By Matt Molgaard
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
If you're unfamiliar with Duane “Bang” Ludwig, you're either an extremely new follower of the sport of MMA (and perhaps oblivious to the scintillating world of kickboxing), or you've simply chosen to sleep on one of the most technical strikers south of the 200 pound mark.
Ludwig's been competing as a professional mixed martial artist for more than 12 years, compiling nearly 35 fights in that span and toppling some truly impressive opposition along the way. Amongst “Bang's” career victims are former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, legendary Japanese star Genki Sudo, former top 3 lightweight Yves Edwards, the surging Nick Osipczak and TUF season 7 winner Amir Sadollah. The man has built an amazing resume, to put it mildly.
Busy on all fronts, I was able to corner Ludwig for a very brief one-on-one discussion in which we chat Che Mills, time away from the cage and the generally deplorable personalities that so many of today's fighters project.
If you want the scoop, read on, but beware, due to time restraints, this interview is a little on the short winded side!
MMAnews: First I want to ask you about the Hardy fight. Technically, you seem to be the far superior striker. Obviously, you came up short in that fight. Do you think you got just a bit too comfortable trading with Dan, would you say you slept on his striking a bit, or just simply got caught?
Duane Ludwig: I was a Little rocked from the elbow against the cage and wasn't all there for a bit, that's when I was caught.
MMAnews: You'll be looking to rebound with a win against Che Mills here at FUEL TV 5. Is it mentally difficult to enter a bout knowing you'll be battling a striker after having been stopped by strikes in your previous fight?
MMAnews: Will you make many adjustments for the fight with Mills, or will you stick to utilizing your trademark striking?
DL: I'll be adding a few new elements to the game, not just for Che but for myself and my overall MMA game.
MMAnews: Give me your thoughts on Che as an opponent. You've always been an incredibly respectful guy, but do you feel as though Mills is in the same league when it comes to the striking department?
DL: My striking has always been pretty good in comparison to most other fighters. When it comes to striking, you must stay sharp and I'm taking some new steps to get and stay sharp so I can be the better fighter on September 29.
MMAnews: You've been fighting for well over a decade. That has to take a major toll on the body. How are you physically feeling these days? Has training become more difficult, or daunting for that matter, and is it ever difficult to find motivation to push yourself 100% at this point in your career?
DL: Feelings change daily about this question but yes it can be hard at times but physically I'm fine, it's mental for me now, it does get boring at times and I need opponents that excite me.
MMAnews: MMA is filled with a lot of guys who like to play the antagonist role. You always seem to show up and conduct yourself as a genuinely nice guy. Do you think a lot of these fighters with the “bad boy” image put that on for the camera's and press coverage, or are there a lot of… menacing (shall we say) guys competing?
DL: MMA over all does lack the traditional martial art respect. I'm a unique character though, I'm real black and white with my thoughts and actions.
MMAnews: Having seen a good 25 of your fights, I cannot recall a single time in which you ever talked any form of trash. Have you ever been paired with an opponent that you had any personal issues with, or that managed to draw your ire?
DL: There are a few guys that I don't really care for but it's their decision on how the conduct their manners. As an adult human being, we all have responsibilities but some seem unaware of these “responsibilities”.
MMAnews: You're flirting with your mid 30's, which is by no means old, but when it comes to combat sports, there typically isn't too much time left to perform at your greatest potential. How much longer do you see yourself competing?
DL: As long as I can, I love most I the time and it gives me life.
MMAnews: Excluding your kickboxing career, what would you consider your crowning achievement as a fighter?
DL: Fastest KO in [the] UFC.
MMAnews: When “Bang” isn't in the cage or actively training for a fight, how do you keep yourself busy?
DL: Family time and training others.
MMAnews: You've got a legion of fans who not only respect your abilities within the cage but your personality too. Any message for those of us who have supported you throughout your career?
DL: Thank you! Its easy to keep set on you quest when you have support.
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