Dana White has spoken publicly about enjoying watching your fights. Does that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?
Dana has been in the sport of mixed martial arts for a very long time, and he really knows the sport inside and out. If he’s happy with what I do, then that is great for me. It’s a tough business—losses and bad performances are going to happen—but if the boss enjoys your fighting style, there is some job security in that. I also like to perform well and get the win because at the end of the day I’m in the winning business.
The hat you wear during your walk to the cage and post-fight interviews has become your signature look. How did that come about?
When I first started wearing the hat, it was in tribute to my grandfather, who was a bare-knuckle boxer. He used to wear a trilby hat and braces—or what you guys in America would call suspenders. In England, suspenders are a bit different because they are women’s underwear. Some people don’t get my walkout. Some people don’t get it at all, and others get it confused with Mickey from Snatch. But I wear it as a tribute to my grand daddy. Originally, I wore the hat that belonged to him, but one of my mate’s dogs chewed it up and I had to get another one.
The UFC has made two trips to Sweden, and you’ve been on both cards. You’ve also competed numerous times in your home country of England. Are there are any noticeable differences between the crowds in the two countries.
The English crowds are a bit louder. They are very similar to American crowds in that aspect, as they are both very vocal. Swedish crowds are different in that regard, but they are very knowledgeable about the sport. They clap and applaud the ground work, which is not appreciated as much in the U.K. and America. They are different types of crowds, but both good in their own ways.
What’s the secret to having KO power as a 135-pound fighter?
To be honest, it isn’t much of a secret. It is just one of those things where you either hit hard or you don’t. You see it at heavyweight as well. Some of the fighters in that division hit very hard and others don’t. Obviously, it has a little bit to do with technique and timing, but it also comes down to genetics and your ability to be a heavy-hitter. Look at Roy Nelson. He gets in there and throws a wild bomb, and if he hits you…you are going out. I know the lighter fighters are criticized because they are not all finishers, but if you put it into context with the rest of the divisions, there are actually quite a lot of finishes. Trying not to be biased—which I completely am—when you watch a fight in the lighter weight classes, there will be knockouts and submissions, but if those don’t happen, you are guaranteed to see an exciting fight between two guys who will never gas out. On the other hand, in the heavyweight division, if the knockout or submission doesn’t happen, you are going to see two boring guys lying on top of one another. That’s why I personally prefer watching the lighter fighters compete.
As a fighter who lives in England but spends time training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, what is your motivation for coming stateside?
I live in England, but when I get closer to a fight, I like to travel to American Top Team to train. I have been going there for quite some time, and there are a lot of great training partners at the gym. Going there also provides me the opportunity to get away from my day-to-day life and put all of my focus on the fight ahead.
It’s rumored that you have solid skills on the soccer—excuse me—futbol field. Had you not chosen a career as a professional mixed martial artist, is there any chance we would know you as Brad “One Kick” Pickett?
That was the main goal. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a futbol player. That was my thing. I love futbol so much, and if I could make the same money playing futbol, I would much rather kick around a ball for 90 minutes than get punched in the face. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sport of mixed martial arts, but futbol is something I have played my entire life. I didn’t get into MMA until I was 26 years old.
At the end of the day, which way do you go…The Beatles or The Stones?
Man…that is a tough one [laughing]. I’ve never been asked that question before. I feel I would have to take The Rolling Stones to be honest. No…scratch that. I would take The Beatles. I have to say I’m truly torn on this one. You really threw a wrench in the works with this. I’m going to say The Beatles. Or maybe The Beatles and mix in The Rolling Stones. I’m torn over this issue now.