You’re someone who intellectualizes martial arts. What does that do for your game?
I think it helps explain it. It makes it easier to improve. When things are explained, it allows me to train for the different variables
You are known as a jiu-jitsu guy, however, you began wrestling in high school. Who was your inspiration in wrestling?
Bruce Baumgartner was someone I always admired because he was so slick as a heavyweight. A lot of heavyweights fall into the, ‘Well, that’s a small guy move, that’s not how big guys wrestle.’ I never really understood that. If there are heavyweights out their like Baumgartner doing it, I should be able to train for it.
What was your favorite part about competing on the jiu-jitsu grappling circuit?
I just thought it was cool that we were allowed to compete. I wish that’s one thing it was easier for us to do—compete in things like that. Now, it’s more difficult. I think it hones our skills because we are out there competing. Plus, I enjoy different aspects of martial arts, so it was fun to me regardless of whether we’re getting paid or not.
How is Robert Drysdale going to do in his MMA career?
He’s going to have a very good career in MMA. If someone of his BJJ caliber got into MMA 10 years ago, they would have just relied on those BJJ skills to take the fight
into that realm. However, Robert is very open-minded. Every time I go to Xtreme Couture, he’s working on his boxing. It’s funny, I’ve watched him in the gym with stand-up guys and he more than holds his own. I think he has a lot of people to look at and learn from their mistakes, so I think he’s gonna be a pain in the ass for many fighters over the next couple of years.
At this point in MMA, do you need a highlevel athletic pedigree to enter the sport?
I think it helps. The way the human mind works, it’s hard to learn everything at once. I always tell people this as to why my boxing has evolved: I constantly focus on boxing on certain days in the gym. For years now, I’ve done that. You have to get out of your comfort zone.
You almost have to become obsessed with one aspect to make the necessary strides?
I was reading a book on the neurology of a fighter pilot, and they were discussing just that very thing—how to actually set pathways and synapses in the brain. Look, if you want to be good at golf, you can’t go play tennis in the evenings. You’re confusing your brain. You’re not setting up the proper motor skills. You’re never gonna be good at golf, because you’re never giving yourself that time to set up those pathways into your brain. Play golf that day, and when you go to sleep, that’s in your short-term memory, and it will start processing the long-term memory, and you’ll start developing those skills in your brain, hardwiring yourself. Right now in MMA, they’re
doing the same concept—golfing in the morning, tennis in the evening.
Did Tank Abbott say anything mean to you after you submitted him at UFC 41?
To be honest, he was actually pretty respectful. There was only one moment after the fight—we were all in the UFC lounge area and people were drinking, and someone stepped out of the way, and I realized Tank was right behind him. He had a plastic cup and it appeared to be filled with beer. We made eye contact. I go, ‘Oh shit, it’s Tank Abbott. He just lost to me earlier. He might not be in a good mood.’ He just kinda lifted up his cup and nodded at me. It wasn’t an overly zealous, ‘Hey man, how you doing?’ scenario, but it was just a nod, as in ‘This is what we’re getting paid to do,’ and he just walked away.
Thanks Frank, we look forward to seeing you versus Roy Nelson at UFC 130 on May 28.