Your two latest victories over Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger have come after you’ve been hurt or dropped. Do you require the sight of your own blood before you bring your best game?
Yeah, recently, I’ve had to get beat up a little bit before I start beating back. It’s something I have to work on in training—coming out of the gate at 100 percent.
How long does it take you to recover after a fight?
I took a lot of bumps and bruises in my last fight against Jake Ellenberger. I had knee surgery on June 11, but that was from an old injury that’s been bugging me for a long time. I wanted to get it fixed after the Rick Story fight, but then I got all these fight offers, and I kept saying, ‘I’ll get it fixed after this one. I’ll get it fixed after this one.’ Now, I got it fixed. But yeah, I defi nitely had some bruises from the Ellenberger fight. He cut me up, and I had a sore nose.
The injury bug has really bitten the UFC roster lately. Any ideas why that is?
It’s crazy. Everyone has been falling off the cards. There have been a lot of good fi ghts that I have been looking forward to that have fallen through. I don’t know what’s causing all the bad injuries. I imagine it’s just bad luck.
You’ve earned some time off after your last few wins. Any plans with your spare time?
I’m going to Denmark to go see the family. I’m really looking forward to spending some time with them. Summer is the best time to be in Denmark, and I can’t wait to get out there.
For someone visiting Denmark for the first time, where should they go?
Copenhagen—that’s the capitol city. That’s where most of the fun is. My wife says they should go to the country, but I think Copenhagen is more fun. Just make sure you go in the summer, because in the winter, it’s dark, cold, and depressing. However, in the summer, the sun is up until 10 or 11 p.m., and it’s a great time to be there.
You just turned 30 years old in April. Did leaving your twenties scare you at all?
I feel great as a fighter. My body still feels good, outside of a few injuries. I’m sure it would be more fun being 25 years old again, but I feel good. I still feel like I’ve got plenty of years left in me.
Did you have a raging celebration for the big 3-0?
I had a party at my house, and a bunch of people came over.
Did you do anything crazy that would be fun to talk about?
Nothing crazy. Just some BBQ and chilling. Lots of kids running around. No crazy clubbing or going out like that. No Vegas party life.
Do you miss it?
No. Not at all.
Johny Hendricks is up next for you at UFC 154 in November. What is it going to take to beat an NCAA Wrestling Champion?
Johny is tough, but everyone is beatable. Obviously, he’s got really good wrestling, and he’s got heavy hands. But he can be beat just like everyone else. Honestly, I’m not even worried about fighting right now. I don’t even have that fight in my head. I’m trying to be in vacation mode and not even think about fighting for a couple of weeks.
Do you have to do that every now and then? Get out of fight mode and get your head right?
Yes, but it’s hard because people keep calling me and asking fi ght questions. It’s not easy, but yeah, sometimes, it’s nice to get completely out of fi ght mode. It’s good. I’ll take a little vacation, take a little break, especially now with my knee injury. When I’m all healed up, I’ll come back healthy. Sometimes, you just need to give yourself some distance.
If you keep winning, you are only going to have to do more and more media.
I used to not like it, but you have to embrace it. It comes with the sport. It comes with the territory. So, I defi nitely got better at it. I’m still working on my media skills.
Hopefully you don’t have to bleed before you put on a good interview like you do in your fights.
I’m a work in progress [laughing].