With 25 professional fights under his belt, Spencer "The King" Fisher (21-4) has been around the block a time or two.
The three-year UFC veteran has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Frankie Edgar and Hermes Franca and holds wins over Thiago Alves, Josh Neer, Sam Stout, Matt Wiman and most recently Jeremy Stephens at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 Finale in June.
And if all goes according to plan, Fisher could be adding one more name to that list. He faces Shannon Gugerty (11-2) at UFC 90: "Silva vs. Cote" this Saturday, October 25 at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Ill.
Although Fisher was originally slated to face slugger Melvin Guillard (21-7-2), the Team Miletich member will face a significantly different test in Gugerty, who has eight submission victories to his credit, the last of which came via rear naked choke in round one over previously undefeated Dale Hartt at UFC Fight Night 14 in July. It was both fighters’ UFC debut.
We caught up with Fisher to see how he feels going into this weekend and to ask about training with Matt Hume up in Seattle ... and much more.
Let’s get to it.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Your last fight against Jeremy Stephens was a barnburner. Tell us about what went right and what went not-so-right in that fight.
Spencer Fisher: Well my training could have been better for that fight, for sure. For one thing, I didn’t train like I normally do for that fight. Just because … I don’t know … certain fights you get up for and certain fights you don’t, unfortunately. But it was a learned lesson that I have to take every fight seriously.
But as far as what went well, is when he tried to take me down, I ended up on top the majority of the time that that happened — which, for me, was a leap and bounds because time and time again my problem has been being put on my back, because I’m such an aggressive fighter that I constantly go forward and apply pressure. That’s the kind of fighter I am. In doing so, I give up position a lot and get taken down.
So I’m trying to learn from my mistakes and of course move forward the whole time and try not to fix what’s not broken. So I’m going to continue to go forward, but more cautiously and be smart about the things I do.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Your last three fights saw something fairly uncommon for a Spencer Fisher fight. All three went to decision. How important is a decisive victory this go around?
Spencer Fisher: This fight will not go three rounds — will NOT go three rounds.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Shannon Gugerty is 11-2, but he hasn’t really faced anyone of your caliber.
Spencer Fisher: He’s never fought the type of fighter that I am. Right now, I think I’m probably close to the best shape as I’ve ever been, cardio-wise, except for when I fought Sam Stout and Josh Neer. But I’m right up there.
Whenever I have a fight coming up, I always try to ask the question, "Am I in as good of shape as I was (my last fight)." And right now, with the circumstances that have been, I am in as best shape as I could possibly be in from the time that I’ve trained and since taking the fight. The pressure I’ll put on him, I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep up with it.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Have you watched tape on him?
Spencer Fisher: I’ve seen one fight of his. My coaches and teammates have seen other fights of his. I don’t need to study him as much as, you know … I’m going to do what I do. I’m just going to go out there and knock him out.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): How do you plan to avoid Gugerty’s submission attempts?
Spencer Fisher: I’ve fought better submission guys, I roll with better submission guys … And it’s a fight — it’s hard to get an armbar with a fist in your mouth. And that’s not arrogant or cocky, but again, he’s never fought anybody like me. Everything he’s good at, I’ve faced someone better before or rolled with people who are better than him at what he does.
I’m confident, I’m not overlooking Shannon — he’s the only thing I’m looking at right now — but I definitely plan on winning this fight.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Well, you’re certainly a difficult fighter to finish. In something like 25 fights, you’ve only been stopped one time (against Hermes Franca at UFC Fight Night 8 in January 2007). And it wasn’t because you didn’t face stiff competition. You’ve fought Thiago Alves, Josh Neer, Carlo Prater, Sam Stout a couple of times. None of these guys are strangers to finishing an opponent. What gives?
Spencer Fisher: I’m experienced and I’m gritty. I’ll persevere through everything, at least I try to. I’ll always be in the best shape that I can possibly be in. And I’m good at not taking damage — you can’t tell by my face (laughs).
But whether or not I’m on the bottom or not, I try not to take very much damage. And standing up, I’ve been doing it long enough that I know what to look for and try to protect myself.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Can you briefly tell us about your training camp for this fight. Who have you been sparring with? Have you brought in any new coaches or fighters to help you train?
Spencer Fisher: Yep, Jens Pulver, myself, Rich Franklin, Chris Leben — all of us came up to AMC (American Martial Arts Center) in Seattle with Matt Hume. The reason I came up here is because I wanted to get a change of pace. I was kinda getting into a lull at Miletich. I’m still with Miletich, still living in Iowa, but it was time for a change of pace for me, change of scenery.
Like I said, I needed to learn something new, and I came here, and it’s just … wow. I know I’m tough, ‘cause I fight, and I know I can just get in there and do it. But I wanted to learn something new and just be a smarter fighter.
I’m getting older, and I was humbled when I came here. Everything I was good at, they had someone better at it. So if I was good at, say, jiu-jitsu, they had someone come out there who was better than me at jiu-jitsu. And if I was better than someone at boxing, they brought someone out who was better than me at boxing. So I never had a one-up on somebody.
It was a good feeling. It’s like starting over again. From the first time you walk into a gym, you have that nervous feeling about being there. That’s how it is up here in Washington.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Is this the first time in a while that you’ve trained outside of Team Miletich?
Spencer Fisher: Yes, I have brought other trainers into our gym before, but for this particular fight … you know, I was supposed to fight three other guys originally. And things were changed. And now it came to Shannon. And like I said, I’m taking Shannon just as serious as I would have taken Melvin — even more so, because I think (Shannon) has more tools. But I came all the way to Washington to prove myself.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): If a movie were to be made about you, would Donny Walberg play you?
Spencer Fisher: You know, I’ve heard Mark Walberg a lot. That’s funny that you said that, because I’ve had a lot of people say that to me before.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): There is a slight resemblance.
Spencer Fisher: That’s funny you said that. I’ve always been told that, but they said Mark.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Well, Spencer, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with us. Would you like to thank any sponsors or do you have any parting words?
Spencer Fisher: Absolutely, of course I’d like to thank both teams, AMC and Team Miletich. As always, my manager, Monte Cox, as well as my sponsors Toe2Toe, Choppers Inc, Higher Power Energy, Cageside MMA, TheGunstoreLasVegas.com, thefifty50.com and KO Dynasty.