Yes. The game plan is to be on my feet and stay alert. Pretty close to the same way that I fought Taktarov. Stick and move. Move when he forces me to move so I will save energy. He's an attacker in terms of he waits and then explodes, waits and then explodes. I've got to figure out his patterns and try to capitalize on them. I think he's going to have problems taking me down.
I respect Maurice a lot for his personal conditioning. That's why I brought him into the camp this time. I needed to make sure that my conditioning was kept up and he prepared me for the last few K-1 bouts. I was in phenomenal shape so I brought him back for that. And it doesn't hurt to stay up to date in my striking.
Absolutely. Nothing better than a sparring partner that you can kick the shit out of on a regular basis.
He also has super control. This is the kind of guy that has so much control that you can really go at it without getting injured. Do you think that you are in the best shape ever, as far as cardiovascular conditioning?
No, I think I was in better shape for the Mark Hunt fight, in terms of cardio. It's so different, the type of shape that you need for this as opposed to K-1. It's so different. Like, cardiovascular-wise, I think I could have run a full marathon in the shape that I was in. My body weight was only like 228lbs.
A half marathon? Absolutely! I think now I'm definitely stronger. I'm about 245lbs now. I'm stronger. I feel more confident in my ability to punch and hurt somebody. Wrestling, grappling. I'm up to date in those. We'll just have to see what happens. It's a fight so anything can happen. I think that if there were a champion I could beat, it would be this one.
Do you think he can stand up to a punch of your strength?
I have no idea if he's going to be able to withstand anything I can give or maybe he can stand it all. I have no idea but I feel very confident in what I can do. I can go the 20 minutes if I have to. Not at a rapid 150lb pace but at a 240lb pace, absolutely. I can maintain a fairly good pace and I will be okay.
Does the mindset change when you get closer to the actual fight?
No but I've been teaching them how to kick and punch.
Is there a long-term goal of getting back in and becoming the Heavyweight Champion? One thing you learn in MMA is that no one is unbeatable. What happens if you lose here? Will you come back for the next one or is it going to take 2 or 3 in a row before you say that you are done? I mean, how do you know when you are done?
Well, I feel that when you are getting your ass kicked on a regular basis, time in and time out, it's time to quit. Other people will tell you, "Hey listen. You need to quit." For me, I think I'm getting better. I'm still getting better at what I'm doing. I'm 37 years old right now and I feel great. I'm ready for all the challenges. My opponent that I'm facing, I don't even know how old he is. He could be my age. I feel that I've put in the work and the time in order to face this opponent. I feel that I have nothing to lose. I have absolutely nothing to lose. He has everything to lose.
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