Brian Ebersole has been just about everywhere.
The former wrestler out of Eastern Illinois made a temporary home in Australia, where he really hit his stride during a near 12-year MMA career which allowed him to make it to the UFC in 2011.
"The White Anderson Silva" as he jokingly refers to himself, possesses and extremely unique skill-set which includes cartwheel kicks, brutal ground and pound, submissions and some hilariously shaved chest hair.
Since making his UFC debut in stunning fashion against Chris Lytle, Ebersole has gone 3-0 in the promotion. He'll next be stepping into the cage against submission ace T.J. Waldburger tomorrow night (June 22, 2012) on the UFC on FX 4 main card.
Ebersole recently spoke with MMAmania.com during a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission where he talked about his new head MMA position at Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand, his journeyman training habits and the brutal sparring sessions at American Kickboxing Academy back in the day in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've been everywhere. You started in Australia, then Thailand, then Las Vegas and now Illinois in preparation for this upcoming fight against T.J. Waldburger. Is it better for you to have a consistent place or to be traveling all over the world for fight camps?
Brian Ebersole: To be fair, if I had a consistent place, I'd miss out on a lot of things I find beneficial to my lifestyle. I've taken a job out of Tiger Muay Thai so I'll spend a good part of next year. That being said, if I trained there full time and only came out for the week of the fight, I'm gonna miss my family, I'm gonna miss out on training with some of the top guys in the world. We get VIP guests but only for a short period of time. It's nice to be able to travel and to pick and choose some of the coaching and instruction that I get so I can piece that together. Traveling has always suited me and appealed to me and I've found a way to make it work in the past couple years.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, you'll be spending six months at Tiger Muay Thai next year working over there. How did you originally get affiliated with those guys and what led to you getting such a key role?
Brian Ebersole: I got lucky enough to know Ray Elbow when I was back in the US. Not anything big, we'd only met for a time or two but he became big on the internet when he took that Tiger Muay Thai job as far as advertising, promoting and trying to get people out there and see what it was all about. I stayed in contact with him and when I got a chance to get over there, I let him know and he put me in a room and let me train for free.
I enjoyed it. It took me about a year and a half to get back there after my first trip but I've been there pretty consistently after my first trip. After my third trip, I was talking to the guys about joining Tiger more as more an employee or a sponsored fighter. Once I signed with the UFC, that idea became even more prominent. The head coaching position opened up in the MMA program and they thought I was a pretty good fit and I was more than happy to take over that responsibility.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You went through a transition in the last few years where you went more from training all the time to training and teaching with seminars. Do you think that that was a really big boost to your skill level and brought you to where you're at today?
Brian Ebersole: I think it's two-fold. It allowed me to be in the gym all the time so when I took my first job in Australia as a full-time coach, I didn't have to do anything else and I basically lived at the gym for 12 hours a day. There were times when I lived at the gym literally so I was there 24 hours a day. The other way it helped was I had to explain to people how I did everything so I was breaking down my own game and getting better technically.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I've been reading your blog on the Tiger Muay Thai website and you said you've been putting in some time working with Jake Hecht, the last man that Waldburger defeated. Were you able to glean anything from working with Hecht?
Brian Ebersole: they didn't have that long of a fight. It was a first round submission and it happened in a crazy scramble. You'll never find that position in a book. It wasn't a guard armbar or a side control thing. As far as live experience for T.J., I didn't get much out of that but as far as his mindset and coach Mark Fiore's mindset in terms of scouting T.J., I was able to see what they saw, compare notes and being a wrestler and with Jake being a wrestler, we talked that match-up.
I'm more experienced than Jake. I think during that scramble, Jake sort of froze in the moment a bit. T.J. caught him and did a good job but it wasn't really a long enough fight for it to take too much from.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): There's UK vs Australia for the next Ultimate Fighter show. I know you're not Australian, you're "Ameristralian." Is there potential that with a victory on Friday night that you could be a coach? If you haven't heard anything, do you want to campaign to be a coach?
Brian Ebersole: Well I haven't heard anything but I'd love to know if I was even in the mix. I have my suspicions that George Sotiropoulos will be the Aussie rep if they even go with an Aussie coach. I say that because there's a good chance they don't even pick an Australian coach. They might just go with two guys that they want to get publicity. I'm confident that I've worked as a coach alongside some of the guys that will make it at 170 from Australia.
They're only taking 4 guys from lightweight and welterweight in Australia. There's a lot of argument on who are the most deserving guys to get on that show. It would be a dream job to get that level of training and to get to associate myself with the Australian side. To have my fight lined up for that show, it would be pretty cool to have my training all set up but to be completely honest, if they went and announced me now, I'd kind of be pissed off because I've already made travel plans around the world and back and I'd have to scrap all that if I have to be the head coach of that show.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've talked about the sparring sessions at AKA when you were training out there. Those guys get injured more than any other fight team with guys like Swick, Rockhold, Fitch, Velasquez, Josh Thomson and more. Do you think that because they spar so much could be one of the key reasons?
Brian Ebersole: It's brutal over there. They're all top level guys and when you're in that kind of room, you're not going to have many people willing to be the training partner dummy or when you're sparring less than 100 percent, you still get guys that don't want to give up a position. If we're right in the middle of something, I might just give something to you and then work on the next position. I know I could probably get out, be a tough guy and hold the position longer, but if you do that too much in practice, you stall the practice and you don't get as many reps and know as many positions as well.
When you get out there with those guys, I think they're competing for every inch all the time and again, they have high level fights coming up so the coaches are driving them to compete at that level rather than take a backseat for the sake of getting more reps in. That said, when I was out there, it was a very young team and we were all trying to get in the UFC. We were sparring every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and we go straight from sparring full-on MMA to grappling five rounds of five minutes. It was a pretty tough day and that only left a little bit of the time during the week to get any real instruction. At the time, it worked well for me because I had this big wrestling skillset and I didn't know how to implement it.
Looking back now, I feel I'm very fortunate that I was able to transition from that aspect of training to working with Frank Shamrock and the more scientific side of things, being more efficient and breaking down people's skillsets. Since I left Frank, I was able to work even more with the grappling, submissions and the Thai boxing. That's helped me grow tremendously.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Will the well-traveled Ebersole be victorious tomorrow night? Would you have liked to see him as a coach of the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter?
To listen to the complete audio of our discussion with Brian Ebersole, click here (Interview starts at the 39:00 mark).