The last time we saw you in the Octagon you were sporting a new Big Lebowski tattoo. Any new Dude-inspired artwork?
No new tattoos, but I did meet the real Dude. His name is Jeff Dowd, and we met at the Palm Springs Film Festival last year. Hysterical. We sat and chatted just long enough to enjoy a few Caucasians. It was a big moment.
And the hair? What’s going to happen with those locks?
It’s hair to stay, dude. All the power is derived from the hair, and I don’t see me cutting it any time in the near future. I might do something like dreads when I get older, but it’s working for me now.
You moved yourself inside an RV for better mobility. How is life on the open road?
Not everybody is cut out for the open road, dude. I’m looking for a house right now so my teammates can stay and train in a place nearby without being all over each other. I guess some people are just a little above the trailer park life
You brought your wrestling coach Israel “Izzy” Martinez from Illinois to New Mexico. How has that relationship been developing?
Izzy is the wrestling coach at Greg Jackson’s Gym now, and he’s helped everyone with their camps, including Jon Jones. He’s absolutely instrumental in my training camps, and he’ll be out here for the entirety of my training camp for my upcoming fight with Gray Maynard. We’ve worked together for a long time, and he sees the holes in people’s games, including mine.
What went wrong in your close decision loss to Benson Henderson at the UFC on Fox 1?
I blame myself for not doing what I had trained when it came to wrestling. Izzy had seen the holes in Benson’s game, and I tried to work them to my advantage, like the clinch work and getting into better position against the fence. I didn’t do it as well as I would have hoped. I don’t think he was better—he just had better positioning.
Do you think you would have beat him if it was a five-round fight?
That would have been to my advantage for sure, but he won the fight, and then beat the champion. I’ve got nothing but respect for Benson.
Did you and Gray Maynard see each other at the NCAA Wrestling Championship in St. Louis, MO, in March?
Yeah, we bumped into each other and kinda laughed and gave each other a handshake and a hug. We’ve always gotten along really well, and there’s no bad blood or anything like that. I don’t have beef with opponents, and Gray is a really cool dude.
Your fight with Gray is five rounds. It’s been a while since you’ve seen those late rounds.
Five rounds is awesome, man. It’s absolutely tailor made for me. I’m gonna go out there and show him how much different five rounds with me will feel. I know Gray is a smart dude, and he’s already been training for a five-round battle, and he has more recent experience in those rounds. I think my last five-rounder was Gilbert Melendez back in my Strikeforce days.
Where do you see yourself after the fight with Gray?
It’s a loaded division, but a close loss to Benson and a win over Gray and I’m right back in the title hunt. I want another chance to show everyone I can be the champ. I want to fight for the title.
Catch ya down the trail on June 22.
The Dude abides.