WSOF 29: "Gaethje vs. Foster" goes down this Friday night (March 12, 2016) in Greeley, Colo., at Bank of Colorado Arena. In the NBC Sports Network-televised main event, Justin Gaethje will look to once against defend his Lightweight title against Brian Foster.
Foster is no stranger to titles himself, having won both the Victory Fighting Championship Welterweight strap and the inaugural WSOF 25 "Lightweight Tournament" in Nov. 2015. However, the biggest advantage Foster may have in this fight against the undefeated Gaethje may be experience, having 33 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fights in total. This time around, though, he only needs to win one fight in a night to be champion (not three).
Foster recently spoke with MMAmania.com about the challenge ahead at WSOF 29 this Friday night, as well as how the anniversary of a difficult and painful chapter in his life gave him motivation for this title fight ... and every fight he's ever had.
"Every fight's been dedicated to my brother. This is no different. This is just 10 years since he died, 10 years I've been in the sport. I'm fighting for the world championship and everything that I said I was going to do is coming to fruition, man."
The loss of his brother, Brandon -- and the way in which the accident happened -- could have steered Foster down darker paths. However, he channeled his emotions into MMA, which in hindsight, appears to have evolved into an incredible personal journey.
"Growing up we had been real active kids -- hiking and biking and stuff like that -- just athletic people (from) a real athletic family. We were hiking one day and my brother fell off some cliffs man, or the rocks gave and he kind of went with them. It was like 250 feet to his death. I lost myself for a little while and needed some kind of outlet to channel my negative energy to and found MMA a couple of weeks later after his funeral. It was something (where) I was able to turn everything that happened that was negative into something positive and beneficial to a lot of people."
Foster is channeling that positive energy and motivation into his world title shot against Gaethje at WSOF 29.
"Justin is a magnificent competitor man. He is one hell of a fighter, he's very aggressive and he's very skillful man. There's something at work here that means more than either of us and that's what I aim to show. I'm not just me in there brother. I'm a lot of people and a lot of things. It's gonna be a hell of fuckin' night for that guy."
Foster also believes this fight is a chance to showcase the sport at its highest competitive level and sway hearts and minds who still believe that old trope about "human cockfighting."
"I'm trying every day to better myself as an individual and a person and incorporate people and bring them to the common ground of MMA. We're not just fuckin' brutal beasts that go in there and try to dogfight you know what I'm sayin'? We're actually college educated individuals, we've competed our entire lives, and this is just our form of athletics -- this is our sport, man."
What better way to showcase the athletic and intelligent nature of the sport than to knock off an undefeated world champion like Gaethje? Few men have ever sounded more convinced they can do it than Foster.
"The thing about it is I'm a very complete fighter, I'm a more complete fighter than Justin. Justin is very aggressive, he's very good at kickboxing, he's very good at boxing. He's got damn good Greco, but at the same time it's like... I look to exploit the one dimension. I'm that guy that can beat you anywhere. I can take you out where you're not good. I know your weakness and I can exploit it and use it against you."
Foster credits his success in the WSOF 25 "Lightweight Tournament" (and in general of late) as a result of lessons he learned from fighting Jake Shields in his Decagon debut at Welterweight.
"It's been one of them things over the last fuckin' decade where people have been like, 'Your frame and your structure is made for (1)55. If you get to 55 you're going to be a world champion, there's no doubt about it.' Well I was doing so good at Welterweight I was like, 'If it ain't broke, why fix it?' I took the loss to Jake Shields last January and Jake's top five in the world. He's the best at what he does. I felt the weight difference finally play a bigger factor than it ever had in his technique. I knew what he was going to do. Jake's pretty rudimentary when it comes to doing what he does. He's pretty basic he's going to go one-two-three-four-five on you. I knew this, but I couldn't stop a damn thing he was doing. I knew it was time to go to Lightweight."
Foster isn't just seeking titles at WSOF 29 this weekend, he'd also like to claim an unofficial one currently held by his teammate Joe Warren.
"I'll tell you what -- Joe Warren's going to go out on top and I have no doubts about it -- but you be sure when you talk to that man you be sure (to say) Brian's looking forward to you handing down that name when you retire. 'Baddest Man on the Planet' goes to Brian Foster when this is over with."
He's got one last message for Gaethje if he wants to stand and bang in the Decagon.
"I'm a sniper, I'm a one shot one kill kind of guy. If I land that shot you're gonna go dazin' for a minute and if you're dazin' for a minute and I see your eyes go sideways I'm bringin' some pain you ain't gonna remember."
Can Foster claim the Lightweight and/or the "Baddest Man" title at WSOF 29? Tune in and find out.
The complete audio of our interview is below and complete fight coverage is HERE on MMAmania.com.