Nope. I pretty much just packed up when I was 17 and left. My family still lives on the East coast. I moved to California when I was 17. Graduated high school and moved with 150 bucks in my pocket. I knew some friends out there and started training.
No, I didn't know at that time. I was a wrestler in high school, a national high school champion and a state champion. I basically moved to California and met the Machado brothers, cousins to the Gracies. I trained with the Machado brothers for 5 or 6 years.
When you look back now, do you think "Damn, I did the right thing when I moved"?
I don't really sit and dwell about it. I've had a great opportunity. I've lived all over the world. I lived in Brazil and Japan. Living and training everywhere. I've had a great experience, just having fun. I just picked up and did it.
What do you like about fighting for the Japanese audience?
I like the Japanese audience because they are so well educated. This is where this sport was pioneered, coming from Pancrase, RINGS and Pride. People know about it. In America, you get 15,000 people screaming and crazy. In Japan, you've got 60,000 people but they're all quiet. They respect the sport. They don't boo when it goes to the ground. They're very patient. They understand what goes on. They're so smart in the aspects of the sport. This is where it was born. The fans still follow you. I still have hardcore Japanese fans that follow me to America and then come back.
What was the last thing you were listening to in your car?
I'm always down, man. People don't think I'm worth the buck they pay me. People are never impressed with what I do. I won the World Championship when I was 19, I was Abu Dhabi Champion and a Brazilian champion. I've beaten some of the best men in the world and people just won't give me my respect.
Naah, I don't think so. I think I'm just outgoing. I tell it how it is. People can't take my style. If I don't like someone, I don't shake their hand and say, "Hey, how you doing? Nice to meet you." No. I say, "Fuck you. Get away from me. You're a dick." I didn't like Stephen Quadros either and I told him straight to his face.
What if somebody doesn't like you and they tell you? Can you let it go?