Grassroots run deep: Bellator lightweight Brent Weedman interview exclusive with MMAmania (Part two)

Brent Weedman (center) prepares to enter the cage for his Bellator 62 bout against J.J. Ambrose. Photo via Bellator.com

Brent Weedman realizes how difficult the challenge is ahead of him.

The season six Bellator lightweight tournament finalist had a tougher road than his opponent Rick Hawn, having to work exceptionally hard to get past semifinalist Thiago Michel in a grueling affair while Hawn viciously knocked out both of his opponents in less than two rounds combined.

Weedman will be hoping to utilize his biggest strength, which is his well-roundedness and the diversity of his attack against the former judo Olympian, who he believes is slightly more predictable.

The Louisville-based fighter will have an opportunity to live one of his dreams, winning a giant novelty check, when he battles Hawn for an opportunity to earn a title shot against Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler tomorrow night (May 25, 2012) at Bellator 70 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In part one of our interview taken from his appearance on The Verbal Submission, Weedman discussed being a new daddy and what he respects the most about Hawn as an opponent. Today for part two, he talks about forcing foes to make bad decisions, who inspires him, and what he finds most addicting about fighting in this exclusive interview.

Check it out:

Ben Thapa: You do a terrific job of forcing your opponents to make bad choices in your fights, limiting their options to the point where they have to choose the lesser of two evils. How do you think Rick Hawn will respond to that?

Brent Weedman: That is an extremely astute question and I'm really curious to see how he's gonna react to it because that is the brass tax of my fight style. If you had to pigeonhole me, my "thing" as a fighter is I like to make people make bad choices. I've got a variety of ways to do that. There's different ways to make that happen. I like to give people bad choices and force them into bad decisions.

Obviously something like that gets a lot harder against someone who's competed at the Olympic level and also the other thing people aren't talking about is he's in his mid 30's. He's more seasoned as an athlete. It's not gonna be as easy to do that as against the 20 year old hothead who's all hyped up on adrenaline. Those guys are easier to manipulate mentally but Rick is definitely not gonna be easy to manipulate like that. I'm very curious. I've got my gameplan and I'm interested in seeing how he's gonna respond to it.

Ben Thapa: Do you ever practice moves on family members?

Brent Weedman: Let me tell you about my little brother, and by "little" I only mean that he's four years younger than me. He just graduated from Louisville where he was the starting longsnapper on the football team. He's 6'3 and at his largest, he was 280. He's just a great beast of a man but he wasn't always like that and I beat the unholy hell out of that kid from the day he was born. I still think back about all the stuff I used to do to that kid. I feel so bad about it.

My dad had the whole basement matted when we were little and I would trick my brother to go play karate and if I couldn't trick him, I'd physically drag him down there and we'd fight. If he tried to go cry to my mom, my mom would tell me not to go down there and wrestle with me and he couldn't explain it to her. So yes, I used to practice on my little brother but I like to take credit as to that's why he turned into this big tough football player. He did judo and other martial arts growing up with me, like any younger brother doing what they dad and older brother did but football found him.

Ben Thapa: I actually ordered one of your shirts and "I can't mate to wheat it."

Brent Weedman: (laughs) It's funny. I do all these interviews and everyone seems to pick up on this whole, "You're a cerebral fighter. You're really into space and this and that," but the thing I'm known for the most thus far in my career is me blabbering like an idiot on TV saying, "I can't mate to wheat you," like a neanderthal. That's quite ironic and I really enjoy it. I've already got two onesies for the baby that people have made that say "Can't mate to wheat you" on them. It's funny to me that maybe the stupidest thing I've ever said is most likely the most famous thing I've ever said.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Ever since your promo with Bellator when you talked about the universe and how we are all "star stuff" from the Neil Degrasse Tyson speech, has that been a big theme whenever people talk to you in interviews now?

Brent Weedman: It has. It's been a very big theme but I don't mind it. That's not shtick and it's also not like northern California stoner-hippie shenanigans. I'm really into space as a hobby. I love astronomy so I don't mind the fact that a lot of these interviews I get to talk about that and my love of astronomy. I'm doing this interview now from my son's nursery and looking around, the room is covered, wallpapered in space stuff. I don't mind that it caught on.

I told Bjorn and the production guys, I legitimately appreciate that after talking to me in meetings a few times they realized that I'm kind of a weirdo with some weird interests and they actually decided to market me that way instead of me having to come up with some nonsense shtick or having to talk trash about fighters. You have to say something when they put the camera in front of you and I actually get to talk about things I love. I talk about space, I talk a lot about chess. I play a lot of chess against commentator Jimmy Smith, like all the time we play chess. He's really good too, kicks my butt a bunch but I love the fact that I get to be myself and Bellator runs with it.

Ben Thapa: Getting hurt with your eye in the last fight, it seemed like you just decided there was nothing you could do about it and you got ticked off and decided to just keep moving forward. Can you tell me about that?

Brent Weedman: I don't know if I'd call it "ticked off." This is going to sound really strange but my favorite thing about fighting is this sense of inevitability. What I mean by that is, there's a moment where if I really think hard enough, I can remember what the backstage area right before they introduce you in all of my 40 fights including amateurs. The reason I love that moment so much is because all the talking, all the lead-up, the training, it all subsides and there's this moment of, "In 45 seconds, I'm going to be in the cage fighting. Whether I like it or not or no matter what happens, there's this overwhelming sense of inevitability that I find addicting.

When I'm in the cage, it's a continuation of the same thing. No matter what happens. You can't get in there, get poked in the eye and just say, "Let's restart this tomorrow when my eye feels better." It's very much as cliche as it sounds, the cage door shuts and the fight moves forward so I just decided to like it. This is why I don't get finished. I've had a doctor stop a fight once from a cut and early, early in my career, Dan Hornbuckle caught me in a triangle choke and every since then, I've made my mind up and I've just decided that I'm going to win by finishing them or it's going to be 15 minutes of hell.

That's my mindset every time. That's where my brain is when that happens. I distinctly remember seeing that punch come from Thiago Michel and I remember feeling the very corner of his one knuckle under my eye and as his hands is leaving my face, the swelling is rising up in my eye. I thought, "Well, damn. Now I've got to fight with one good eye." That's just how it is. You can't stop. You've got to just keep going. That's the fun part.

Ben Thapa: What fighters inspire you?

Brent Weedman: There's been a couple jiu-jitsu players and kickboxers that step out in my mind, mostly for making really significant changes in my game in a small amount of time. The one guy that really pops into my brain is Caio Terra from out in California. I've spent three weeks out in northern California with the Cesar Gracie fight team and Cesar, when I first met him, he said, "Man I've got this guy, he's small, but you're not gonna believe how good he is at jiu-jitsu." Caio Terra wasn't known as well then as he is now, he still might not be but that guy made a lot of really significant changes in my jiu-jitsu game.

I'd also say the same thing with both Diaz's. [Nate Diaz] was training for a fight with Dong Hyun Kim so I sparred a bunch with him for that and I sparred with Nick Diaz and they, mroeso in the MMA jiu-jitsu side than on the boxing/kickboxing side, they made a lot of impact in my game in that regard.

In terms of kickboxers, I could watch Ramon Dekkers all day. That guy just stayed in the pocket and traded damage for damage. It's dumb but it's so inspiring to me, his strategy of, "I'm gonna let you hit me and then when I hit you back, you're going to go down." It resonates with me a great deal, that I really enjoy, but that's more from a fan's perspective than him actually helping me.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): When you think about this upcoming fight against Rick Hawn and you're picturing victory, what do you see?

Brent Weedman: Man, I see an absolute battle. I don't think either one of us are going to fold easy. That should be clear to the fans now. When Rick Hawn or when Brent Weedman shows up, somebody's gonna get banged up and you're not going to get shortchanged. Neither one of us are looking for a way out. I see a long, hard battle in front of me and it inspires me because winning this fight means they hand me a great, big novelty check and I've always wanted a novelty check. I can't golf so I've never had one.

It just makes me think how cathartic that's gonna be, how great it's gonna be to come back and really spend some quality time with my son for the first time. I'm looking forward to 15 minutes of hell. You guys don't even know. It's gonna be one not to be missed. I know this is a big weekend of combat, but Friday night on MTV2 is gonna be a free fight worthy of checking out and I fully expect my hand being raised that night.

Brent would like to thank Alienware, Battleware, Allmax Nutrition, the James Randi Education foundation (who he's a contributor to) and his manager Brian Butler at Suckerpunch Entertainment. He'd also like to thank Eric Haycraft and Bruno Amorim as well as Helio Soneca for turning him into the fighter he is today. You can follow him on Twitter @Brent_Weedman.

So what do you think, Maniacs?

Sound off!

To listen to the complete audio of our interview with Brent Weedman, click here (begins at 1:04:00 mark).

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