Brent Weedman (left) punches Thiago Michel (right) in the face at Bellator 66 last month. Photo via Bellator.com
Brent Weedman has had a wonderful distraction in the lead-up to his Bellator season six lightweight tournament final.
The Louisville native is a father for the first time.
While he took a little longer to get into the groove of training after his semifinal victory over Thiago Michel, Weedman is more than ready for the biggest fight of his career thus far.
The self-proclaimed "student of the universe" has looked sharp ever since dropping down to 155 pounds, advancing to his first tournament finals and he'll be taking on former judo Olympian Rick Hawn this Friday night (May 25, 2012) at Bellator 70.
Weedman spoke with MMAmania.com during a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission and he spoke about the debut of his son, his advantages over Rick Hawn and what exactly the judo Olympian has done that has impressed him the most in part one of this exclusive interview.
Check it out:Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How has your life changed in the few weeks since new baby arrived?
Brent Weedman: Yeah, it's been fantastic. He's an infant so basically he's an animate bag of flour at this point. We just sort of keep him alive and stare at him a whole bunch but he's really alert for being a newborn. I never had a baby before but I've had a lot of people tell me he's much more aware and active than a lot of newborns are so he's been a blast and I really enjoy being a dad.
Brian Hemminger ( MMAmania.com ): Is it like how Joe Rogan described where you've got that chemical reaction going on in your brain where, no matter what happens, that is the ultimate thing. This baby is the most important thing in your life and everything you do is about his survival and success.
Brent Weedman: Yeah it's funny to learn about that stuff and by the way, this is a precursor, my advice for future parents out there is to do a bit of nerdy research before your child comes about the chemical and physiological changes that will happen in your brain and it's really trippy to sort of intellectually know what's going on and experience it emotionally at the same time if that makes sense. So yeah, the flooding of oxytocin and these other "love chemicals" or whatever is just immense. It's an undescribable feeling, it's something you have to experience first hand to truly understand and the great part is he's just two weeks old so every day is something new. He gets a little more advanced every day. Eventually he's gonna be talking, walking around and it's an exciting journey.
Brian Hemminger ( MMAmania.com ): Have you been peed or crapped on yet?
Brent Weedman: No I have not. I'm pretty good at dodging punches so when I see the pee coming, I like to give a little head slip and get out of the way. He is a boy so there have been a few of those. My favorite experience so far and I'm not sure how stoked she'll be with me sharing this, but wife was changing him the other day and had him by his ankles and was wiping his bottom, changing his diaper out and she looked and for a split second she said, "I was really confused because his face was dripping wet." While she had picked him up, he'd started peeing, like all over his head and she totally didn't notice and just held him there while he pissed all over himself so I thought that was pretty hilarious. I'm gonna save that story for like prom night or something before I bust that out on him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Has it interfered at all with your training schedule? Have you had to come home and check up on him in between sessions? What's been the deal with that?
Brent Weedman: We're up to speed now, but I'll give you guys the straight inside scoop. Honestly, yeah, it did mess with training a little bit in terms of getting back into the swing of things. He was due, he was supposed to come the week of my last fight. In fact, my father and I drove home from Cleveland the night I fought. Like I got home at six in the morning or whatever after fighting Thiago [Michel] which was hell by the way. Being in the car with my dad was nice but driving straight home after fighting was miserable. He was nine days late so not only did I have that week where I was sort of supposed to heal up a little bit. Thiago and I had ourselves a little battle and I was a little beat up. I trained, but not at full speed like I did after I fought J.J. [Ambrose] and the week after that, he was nine days late, born on May 1st and that really threw a wrench into things.
My wife ended up having a Caecarean section and we were in the hospital for four or five days so yeah, getting back into the swing of things with a full camp was a little difficult. I ended up having to run at the hospital and things like that. It'll make for some good stories later on down the road but it definitely put a crunch on this camp not having as much time to turn around and get back right into swing of things. Things are fine now. We caught up. We had to double time a little bit but yeah, it's been a little difficult.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How long do you think it took before you got back into it? You had taken a bit of damage during the Michel fight as well which was a little different from the Ambrose fight.
Brent Weedman: I think I sparred the second week after the fight. I sparred the week he was born. My wife likes to say I'm ‘Wolverine.' I heal remarkably quickly. Everybody saw my eye and everybody freaked out about my eye, "Oh my gosh! So much damage. So much damage!" Well, A: the good news is my eye itself was perfectly fine. It was just a mouse underneath my eye. The eyeball itself and my vision and everything was perfect. That was pretty much gone within a few days. That first week I didn't do any sparring but the second week we were back at it with headgear and all that jazz.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's talk about moving forward with Rick Hawn. What did you have to do differently in preparation for this guy because he so compact, so powerful and just so dangerous?
Brent Weedman: I think this is a type of fight where my biggest strength will be a factor, which is my versatility. I've got a lot of fights and I've won fights in every single fashion that you could imagine. I've talked to fighters who actually told me, "Oh, you know jiu-jitsu? We thought you were just some muay thai kickboxer," and then I've talked to guys who said, "You kickbox? We've only seen you go to the ground." I've you've only seen one or two or even three of my fights depending on which fights you've seen, then you've only seen a couple variations of my style and that's because my style is very diverse.
I've been taking advantage of jiu-jitsu and takedowns in my recent fights but it's cool to be able to dramatically switch up the gameplan against someone like Rick Hawn and still feel confident. I don't think there's anywhere he can take me where I'm like, "Oh as long as we're not on the ground, or as long as we're not in the clinch or as long as we're not in the pocket," I'm actually cool with any of it. It's fun. We get to draw up a gameplan for a totally different opponent.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What's the biggest difference between you and Rick Hawn?
Brent Weedman: Rick presents his own unique problems. He's his own puzzle. I think that's one of my favorite things about this sport, trying to figure out the Rubik's cube of each fighter, what's going to be the answer of each one of them. I guess the difference is Rick's only been doing this a few years, 2-3 years. I think he's got 10 fights. He's very, very, very good at what he does, but, if you look at most of his fights that are on line, what he does is what he does. You can watch my 30 fights or whatever I have now but not only will you see something a little bit different each and every fight, I still haven't shown everything I can do. That's what makes me so dangerous is that I have a lot of tools.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How impressed are you with what Hawn has been able to do in the lightweight tournament thus far, destroying Tirloni and then lulled Lloyd Woodard to sleep in the first round before brutalizing him in the second. He might have a similar style in all his fights, but he's getting more and more effective at doing it.
Brent Weedman: Absolutely. Rick's really impressive and what's even more fun is going back and watching those fights knowing the outcome in advance and it becomes so obvious, and I don't mean that insultingly, but impressively obvious like, "Holy shit, he's really bringing these guys into what he's going to do and then he does it to them!" The gameplan plays out so clearly and that really speaks to his seasoned nature as an athlete.
What my coach Eric Haycraft have been impressed the most with his fights is how perfectly calm he is and how his head is so clear and how his gameplan is so clear and he doesn't allow guys like "Cupcake" to scream at him and get in his head in the cage like what he did with Pitbull. Hawn did what he wanted to happen, which was put Woodard to sleep and it was really impressive.
Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of our discussion with Brent Weedman, where we delve a little further into his fighting mentality, what makes him tick and the implications of Friday night's fight against Rick Hawn. You can follow Brent on Twitter @Brent_Weedman.
To listen to the complete audio of our interview with Brent Weedman, click here (begins at 1:04:00).