How many text messages did you get after your Knockout of the Night performance against DaMarques Johnson on UFC on Fox 4?
That was the most feedback I’ve ever gotten for any fight in my career—Twitter, text messages, emails, phone calls. I think every person that I’ve ever met watched this fight. It was great how it turned out, but I had a lot of pressure beforehand. I heard about all these parties, and people were like, ‘We’re counting on you.’
You certainly came through with flying colors. Where do you think you are in the division right now?
I feel like it was a rusty performance. I think I fought well and did what I was supposed to do, but I definitely want to fine-tune some things and be a little cleaner with my strategy. The more I fight, the more I will get used to being back out there. Two-and-a-half years is a long, long time to be away from the Octagon.
Have you already spent your $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus?
No way, dude. I’m all business outside of fighting. It’s going to be invested in my current businesses or future businesses. I have a screen-printing shop. We do custom t-shirts, shorts, banners, stickers, decals. It’s cool when I’m printing the shorts and shirts that our guys are out there fighting in.
Just as long as you don’t put any more foil on your shirts.
Yeah, we’re a no-foil shop.
When you’re walking to the cage, do you ever say to yourself, ‘What the hell am I doing with my life?’
Not now. I did in the beginning, when I was fighting in 1998, and I’d walk out to a cage that was half built and half torn down. I was fi ghting a guy with a mohawk and cut-off jeans, and everyone in the audience was drunk and throwing beer cans at me. There was definitely a moment where I was like, ‘Why am I entertaining these people?’
That sounds pretty fun.
It was like Fight Club. Back in those days, it was a lot different than fighting live on FOX.
Since you suffer from esophageal spasms that severely limit your diet, what was on your post-fight eating list?
I can’t eat anything spicy, which sucks. I can’t do any of the binging like I used to. Super high-sugar foods cause spasms, but I managed to get one milkshake at Johnny Rockets, and it was pretty sweet. I pretty much didn’t go dairy this entire training camp.
Do you plan on wrapping yourself in bubble wrap to make sure you never miss a fight again?
It wasn’t injuries. It was what I was eating. I was so malnourished. I was eating so unhealthy. I was eating proteins and carbs and breads, and so I think I was just frail. Now, I should be no different than anyone else in terms of injuries.
Did you hear that Dana White called you ‘Mr. Glass’ during a prefight conference call?
Even funnier than that—well before they knew about my health issue, Dana told me I had an action figure, and I was all excited because it was in the first series that came out. I was so happy. And then he said, ‘Well, the only thing is, when people take it out of the package, it’s going to fall apart. The legs and arms are going to fall off.’ He really led me to believe it, so I expected my action figure to be on crutches or something. I was relieved to find out it was a normal figure. I had to pull it out and try to break it to be sure.
Speaking of things that are hard to break, have you ever gotten a commemorative rocket launcher from all the military tours you’ve done?
I could never get those through customs. Someone gave me a lead .50-caliber bullet in Iraq, and I put it in my carry-on. I completely forgot about it, and I actually made it all the way home. It was a cool souvenir and kind of a shock that they didn’t find anything.
You’re a big poker player. Do you ever sit in on any cash games when you’re overseas?
I can’t confi rm or deny doing cash games. I play fun games where we play for absolute fun.
What’s next for you? Vacation? Poker? Fighting?
I’m just thinking about fighting. Right now, I need to have a little scope—a real in-and-out operation. After that, I’ll be right back in the gym getting ready for a fi ght. I want to keep fighting. I don’t want any time off. No more ring rust.