Featherweight Lance Palmer claimed the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) title in his attempt, submitting Rick Glenn at 3:09 of the third round via rear-naked choke in Dec. 2014.
Palmer became the latest member of Team Alpha Male to claim a world title with a major mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, following in the footsteps of Bantamweight teammate T.J. Dillashaw, who shocked the world by beating Renan Barao at UFC 173.
Having strung together an impressive 9-1 record on his way to the gold, Palmer will look for his tenth professional win against long-time fighter Chris Horodecki. "Polish Hammer" has compiled a 21-5-1 (1 NC) record with stints in International Fight League (IFL), World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Bellator MMA, among others. Horodecki kicked off his WSOF career with a decision victory over Luis Huete at WSOF 14.
Today, Palmer talks to MMAmania.com about making his first-ever title defense, which will take place inside Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on June 5, 2015, airing live on NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET. In addition, he also speaks about how things are going for Team Alpha Male following Urijah Faber's loss to Frankie Edgar, as well as proper weight cutting technique.
To start Palmer talks about what it meant to him to claim the gold in his second title shot for WSOF.
"It was awesome. It was a great great fight for (showcasing) my improvements for the whole year before that when I lost my last shot at the featherweight title. It was a great way to cap off 2014, with two good wins and a gold strap on top of it."
It was a good year for Team Alpha Male as a whole, but the talented team is not settling for just two world titles. Palmer believes that Chad Mendes will get his third shot at UFC's Featherweight title sooner than later.
"Depending on what happens with this next title fight with Aldo and McGregor, I think Chad'll be in there pretty quick. It'd be better for us (if McGregor won) because we'd be closer to a title shot than if Aldo wins."
Palmer expects Horodecki to give him a tough test in his first title defense at Edmonton Expo Centre.
"He's a veteran in the sport, and he's been around for a long time, so he's got a lot of fights under his belt, so that's another thing that's great for me. Coming out of this fight there's nothing but positives on my end of it so, I'm excited to get in there on June 5th and show everybody what I've been working on since my last fight."
On paper, Horodecki has almost three times as many fights as Palmer, but there are more ways to gain experience than inside the cage. And Palmer has been in sports at a high level for decades.
"Just because it's in cage experience in competition that's one thing, but I've been competing since I was five years old so I have 23 years of experience. I've already fought in big fights. The first World Series of Fighting title (fight) didn't go my way, and it was a big fight that I lost, and then the big fight I just won. I've been on both ends of the big fights. The experience level for me is I'm an experienced fighter and I'm great everywhere, and that's just the confidence you have to have to be a champ."
Palmer's experience also includes proper weight cutting techniques, as he's able to walk around at 160 pounds and comfortably make 145 pounds for his fights.
"You can't really step on the scale and always be like 'Aww man I'm heavy today' or 'I'm light today' because when you're drinking a gallon a day of water your weight's going to fluctuate a little bit here and there. We don't take it too seriously until a week and a half out."
The "gallon a day" remark opened the door to talk about Steve Montgomery's medical issue on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), so Palmer explained what "water loading" actually is.
"I don't know how excessive he was with that to be able to have a seizure but water loading is basically just drinking enough to where it's just flushing through your system. You're loading the water to be able to pull it up either in a bathtub or in a sauna suit, where the water's just gonna start falling off your body. Once you get your body flushing, it continues to flush until you basically get down as low as you can get, and then you just keep your weight there until the weigh-in that day. You water load all week of the fight, and then the night before and the day of is when you do the cut."
If it sounds simple, it's really not, given some of the recent high profile failures in MMA. Palmer is not afraid to point out that fighters need to be very scientific in their approach to cutting weight.
"We had a guy named George Lockhart come in. He works with Frankie Edgar, he works with Clay Guida, he works with a lot of the veteran fighters on their weight cuts and their diets. He said that your body actually starts to produce natural sodium when you're not getting enough in your system, and it'll start to hold water at a certain point. So you don't want to cut out your sodium too early in the weight cut, and also you don't want to do it too late. It's kind of a chemistry project and every person's different."
Team Alpha Male seems to have the science down, particularly given we've seen Faber fight successfully in multiple weight classes. Although things didn't go Faber's way in his loss to Edgar, nobody on the team is down about it given how close each round of the fight was.
"It comes down fractions of an inch, that are what can cause you to get knocked out or knock the other guy out, or give up a takedown or get a takedown. There's so many little things in MMA that go your way or go the other guy's way to help the win come into play, but that's why it's fun to watch. It's a human chess match."
Palmer will play the game next weekend, looking to put Chris Horodecki in check at WSOF 21. The complete audio of our interview with Palmer is below.
Meanwhile, stay tuned to MMAMania.com for ongoing coverage of the card, including interviews, weigh-ins and live fight results.