By Percy Crawford | April 28, 2008

"I still feel like if you want to be the champ, you have to beat the champ and that's what this fight is about. This fight is to find out who the real champion is. He thinks he is and I think I am and we'll find out May 24th who deserves it," stated former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk as he talked about his highly anticipated showdown with current champion BJ Penn. Check out what else he had to say about the fight, his thoughts on Penn and much more as he stated, "I want to get him out of there as soon as I can."

PC: How is everything going "Muscle Shark"?

SS: Everything is going good. I'm just training hard and getting ready for show time.

PC: I know you've been anticipating this fight. How are you coping with everything?

SS: I'm coping with it fine. I've been competing for a real long time so it's's really nothing new for me, you know? I'm excited and ready to get the show on the road and just want to get out there and get it going.

PC: This is like a rhetorical question since I know you only train one way, but how is training camp going?

SS: My training camp is going phenomenal. I got the best guys in the world here training with me. I got the best guys to train with, the best coaches, and I push myself harder than anybody so physically and mentally I'm definitely ready to go.

PC: In camp, do you try to get someone that can emulate BJ Penn to a tee or do you just prepare yourself to where we'll see the best Sean Sherk?

SS: We try to emulate as much as possible. I want to feel everything that I feel he has to offer so I don't get any surprises when fight time comes. We're emulating BJ as much as we can and they're preparing me with a gameplan and strengthening all of my aspects as well.

PC: BJ's stamina has always been a question. This is a 5-round fight. Will you be trying to take him into deep waters or get him out of there early?

SS: You know I want to get him out of there as soon as I can. I'm kind of sick of the long fights (laughing). I want to get in and out of there and make it a fast night, but BJ is not easy to finish so we'll see what happens. I know I'm going to be 100% ready for this thing and if he presents any kind of opportunity for me, I'm going to take it. Obviously the longer the fight goes, the better it is for me, but I'd like to get out of there as soon as I can.

PC: You're coming off of fights with Kenny Florian and Hermes Franca, two guys that don't talk a whole lot of smack. Now it's a whole different animal with BJ. How much is that driving you in training?

SS: To be honest with you, I don't ever go on the internet and I don't read anything. People come up to me and tell me BJ is talking tons of crap, but it doesn't bother me. I could care less. BJ is disrespectful and always has been. I don't think he has any class so like I said before, I'll just come out on fight night and do what I have to do. I'm not going to let him get into my head at all because I'm sure that's what he's trying to do, but it's not going to work.

PC: It seems like you're in the mindset that the only option is to walk out of the cage with that title. Is that your state of mind?

SS: Yeah, I mean, of course I want to win. I still feel like if you want to be the champ, you have to beat the champ and that's what this fight is about. This fight is to find out who the real champion is. He thinks he is and I think I am and we'll find out May 24th who deserves it.

PC: This may not affect anything you're doing at all, but in the back of your mind, do you know that anything less than a stellar Sean Sherk performance will draw the critics saying, "I told you he was juicing and now this is what he looks like off of it!"

SS: Oh yeah, of course with the steroids thing, if I have an off night, I don't show up or I get caught or something like that, people are probably going to say that, yeah. I don't worry about that at all. I just focus on what I need to do. People are going to be people and they're going to talk and I don't really concern myself with what people say.

PC: You've been in the game for a very long time Sean. Are you approaching this fight any different or is it just another day in the office for you?

SS: For me, it's just another day in the office. I've never overlooked anybody and I've always trained hard. I know what it takes to win. I've been competing my entire life. It's nothing new to me. I'll just approach this like I always do.

PC: Like you said, you don't read the internet, but I saw some comments he made about licking blood off of your face while he's pounding on you. How do you respond back to those comments?

SS: I think he needs to talk to a psychiatrist. That sounds pretty sick to me, but good luck. I'm sure there will be blood, both mine and his, so we'll see what happens. I don't know, that's kind of a weird thing to say and I did hear that he said that. I was like, "What the hell is he talking about?" What can you say. He's got some issues, but I'm not going to let anything he says bother me.

PC: You've been here before with layoffs due to injuries so are you okay coming into this fight without the fear of cage rust?

SS: No, not at all am I concerned with rust. I've been competing since I was 7 years old. I have a lot of fights; I've been doing this for so long. I train every day. Even though I wasn't able to compete, I was still training hard.

PC: A lot of people felt like Jens was too small for BJ and Joe wasn't ready. You're coming off of wins over Florian and Franca. Do you feel like you've fought the better competition recently?

SS: I thought Stevenson was a good win for him. I think he was coming off of 4 or 5 wins in a row and that's about what the guys I fought had accomplished. Before Jens though, he had fought St-Pierre and Hughes so I think we've both fought the best out there and May 24th, we'll see who the best is.

PC: Kaitlin Young is getting ready to fight Gina Carano on CBS. How is she looking and do you like her chances in that fight?

SS: She's looking good. She's training real hard and this is a good fight for her to make a name for herself. She has about 5 weeks left to train so she'll be ready to go.

PC: Thanks for your time man. I'm sure I'll speak with you at least one more time before fight night. I am definitely pumped for this one. Anything you want to say in closing?

SS: I just want to thank my sponsors and my gym, Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, and all of the guys that have been supporting me.

[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]

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