Know your Bellator: MMAmania interview exclusive with season five welterweight Brent Weedman

Photo by Keith Mills via Sherdog

Brent Weedman is one of the most cerebral fighters you'll ever meet.

From his undying love for the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan to his tattoo of the solar system on his leg, Weedman has a deep passion for getting the most out of the human body and pushing his limits

The Kentucky-based fighter burst onto the scene with three consecutive first round stoppage victories on the Bellator undercard, which resulted in an invite to the season four welterweight tournament. Weedman avenged a previous loss to Dan Hornbuckle to run his win streak to 10 straight before suffering a controversial defeat via decision to eventual tournament winner Jay Hieron in the semifinals.

Now the 27-year-old is back and ready to set the universe back in order after earning another shot at the season five tournament. 

Weedman spoke with MMAmania.com in part two of this 32-part series on the upcoming fifth season of Bellator about the disappointment of the Heiron loss, his upcoming fight with Chris Lozano and of course, the cosmos.

Check it out:

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Ok, let's go back to your last fight in Bellator against Jay Hieron. It was a very controversial decision. When I rewatched it, the only round that I would even give Hieron was the first round and you knocked him down and mounted him inside the first minute. How frustrating was that, sitting there hearing it's a unanimous decision and then seeing Jay Hieron's hand being raised?

Brent Weedman: It was really tough especially at the time. It was really difficult for that first 24 hours. When you're in the ring, you're not thinking of any of the implications of the fight, you're not thinking of moving on in the tournament, you're not thinking about the paycheck. At the end of the day, all of us do this because A: we love to fight and B: we play to win. If we're playing chess or jiu-jitsu, the goal is to win. Once the adrenaline wears down and you start thinking about it, that's when you start thinking, "well, not only did I lose my win bonus here, but I lose my show money for the next fight which was $20,000 and I felt really, really good about the Rick Hawn match-up and that could be $100,000 out of my pocket too. It's definitely really disappointing thinking about the implications of that poor decision.

Rick Hawn had something really funny to say when we all went out to New York for the photoshoot about the upcoming tournament. He said, "when the fight was over, I knew I lost because I didn't beat Hieron as bad as Weedman did and if Weedman didn't get the decision than I knew I wouldn't either." (laughs) That was a nice compliment from a high caliber fighter. I made peace with it really quickly though. It was something my dad taught me when I was really little. "If you're upset about something and you can change it, then do something about it. If you can't change it, then quit complaining."

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Every one of your career victories had been a stoppage coming into that tournament. With that close decision victory over Dan Hornbuckle and the controversial decision loss to Jay Hieron, does that make you want to not get a decision that much more coming into this tournament?

Brent Weedman: It does, more than anything. If you want to win by points, go play  basketball. I'm not the guy who's in the cage trying to score points here, score points there. Dan Hornbuckle is the most awkward human being I've ever faced in terms of awkward style and awkward body type. I had a very difficult time putting him away. I had that rear naked choke in the second round but that was a day late and a dollar short. Against Jay Hieron, man, I just didn't bring my track shoes. I was trying to get him but I had to chase him around the cage. It lit a fire under my ass thinking, "well, that effort isn't going to get it done, clearly. I've got to do it even more."

I'm excited to fight a guy like Chris Lozano now because he's not a guy that's afraid to fight. I'm not gonna say Jay was afraid but Jay's in there playing the game, juking around and flicking his jab. That's not what Chris Lozano does and I"m excited to fight  a guy like that.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I think when people are looking at this tournament, at the Chris Lozano vs. Brent Weedman fight, they are thinking, "this is fight of the night guaranteed." You guys have really strong martial arts backgrounds which is a rarity these days. It seems like every new fighter is a wrestler but Chris has a strong taikwondo background and you've got that big history of full contact karate. This has the makings of a terrific stand-up fight.

Brent Weedman: Yeah it really does and I think we both make exciting fights on the ground too. I've got an attacking jiu-jitsu style and Chris has got strong jiu-jitsu as well. The last guy he fought he put to sleep with a rear naked choke and in his fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida, he took him down and bullied him and beat him up on the ground. I think anywhere this fight goes, it's gonna be exciting. He's got the exact same mindset as me which is, "Somebody is getting finished and it ain't gonna be me." 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Is there anything you put a specific focus on in the lead-up to this new tournament for Bellator?

Brent Weedman: Definitely. We put in a ton of time focusing especially on footwork. Footwork training. The one day, I was in the gym Monday after fighting Jay Hieron because Bellator had called and said, "Don't gain any wait because Jay needs doctor's clearance to fight in the finals and we may need to use you," you know, because he kicked my ass so badly (laughs).

I was in the gym Monday and we watched the fight and it was all footwork mistakes. That's a regulation cage and we don't train in a regulation cage, we train in a smaller ring. It forces you to engage because that's usually the problem fighters have. I had to sit back and analyze, "What if I've got a guy that's backpedaling?" I needed to work on my footwork. Looking at the tape there were a few times where, out of desperation, I would try to reach him and I would go completely off balance and that could look bad to the judges. I've been training since the Jay Hieron fight and I've been on weight for over two months. We've been getting after it ever since.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Coming into this tournament, one of the new entrants into the field was Douglas Lima. Going back through your record, your fight against Douglas Lima was the turning point of your career. Can you talk about that situation, because that's where you really took off.

Brent Weedman: That was a big experience for me. At the time, it was my biggest fight not only in status but there were 6000 people, it was the Phillips Arena where the Atlanta Hawks play and 5999 of those people were there to see Douglas Lima. That was a big fight for me, to shut up the home crowd, build some new fans. That was a huge turning point for me, find out what my potential was and scrapping with a guy that was undoubtedly good. I was at a journeyman point of my career and Douglas Lima was a really big name especially in Atlanta at the time which is where he trains.

I know he wants the rematch really bad, he said it when he came over to Bellator in the press release so I'm bound by honor to give it to him. I really hope, and far be it from me to say I'm looking past Chris Lozano or anything like that, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I hoped I got Douglas Lima in the later rounds because that would kill two birds with one stone. If I don't fight him in this tournament, I'd probably have to fight him another time because he wants it and I owe it to him. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Ok, completely off topic, but this is a whole new season of Bellator and an opportunity for people to get to know Brent Weedman so I want them to get to know all of Brent Weedman. That means talking about the universe and the cosmos. I want to know what your thoughts are on Neil deGrasse Tyson rebooting the Cosmos series because I know you're a huge Carl Sagan fan.

Brent Weedman: I feel like somebody signed a deal with the devil to make that happen. It's almost too good to be true and it's being produced by Seth McFarlane, the creator of Family Guy and he's obviously got a ton of pull over at FOX. He even got them to put it on prime time. A prime time television show in America about the cosmos. I can't wrap my mind around it.

Neil deGrassse Tyson is insanely entertaining. I've said it more than once but he's our generation's Carl Sagan and I don't say that lightly. He's just the forefront of astrophysics. He's not just some slouch, he's the curator of the Hayden Planetarium and he's an excellent, excellent astrophysicist and he just stumbled into this television career by doing a couple interviews because they needed somebody to talk abut something and somebody looked at his interview and thought, "Wow, this guy can convey some pretty high level information to the layperson really well in laymen's terms." That's his strong point and I couldn't think of a better person to do another Cosmos series. 

Cosmos was so ahead of its time anyways, no pun intended on the whole time thing. I can't imagine with the technology today and I don't think people understand how much modern science changes, how much we learn every day. It kills me, it KILLS me that people talk about cutting NASA. The U.S. has already cut all manned space flights and it's insane because people go, "We're broke, what do we need to go to the moon for? What do we need to go to Mars for?"

A fighter even told me he was glad we're cutting it, that it was ridiculous and I asked him, "Have you ever had an MRI?" He goes, "Of course, I've had a lot of MRI's," and I said, "The science for magnetic resonance imaging came from astrophysicists. That technology was designed so we can use magnet resonance and look into the cosmos and another scientist realized there were other implications for that technology and they created the MRI machine. Science is a universal thing. Understanding the cosmos is our prime directive. It's what we should all be doing, trying to understand the universe. I'm really excited and I've got some cautious optimism that this will burst interest in science and astronomy in the US.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Before I let you go, a lot of fighters visualize success, going through the head thousands of times in their head before the fight. How do you see this fight playing out on September 10?

Brent Weedman: I'd like to knock him out with the very first punch that I throw, that would be the ideal situation. I don't think that's going to happen. I think he's a lot tougher than that. I see us having a strong battle. There was an analysis written about this fight and other than the fact they they chose Chris Lozano to win in the end, I agreed with the analysis. Stylistically, it's a really interesting match-up. I think technically speaking, I'm a technically better kickboxer and I'm a technically better grappler on the ground but that being said, if you let Chris Lozano hit you or put you in a submission then your night's over.

If I take too much damage, technique means nothing so I have to be really smart. I sort of enjoy standing in the pocket and trading licks but when  you fight a guy that's bigger than you, it's not a great idea. My only prediction is that the finish will be a surprise. It's going to be a battle and the end is going to be fantastic. Of course it's going to be me winning, at least that's what I tell myself. It'll be one that people remember hopefully. 

Brent would like to thank his coaches, Eric Haycraft and Helio Soneca who have done a terrific job helping him prepare for this fight in Kentucky.

So Maniacs, will Weedman's cerebral approach to this upcoming Bellator season benefit him? Or will Chris Lozano give him some brain damage in the tournament quarterfinals?

Sound off!

Be sure to check out these other interviews from our Bellator welterweight introductory series:

Chris Lozano interview
Ben Saunders interview (part two)
Ben Saunders interview (part one)
Douglas Lima interview
Steve Carl interview
Dan Hornbuckle interview

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