"I think he's a pretty smart fighter and I expect him to come and try to get me to swing to exhaustion, but I have learned my lesson and whether he stands or not, I'll make sure I hurt him...I don't think he has ever faced someone like me. He'll be surprised. I have been working on some new things and everything is coming together just perfect," stated MMA light heavyweight Sokoudjou as he talked about his upcoming clash with Renato "Babalu" Sobral this weekend at Affliction: Day Of Reckoning. Check out what else he had to say.
PC: How is everything going my man?
RS: Everything is going fine. Thanks for asking.
PC: I think you have a thing against American fighters. You've always fought Brazilian fighters, like Nogueira, Arona, Machida and most recently Cane and Nakamura, who is Japanese. So what's up with that?
RS: I don't know man. Seems like I was born to fight non-Americans. Where can I complain about this? Where's the complaint department?
PC: How was training for this fight?
RS: My training went well. No major injuries and I can't wait to be in the ring on the 24th. I'm so excited about this fight.
PC: Babalu has stated that he will submit you. What plans do you have for Mr. Sobral?
RS: He's a great BJJ specialist and I trained for that not to happen. We'll see.
PC: Babalu was pretty content, in his first Affliction fight against Mike Whitehead, to stand a little. Do you think he will be willing to trade with you?
RS: I think he's a pretty smart fighter and I expect him to come and try to get me to swing to exhaustion, but I have learned my lesson and whether he stands or not, I'll make sure I hurt him.
PC: Do you feel like your getting back to where you had your success by fighting inside of a ring instead of a cage?
RS: I don't relate my success to whether I fight in a ring or in an Octagon. All I got to make sure is I don't get stupid in the ring and follow instructions.
PC: A lot of people question your stamina. How is your cardio and do you feel that was a problem in the UFC?
RS: People have and will always question me about everything. It's true my last fight lead them to that question, but like I said, I didn't follow instructions and I went out trying to end the fight too soon, burning my energy in the process.
PC: What are your goals for the year Sokoudjou?
RS: Get as many fights as possible. I hate training forever without knowing what to improve and what to spend more time on.
PC: We all know Babalu's strength is on the ground. It appeared he has been working on his striking as well. What do you feel will be your advantage in this fight?
RS: I don't think he has ever faced someone like me. He'll be surprised. I have been working on some new things and everything is coming together just perfect.
PC: This fight came out of left field for me. For some reason, I never pictured you fighting Babalu. Was he ever on your radar?
RS: I never thought I would have the honor to fight him. I have always looked at him as one of the guys who has a good ground game and sometimes, in my training, I used to picture myself as Babalu submitting people.
PC: Japan has a couple of organizations over there and I know you enjoy fighting over there. Why Affliction over everyone else?
RS: It was all about timing. The 24th of January gave me enough time to train and get ready. Also, the good thing with Affliction is, I can fight anywhere else.
PC: I understand you would like to compete in professional boxing as well. Have you had any preliminary talks with anyone to facilitate that dream?
RS: Not at this moment. For now, I'm focusing on my upcoming fight, but thereafter, I would like to get some boxing matches.
PC: How would Sokoudjou approach a boxing match opposed to an MMA fight and would you fight at cruiserweight or heavyweight?
RS: I haven't thought about a weight class yet, but cruiserweight sounds better. We'll see.
PC: Good luck on the 24th my man. I hope to see you get back on track. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
RS: Thanks for the opportunity man and you can expect an exciting fight on the 24th!