym in Columbus, OH and if you think me and Mark were good wrestlers wait till you see what comes out of that place. There will be a lot of champions coming out of Ohio and since me and Mark are both former champions I think we will have a lot to offer.
MMANews.com: What advice would you offer a wrestler that is making the transition into MMA?
Kevin Randleman: Well, you already have the best base to have. You need to get under someone that can teach you Jiu-Jitsu. Once you start putting all the other tools together you’ll be a force. Get with the best Jiu-Jitsu guy in your area and you’ll do fine. Just stick with it but if you are a champion wrestler you already have that work horse mentality.
MMANews.com: When it comes to training what are you doing now?
Kevin Randleman: I train every day starting at 5:30am. I mean I know how to fight so what I am working a lot on now is getting in shape.
MMANews.com: Is there anyone in particular that you are looking to fight with?
Kevin Randleman: I’ll fight anyone in the world at 205lbs. It doesn’t matter who it is because I want to be one of the best in the world again. What we need to happen to make this sport go a little bit further is to have guys take chances. We need to makes belts for everything to be vying for.
MMANews.com: Do you see that as a possibility in the future?
Kevin Randleman: I definitely see that
happening in the future. If you have guys from different organizations calling out other guys than you are going to have promoters telling there fighters that “you are going to train your ass off for the next three months and kick this guys butt and shut everyone up”. I don’t really see Dana White being worried about his champion getting beat, he is worried about being the best out of all these companies.
MMANews.com: Will Fedor fight in the UFC?
Kevin Randleman: Fedor’s young man. There will be a chance for anything.
MMANews.com: Dana White had a lot to say about Fedor at one point. You have been in there with him and fought him what are your thoughts, is he the best in the world?
Kevin Randleman: Well, I think he is beatable but he is the best in the world. I think one of the best opponents in the world for him is Randy Couture. It will happen eventually. I just hope that they don’t get rusty sitting on the shelf. You can’t fault Randy and you can’t fault Dana White. You have to fault business and that’s all you really can fault. Managers and such work so that their clients have the best possible deal for their clients and if they don’t get that they are going to walk away. People have to think about their families first.
MMANews.com: That’s a different way of looking at it. Business has a way of causing problems sometimes [laughs]
Kevin Randleman: People love to hate on Dana White but when this sport was dying and on life support, Dana White convinced the Fertitas to put money into this sport and bring it back to life. You can’t get ahead in this business giving people a free ride. Dana has made mistakes on deals in the past and he has learned from those mistakes and won’t do it again. That’s how he works.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on EliteXC?
Kevin Randleman: I think it’s great what they have going on with CBS. I find with these guys they do what they can to make fights happen the fans want to see. Like for example say the fans what to see Chris Howie from MMANews.com fight me, don’t you think that at some point someone is going to come along and offer me and you a boatload of money to make that fight happen. Their heads are in the right places.
MMANews.com: What can we expect to see from “The Monster” when you make your return?
Kevin Randleman: You know me man. I don’t mind hyping a fight. I don’t mind cussing you out in front of the public to hype a fight but people need to know that I won’t disrespect you for any reason. Don’t blink during the first 5 minutes of my fights because someone is getting knocked out. If you aren’t ready for me you are going to sleep. That’s a promise.
MMANews.com: Any thoughts on Kimbo Slice?
Kevin Randleman: I love the guy. You see him online and he’s a bad ass but I’ve met him before and he’s a very intelligent man and a down to earth guy. All success in the world to him.
MMANews.com: Have you ever trained with him?
Kevin Randleman: I’ve trained with him out in Vegas and he is a very good athlete and he wants to be the best. He’s a street fighter so throwing punches in nothing to him he’s game for that but can you imagine what kind of beast Kimbo will be when he learns how to triangle choke a man? He isn’t going to move around on the ground like the Nogueira’s but he’ll once he has knowledge he is going to be a beast.
MMANews.com: With that knowledge he could be a bad bad man…
Kevin Randleman: He’s already a bad man but can you imagine what he’ll be like once he learns all that shit? Be ready for it `cause he’s learning it. Learning MMA is like learning sex and I’m learning new techniques every time I do it. [Kevin proceeds to hum a porno song for me at this point]
MMANews.com: Any fighters in particular that you enjoy watching fight?
Kevin Randleman: I love watching Urijah Faber, Joe Stevenson will always be one of my favorite fighters to watch. BJ Penn is another guy who has been a favorite of mine since he first came into the UFC. I think pound for pound BJ is one of the best. In the heavyweight area I have my favorites but I want to be better than all those guys.
MMANews.com: Ok Kevin I appreciate you taking the time to speak with him again. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans out there?
Kevin Randleman: Keep giving me the love. Send me an email on my website www.kevinrandleman.com I’ll get back to you. You leave me your phone number man, I have great plans, I’ll give you a call [laughs].
MMANews.com: Thanks again Kevin.
Kevin Randleman: Alright Chris you got my number. Have a good one.