What did you want to be when you were little?
I always wanted to be a professional athlete. I knew that I couldn’t play basketball, and I was too small for football, but I always wanted to do something with sports. I really lucked out that MMA took off. I always knew in the back of my mind I wanted to be an athlete—I just didn’t know what kind.
Is Oregon’s big fight scene what got you into MMA?
There were MMA shows all over Oregon when I was in college. But, none of them were taking place in Eugene, my hometown and where I was going to school. Fortunately, the University of Oregon had a jiu-jitsu elective for class—you could take jiu-jitsu and get credit for it. I tried it out and really enjoyed it, and I kept the ball rolling after that.
What’s life like on the UFC fast track?
It’s been exciting. It’s a dream come true. It’s better than working 9 to 5 like I used to do. I’m just taking it in stride and trying to make the best of it.
What did you learn from your first loss?
I’m getting tougher and tougher opponents.I’m not taking any steps back. This last fight with Sean Sherk was great—even though I lost. I think it’s gonna do a lot for me in the future, knowing that I can go in there and take it to a guy who held the belt at the highest level. I’m still disappointed in the loss, but there’s nothing I can do about that at this point. I’m just glad that I gained some fans.
Being a kid from Oregon, how’s living in Vegas where there’s no rain?
It feels great. No rain is awesome. I wouldn’t mind a little more greenery around here, but I’m working on that by putting some trees and stuff in my backyard. I’m bringing a little bit of Oregon back to Vegas.
Do you see yourself among some of the best new fighters in the sport, like Ryan Bader and Jon Jones?
I do think I’m a little bit of the new wave, somebody who is well-rounded in all aspects and also creates exciting fights that people like to watch.
Do you have an official nickname yet?
I’ve got a lot of fans calling me “3-D” lately. Technically, no, I don’t have a nickname, but I don’t mind 3-D. I think it represents me well. Three-dimensional: wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and stand-up, so I think it’s good. But officially, no, I’ve never been a big nickname kind of guy.
At the end of practice at Xtreme Couture, does Randy give any acting tips?
No, but I’d definitely take them if he gave them. I need some if I’m gonna do any acting, which I don’t foresee in the future.
What food do you miss the most during training camp?
I miss pasta. I really like spaghetti, but I don’t have much of it now.
What about Evan “Spaghetti” Dunham?
Dunham? That might work! My arms are like spaghetti noodles.
I wouldn’t do that to you. Who’s your hero?
My Dad. He did everything he could do in life to provide for his family and that’s important. He doesn’t look after himself first, he looks after others first. I try to be like him. He’s a great role model for me. He’s always got his head on straight.
What should fans know before your next fight?
Thanks for all the support and all the feedback after the last fight. I know it was a rough fight. I didn’t get the decision that I wanted. I promise in this next fight that I’m coming to get my win back.