Photo by Martin McNeil via SBNation
Top UFC bantamweight contender Brad Pickett has a potential interim title shot on the line this weekend when he takes on the extremely powerful Eddie Wineland in a 135-pound showdown at UFC 155. Find out what he's thinking entering this fight in his exclusive interview with MMAmania.com below.
Brad Pickett is a man on a mission.
After a rough debut in the UFC that saw him lose to current interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao in front of his hometown fans, "One Punch" has cruised to consecutive exciting finishes which saw him bring home post-fight bonuses.
In fact, Pickett has a perfect streak of three for three in the post-fight bonus department thus far in his brief UFC career.
The veteran bantamweight has an extremely fan-friendly style which involved extreme aggression on the feet, a very solid ground game to compliment his striking and some newfound power which wowed fans in his last bout, a "Knockout of the Night"-winning performance against scary striker Yves Jabouin.
Now, Pickett has his sights set on a potential interim bantamweight title shot when he battles former WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland this Saturday night in the final bout of the UFC 155 preliminary card.
"One Punch" spoke to MMAmania.com about finally living up to his nickname, visa issues that delayed his training camp at ATT and potentially getting a crack at that interim belt in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've had your nickname "One Punch" for years, how did it feel to finally get that first elusive knockout under the Zuffa banner?
Brad Pickett: A nickname is a nickname. Like Paul "Semtex" Daly isn't made out of explosives, he's not going to blow anybody up. I do like to think I hit hard for my weight class and things like that and it had actually been some time since my last KO. It was a Cage Rage fight I won by a body shot. It's my favorite way of winning and it was nice to get it on the big stage and it wasn't just a TKO, it was a clean knockout. Obviously, with a name like "One Punch" it does come with an extra bit of pressure to deliver that. It was nice to get that one out of the way.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Reading your blogs, you had mentioned that you knew you hit that hard, but it just wasn't coming to fruition in your fights. Do you feel like you found the right recipe?
Brad Pickett: Well if you've seen all my fights, you know I go hard in all my fights, it's just how some fights go. I've dropped several guys in my fights, I dropped Ivan Menjivar and Damacio Page a few times, but sometimes they're just quick to recover or something like that or perhaps you don't catch them perfectly cleanly in the sweet spot, you hit the top of the head or those sort of things, there's a lot more variables to what we do.
Also, because I've got a well-rounded game, I don't just look to strike. I look to do other things. It's not like I just discovered knockout power. I've always had it, it was just nice to have everything go so completely right against, in my opinion one of the best strikers in my weight class and finish that fight in the way I did.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You had some visa issues that prevented you from coming to American Top Team early in your training camp. How much did that affect you and was it serious enough to nearly force you out of your fight?
Brad Pickett: I had a working visa before when I fought in the WEC, but since coming from the WEC to the UFC, I've fought in the UK, Sweden and then the UK again so my visa had run out. I thought it would be easy to just renew my visa but it was actually quite a long process, just as long as getting a new visa which is long to begin with. It just took longer than I was expecting. Just because I fight in the UFC didn't make it go any quicker either. I still had to jump through the same hoops as everyone else.
I have great conditioning coaches back at the UK and great sparring partners there so I got myself in very good shape with some great training there and then came here to ATT in phenomenal shape. It was just a case of working with my coaches like Mike Brown and getting some gameplan techniques specific for the fight and that sort of stuff.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned the strength and conditioning coach and from what I've heard, your conditioning has been a huge focus heading into this fight. Can you talk about what specific things you have to do to improve your conditioning and get in ideal fight shape? We all know it's not as simple as going for a five mile run.
Brad Pickett: I have a world class conditioning coach named Tim Benjamin. He's an ex-Olympian himself and that doesn't just mean he'll be a great coach, just because you've performed at a high level doesn't mean you'll be able to relay that information to students, but he actually went to University and studied all the right areas and all that side of things so he's got the science and the experience. He knows how you should train and how the body works. He was number two in the world at 400 meters for many years. You have to be explosive but also have conditioning while you do it so he's been a huge factor in my conditioning this past year. I feel in the best shape I've ever been.
Sometimes it's not a case of doing crazy conditioning exercises all the time and constantly breaking down your body. Sometimes it's just doing the right things at the right times and I work a lot on heartrate markers and he's helped me out so much.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've characterized your upcoming opponent Eddie Wineland as being an unorthodox striker. What is it about his style that makes him so unorthodox compared to the rest of the guys in the division?
Brad Pickett: He's got a bit of counter punching background. He keeps his hands low and tries to catch you coming in to hit him because his hands are low and he counter punches you. He's got dangerous power and he hits really hard. I wouldn't call him an aggressive fighter but he's very dangerous and patient. He's not looking to come forward, he's gonna look for me to come forward which I'm prepared to do. He's gonna try to make me miss and hit me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Speaking of that, coming forward, putting pressure on your opponents and forcing the fight is your bread and butter. Is there a hesitancy almost when you're facing a guy that's looking to counter off your aggression like that?
Brad Pickett: Nah, it's still my style. He hits hard but in striking, you want to box a brawler and brawl a boxer. He'll want to box me and I'll want to brawl him. For me, it's not like I'm just a brawler. My coaches call it "controlled chaos." You go hard and stuff, but I'm not just going wild and leaving myself wide open. I know what I want to do and he knows what I want to do and it's just a case of who actually implements their gameplan successfully.
Brad Pickett: Yeah, basically it's kind of like a phrase. Me, personally, always throughout my career, I've always gone into my fights knowing my opponent is probably more technical than me. But technique doesn't mean nothing if you if you're not ready to really fight, scrap and mentally break people down, grab hold of them and be physical, walk forward through punches and punch back. That's what I feel manbeasting is. It's the art of not worrying about what they're gonna do and just imposing your gameplan, your will on the fight and being where you want to be.