MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with top UFC Lightweight contender Joe “Daddy” Stevenson to discuss his upcoming fight at UFC 74, among a number of other topics. Below is a complete transcript of the interview conducted on Sunday, August 19, 2007.
JOE STEVENSON INTERVIEW (August 20, 2007)
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I am speaking with one of the UFC's top lightweight contenders, Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, how are you today Joe?
Joe Stevenson: I'm doing awesome. Just relaxing up here in Big Bear on my day off.
MMANews.com: How has your training been going for your upcoming fight with Kurt Pellegrino?
Joe Stevenson: It's been awesome, I've had so many people come in to this camp to help me out and work with me so it has just been phenomenal.
MMANews.com: Who has been helping you train for this fight?
Joe Stevenson: Gray Maynard, Mark Laimon, Jeff Glover, my friend George. Man there has just been a sick amount of people and it makes you feel good to know so many people care about you.
MMANews.com: How do you feel you match up with Kurt?
Joe Stevenson: Stylistically I think we match up pretty good. I think he has a lot to bring to the table and I have a lot to bring to the table. I think it will probably be one of the better fights of the night.
MMANews.com: What aspects of your game have you been working on?
Joe Stevenson: I've been working a lot on takedowns and submissions.
MMANews.com: Are there any aspects of Pellegrino's game that bother you?
Joe Stevenson: Nope. I know what he is good at and I know what I am good at. We are both really good at grappling and wrestling but we will just have to see who is the better man on that day.
MMANews.com: Your last fight with Melvin Guillard ended rather quickly. Is that how you had hoped the fight had gone?
Joe Stevenson: You always plan for a fight to go the distance and train for a war. You have to hope for the best but whatever happens, happens. I was definitely pleased with the outcome of that fight and I was happy to take the win anyway possible that didn't involve cheating.
MMANews.com: Leading up to that fight there was a lot of smack-talk. Was it bittersweet to get the win that quickly?
Joe Stevenson: Yeah. But you know what? If it hadn’t of come that quick, you can’t regret a win or a loss but you have to learn from it. It was definitely bittersweet and I’m happy for how quick it came. It was a good exclamation mark to put on it.
MMANews.com: What were your thoughts when Melvin tested positive for cocaine?
Joe Stevenson: Aww I don’t know. Accidents happen, you know? He could have touched the stuff and it got in his stream that way, who knows? I’m not surprised but I am a little saddened that someone would do that, that close to a fight but I guess it can come with the lifestyle.
MMANews.com: You fought at Welterweight on The Ultimater Fighter 2. What made you make the decision to drop to Lightweight?
Joe Stevenson: Once I started to get into shape, the weight just kind of stayed off and I was really close to the 155 lbs. range so I just went ahead and went back to 155 lbs.
MMANews.com: Is that a weight you feel more comfortable at in terms of fighting?
Joe Stevenson: I definitely feel more comfortable fighting at 155 lbs., but diet-wise it is never fun.
MMANews.com: Who are some other fighters that you would like to face?
Joe Stevenson battles Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 74 on PPV on August 25th …
Joe Stevenson: Whoever the UFC puts in front of me. I’m not a vindictive or a want-to-beat-someone-up type person, so whoever they put in front of me is who I’ll have to take ut.
MMANews.com: With a win over Pellegrino how far away from a title shot do you feel you would be?
Joe Stevenson: With a win I feel like I would be in grasping distance. It would definitely be right in front of me and I would either have to request it or just take it.
MMANews.com: You mentioned earlier that today was your day off, what are some things you like to do when you have some down time?
Joe Stevenson: I like to write out my diet plan, like when I’m eating and what I’m eating. I try to collect myself, I missed my son's birthday yesterday because I am up in Big Bear but I bought him a card and some gifts and I’ll see him at the weigh ins to give it all to him so that will make me feel better. On my day off I try not to think about the fight but every little thing reminds you about it like my son's birthday and I start thinking, “Why am I doing this?” Oh yeah, so he can be taken care of and I can take care of my family so they can have everything they need.
MMANews.com: Would MMA be something you see your children becoming involved in?
Joe Stevenson: I wouldn't disagree with it if it makes them happy. I do not want to be one of those parents that attack them and do not let them do whatever they want to do. Whatever they want to do — so long as they want to put 100% into it and so long as it's not illegal or crude and rude, or hurt others I am going to support them.
MMANews.com: Has your training regimen changed any since making it to the UFC?
Joe Stevenson: No. Not really, just make sure to train hard and have good work ethic. When I lost to Josh Neer I went back to my old coach, Irving Downes, because he has always been able to light a fire under me.
MMANews.com: What has been one of your biggest learning experiences from fighting?
Joe Stevenson: Learning to never come ill-prepared for a fight. You never want to come in to a fight with any doubt on your mind.
MMANews.com: Who has been an inspiration to get started with MMA?
Joe Stevenson: Well, I'm from Victorville and so is Dan Henderson so I would have to lean towards Dan. I watched him wrestle and that is what made me want to wrestle. I'd also have to say Randy Couture. He has also been a huge inspiration but I'm sure he is an inspiration for anyone.
MMANews.com: Have you ever had a chance to train with either of them?
Joe Stevenson: Yeah both of them, quite a few times actually. They are both awesome guys. The feeling is still there of admiration from inspiring to be as good as them but it is almost like they are peers of mine now but they are definitely light years above me. I want to strive to be like those guys.
MMANews.com: Do you have any prediction for the fight?
Joe Stevenson: Whatever happens, happens but hopefully my hand will be raised.
MMANews.com: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Joe Stevenson: I appreciate everyone's support and thank you for the care you guys give me. I hope I make you guys proud and can continue to make you proud.
MMANews.com: Are there any sponsors you would like to thank?
Joe Stevenson: Yeah, for sure. Sprawl and Warrior Wear have been there for me since the beginning. My after-fight party will be over at the Voodoo Lounge in Las Vegas.
MMANews.com: Okay, Joe. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today and I’d like to wish you good luck in your fight next weekend.
Joe Stevenson: Thanks a lot buddy, take care.
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