How are things going for “The California Kid?”
Fantastic. I’m working on a really cool project on the northern, northern coast of Cali about three hours from Sacramento on Highway 1. We’re building our Team Alpha Male retreat. The town has 450 people. Bare necessities. It’s right on the ocean. We’re going to have a private gym, so I’ve been working on that.
Is the idea behind the new gym to have a new atmosphere for you, Joe Benavidez, and Chad Mendes, or is it to have your young fighters focus in a certain environment?
It’s kind of like a Big Bear idea. It’s just another thing that’s unique about our team—to have a retreat with all sorts of cross-training out there. It’s just a really unique place we can go to get away from all the distractions.
Have you had the “it” moment yet with FORM Athletics that caused you to feel like the company has made it?
It’s pretty surreal. If you look at the guys that we’ve signed and how close everyone is to having world titles: Anthony Pettis is one fight away, Jon Jones has a title shot, Chad Mendes is close to a title shot, I’m close to a title shot, and Joseph Benavidez is fresh off a title shot. It’s cool to take a step back and realize we have all the stars—and the future stars—of the sport signed and ready to go.
What’s in your DVD player?
I was just watching East of Eden with James Dean. It’s his first movie. Someone suggested I check it out. I thought it was a cool flick. It’s good stuff. James Dean is a stud.
You seem to be a fan of the classics.
Yeah, I am. I like Clint Eastwood and Paul Newman. Have you ever seen Cool Hand Luke?
Yeah, we talked about when we did the [April 2010] cover story. I’m glad you bring it up. I was at a bar with a bunch of friends after Newman died, and I toasted to him, and my friend asked, “Who is Paul Newman?” How would The California Kid have handled that situation?
I would say, “Go to the grocery store for salad dressing. It’s the best salad dressing in the store.”
You’re really health conscious of what you’re putting into your body, not just as an athlete, but as a person, For people who aren’t into that lifestyle, what do you feel is a good starting point toward a path of progress?
That’s another project that I’ve been doing. We have some cool viral videos and stuff at www.eatlikeachamp.com. It’s a website that I started primarily to help people become educated about nutrition and leading an active lifestyle. I think the most important thing is eating the best quality of whatever you eat. There’s a difference between a frozen hamburger and a lean-beef burger on a whole-wheat bun with vegetables and healthy ingredients. It’s important to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and lean meats into your diet and less sugar and processed food.
One thing I know you and Chad Mendes have been involved in has been saving wrestling programs. What do you feel it will take to keep wrestling in schools?
Wrestlers that are having success in the world need to start giving back. I think a lot of successful businesses in addition to the sport of MMA are filled with great wrestlers. We need to make a push to ensure wrestling programs aren’t dropped from funding. It really is the feeder to our sport.
Have you received your Joe-Jitsu black belt yet?
It’s not a black belt, it’s a tie-dyed belt. I do have my Joe-Jitsu belt—it’s called my scrump-tra-licious belt. I’m one of the few guys that have it. Joe-Jitsu is away of life.
You are the only fighter to appear on FIGHT!’s cover twice. What’s one magazine you haven’t been on the cover of, but would like to be?
I can only dream, but Fortune 500 would be a good one.
Has your biggest business venture been created yet?
I have some big things in the pot. I have a great book that I’ve been working on that I think is gonna be huge. I also have a project I’m working on with Phil “Mr.Wonderful” Davis that I think is gonna be great for our sport, but you’re gonna have to stay tuned for that one.
Who would you like to see as a guest Octagon girl?
Brooklyn Decker. She’s smoking.
Your opponent at UFC 128 is Eddie Wineland, who came out for his last fight to Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” theme song. What pro wrestling theme would you come out to?
I’m a big fan of the old-school pro wrestlers, so we’re talking like the Junkyard Dog maybe.
What would Dana White look like with Urijah Faber’s hair?
It definitely wouldn’t hurt, that’s for sure.He has so much money he can probably work out a deal. I might be able to switch it over for him.
What can fans expect from The California Kid inside the UFC Octagon?
Lots of excitement. I’m looking to be the leader in the new organization. I want to be the top draw, the most exciting fighter, and a world champ.