As a full-time working man, family man and professional mixed martial artist at the highest level, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Seth Baczynski definitely has his plate full these days.
Spending his mixed martial arts career fighting everywhere from the International Fight League (IFL) and Rage in the Cage, Seth earned a spot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Liddell vs. Ortiz." After losing to eventual winner Court McGee, Seth then lost a decision to Brad Tavares at TUF 11 Finale.
After picking up two wins outside of the Octagon, Seth received a second chance with the promotion, stepping in for an injured Demarques Johnson at UFC Fight Night: "Shields vs. Ellenberger." Seizing his opportunity, Seth submitted Clay Harvison in the second round via rear naked choke.
Seth will look to pick up his fourth consecutive win and prolong his stay in the UFC by taking on UFC veteran Matt Brown this weekend (Nov. 19, 2011) at UFC 139: "Shogun vs. Henderson" from San Jose, California.
Get to know "The Polish Pistola" a bit more as he took time out of his training schedule to speak with MMAmania.com about recieving second chances, his time in TUF house, and balancing together all of his obligations and duties.
Check it out:
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, first off, what are the origins of the nickname, Polish Pistola?
Seth Baczynski: "I used to box at an all Hispanic boxing gym, I was the only white guy in there and I really didn't know how to box that well and they put me in against all those pros and you know.... I didn't know anything, so as soon as I'd get tagged up, I would just start winging punches as hard as I could. When the boxing coach would talk to me he would say, "Why does it look like your pulling your pistols from your hip you Pollock?" After a while, everyone just started calling me Polish Pistola."
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): You've been in the MMA game for close to six years now, fighting everywhere from Rage in the Cage, the IFL , a stint on TUF and eventually the UFC: how would you best describe your journey?
Seth Baczynski: Bumpy to say the least. There have been a lot of ups and downs in my career. I think I jumped the gun to early and went pro and took fights I shouldn't have at the time. Fortunately I got with the right guys, with the right coaching staff and everything fell together after that. I figured out how to train like a pro. You don't know your doing something wrong until you see it. However, training with guys like Aaron Simpson, C.B. Dollaway and Ryan Bader you get to see what real training is like. The first months of training, I was like "Man, I don't know if this is for me." My body hurt so bad and I was not used to high lever of training partners like that. But I kept at it and it made more sense. I feel like I have not hit my wall yet and there is still a lot of room to grow.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): Past participants on TUF have mixed feelings about thier time spent in the house. Being isolated from everything and everyone you know, how would you describe your time in the Ultimate Fighter house and would you do it again?
Seth Baczynski: I think the biggest thing for me and my career was the show. I mean I'm always going to work hard, that's what I do. I'm a competitor so, I would do it again, but I didn't win it (laughs). However, if I had won I would be like, "hell no I ain't spending six more weeks in that house," but seeing as how I lost, and the margin of loss to the guy that won the show (Court McGee) was very slim, I would do it again.
But, it was tough, my son was two weeks old when I left, my fiancé was awesome. Both her parents are pro golfers so she understand the amount of work you have to put into it. I just knew I had to do it because I did not want to be 50 years old and say, damn why I didn't take the opportunity to do it, because it is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): In your current camp, Power MMA in Arizona, you have a lot of high quality partners to train with, do you feel that camp absolutely brings out the best in you?
Seth Baczynski: Absolutely without a doubt they bring the best in me. Nobody stays on top of the mountain in our gym for long because everyone gets so good and we push each other to evolve. You have a lot of guys that are high level wrestlers and you are constantly getting the crap beat out of you every day by guys like Ryan Bader, Aaron Simpson and CB Dollaway.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): In your 2010 fight with Tim McKenzie, you broke your left arm due to a strong arm bar he had locked in, yet through the pain, you still didn't tap and kept going and eventually won the fight a few seconds after. Did you know right away that it had broken, and how did you keep going after that?
Seth Baczynski: I knew it was in trouble, and I had previously got arm bared on the same arm in a previous fight against Eddie Arizmendi and I got out the same way, I just turned the corner quicker so I didn't have the dislocation of my elbow. So I felt it pop and crack, so I realized that if I didn't get it back to the feet and I didn't knock him out it would be over. It happened so fast, it popped and I started raining elbows. It didn't break but I busted it up pretty bad and it will never be the same. But I got the win and that's all I cared about.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): The fight had a bit of controversy afterward, with claims from Mackenzie camp that you tapped; however, after seeing the fight a few times, the ref never even came close to stopping it at any time and you never tapped. Can you elaborate a bit on that bit of controversy?
Seth Baczynski: Tim is a good guy. No one has a bad word to say about the guy. An even though all that crap happened after the fight. It was a pivotal fight in our career so I understand him trying to take it off his record. After that a lot of people said bad things about me and my heritage. At the end of the day, I'm a pro athlete; I might do things that some people are not going to like. I think it overshadowed an awesome fight between me and Tim and probably one of the coolest wins of my careers.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): You're coming off an impressive victory of Clay Harvison at UFC Fight Night 25 after getting a second shot at the UFC. Gives us the feeling you get when you get a call from your manager and says, "Hey they want you to fight in the UFC."
Seth Baczynski: You know it was a huge weight off my shoulders. I know I can compete at 170 with anyone in the world. It was a grind you know. I was disappointed when I got back from the show with a lot of things in my game. I worked hard and dedicating the time to get back. I just had to walk that road that a lot of mixed martial artist walk after a couple bad defeats. It was a situation to whether I sit and get fat, or stay prepared for an opportunity. It was hard to stay focused because, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel because I didn't know when I was fighting next. So I knew that I might have to take fights on short notice.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): With MMA going so mainstream now, with the new deal on FOX, with new mainstream exposure, comes a lot more PR work. What do you think of fighters and athletes these days that simply try to get out of as much PR as possible?
Seth Baczynski: It's a necessary evil. If you want to blow of media and PR and stuff like that, you're going to have a hard time getting your name out there. Guys that blow off media now already have huge names. I'm trying to stay focused on doing what I gotta do, but if you're going to be under public scrutiny, that's just the way it is. If they think it's bad on the forums, imagine being a NFL quarterback. You know? (laughs) If you think we got it bad, how do you think Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco got it (laughs)? I see it as a blessing. I'm truly blessed to be where I am at so it does not bother me at all.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): MMA is one of the few sports, if the only, that fans can get up close and personal with all their favorite fighters. Again, some fighters appreciate a fan asking for an autograph or a signature and some don't, some prefer their privacy and space, is that an aspect of being in MMA and fighting for the UFC that you enjoy?
Seth Baczynski: I think it's awesome! That is what's unique about MMA. These guys they follow our sport and spend money on us, I never have a problem stopping for anyone. I think the NFL and NBA have gotten so big that I just think frankly they are just spoiled. On the other hand, they are just mega superstars so that sometimes there forced to act like that because at times they can't even go out and enjoy dinner. So it's a catch 22 type thing. Some might be jerks, but some might have good reasons for being jerks.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): A lot of fighters are very up front and honest as to why they fight. Some for money, some for fame, and some say for the pure love of the sport. What does Seth Baczynski fight for?
Seth Baczynski: I fight because I truly enjoy what I do. I think a lot of people in life never really find what it is that they truly love to do let alone ever get the chance to do it. I feel like I am one up on all of those people. I can say I do something I am truly passionate about and I truly enjoy doing and I get to do it at the best level in the world.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): You've got a very tough opponent coming up in Matt Brown at UFC 139, what are Matt's most dangerous aspects of MMA that you feel you have to be careful for?
Seth Baczynski: His mental toughness. He's a really tough guy. He always comes to fight. I'm not walking into this thinking I have an easy fight, by no means at all! I know I have to go in there and make him fight my fight and dictate the pace. If you start getting in a slugging contest with a guy like Matt you're going to give him the opportunities he wants.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): Speaking about mental toughness, no fighter in the UFC is guaranteed a "next time" should they lose. How do you prepare mentally for something like that going into a fight?
Seth Baczynski: It doesn't cross my mind because nothing in life is guaranteed. It doesn't matter if you're fighting in the UFC or if the company you work for the last 10 years is reconstructing everything. I try not to worry about things I can't control. I just worry about me and what I can do.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): You are one of very few mixed martial artists that have finishes on all of your victories. Does that speak alot about your style of fighting?
Seth Baczynski: Absolutely, I've lost fights in where I probably could have coasted a round out, but I got submitted or put myself in a bad position trying to go for the kill...but that's something that I will never change about myself. I come to fight and I don't want to go into a fight and just hold them there for time. I really want to beat them up and let them know that they fought me, and I want them to try to beat me up. That's why wrestling has a hard time selling tickets. I pride myself in trying to finish my fights; I don't see coasting out a victory a cool thing. I will always go for the finish.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): Aside from fighting in the UFC, you still have a full time job correct?
Seth Baczynski: Yup I have four kids, so until I start making enough money to assure that they can still live the same lifestyle that they live I will keep working as a pump technician, a lot of physical labor.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): How do you find the time to fit everything in one day: Family, work, high level MMA training and fighting?
Seth Baczynski: It's testing to say the least. I simply try to take it one day at a time. I Just try to cruise to it and do my thing. I never try to look at the whole week , I just look at the workout I have after work, what I have to do at work for and at the gym for that day. Get home and enjoy my family as much as I can and take it one step at a time.
Adam Guillen Jr. (MMAmania.com): Thank you for taking the time to talk to MMAmania.com Seth, if there was one thing you would like your fans to know about you that they may not know?
Seth Baczynski: I love the Arizona Cardinals! (laughs).
Seth would like to thank his training partners and coaching staff at Power MMA, Tilted Kilt, Windhawk Nutrition, Sky Auto, his performance and mental coach Al Fuentes and Elite Management Group. You can follow Seth on twitter @sethbmma.
Seth will look to keep his hot streak going this weekend against the very tough Matt Brown.
One thing for sure, win, lose or draw, if you're watching a Seth Baczynski fight, you know you're in for an exciting night of action.
What do you say, will Seth be able to handle the toughness that "The Immortal" brings to the table as he climbs the welterweight ranks in the UFC?