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Monday November 5, 2007 8:00 AM PST

 

Houston Alexander Q & A

By Gary Herman

Houston Alexander has been in the UFC for a little over five months. During that time, Alexander defeated both Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara in very impressive fashion. In registering the two knockouts, Alexander spent less than two minutes total in the cage.

Now, Alexander prepares for his next opponent - undefeated Brazilian slugger Thiago Silva. The fight will take place Saturday, November 17 at UFC 78.

We recently sat down with Alexander to discuss the upcoming fight with Silva, how he came to rise so quickly in the UFC, and his views on his manager’s new M-1 promotion:

Q: What are your thoughts on the upcoming fight with Thiago Silva?

HA: It’s going to be a very exciting fight. Thiago likes to come out just like I do. He wants to come right at you.

Q: How long do you think the fight will go? Will it be a quick one?

HA: I’m not sure. It can go a minute, or it can go three rounds. It all depends on the type of fighter he wants to be. If he wants to go down quick, we can do it quick. If he wants to go down slow, we can do that also.

Q: One of the questions most people have had about your style is what is your ground game like?

HA: A lot of people have asked me that. I have two words for anyone asking – Bob Shermer. Shermer has one of the top Jiu-Jitsu teams in the world, and I just happen to be working with him. I also have one of the best wrestling coaches in the Midwest in Curly Alexander. He has been a wrestling coach for 35 years. My ground game is great. It is just as good as anyone’s in the UFC. It probably rates a little better then my stand-up. If these guys can get past my first line of defense, they’ll get a chance to see it.

Q: Does this mean you are pretty well versed in submissions or will you use your ground game to get the fight back up your feet?

HA: I personally want to get it up to my feet because that is what the fans want to see. They want to see two guys go at it. They don’t want to pay forty dollars to see us hug for five minutes. They want to see us bang it out, and I’m going to give the fans what they are looking for.

Q: Does Silva’s Chute Box background pose any additional problems for you?

HA: No. We’re approaching this fight the same way we’d approach any other fight. Whether or not he has that type of background – it’s not going to deter me from doing what I have to do. I plan to impose my will.

Q: Should you beat Silva, do you feel that should put you in line for a main event type match?

HA: I’m not sure. It’s whatever UFC decides to do with me. They are my employer. I don’t regulate that, but it definitely would be nice.

Q: How long did you sign with the UFC for?

HA: I have three more fights to go. I am pretty sure they will want to negotiate that for me to fight a little longer, but that’s how long my contract is.

Q: Did they sign you to that contract before the Keith Jardine fight or after the Jardine fight?

HA: It was actually a four fight deal after the Jardine fight. I’m thinking they saw a little something in me.

Q: That Jardine fight was pretty good for you…

HA: It was a nice fight. Nice atmosphere. Nice setting. It couldn’t have been better.

Q: What did you think of Jardine getting the Chuck Liddell fight? Did that surprise you that they contacted Jardine for it?

HA: No, it didn’t. It was an interesting match-up. You had two guys coming off losses. You had two guys almost the same height and almost have the same ability going at it. People keep asking me, “Hey don’t you think you deserved to fight Chuck?” I tell them that I didn’t it. I have not been in the UFC as long as those guys have been. To me, they deserved to fight each other.

Q: What do you think of Liddell’s next fight with Wanderlei Silva?

HA: Man that is going to be an even better fight. Again, Chuck is coming off a loss so I think he’ll come out hammering. That’s probably going to be one of the fights of the year.

Q: Prior to the Jardine fight, Jardine said he didn’t really know if he should be fighting you because you didn’t have a name. How did that make you feel?

HA: I don’t have any thoughts on that because he didn’t know who I was. Nobody did. I don’t blame him. I’m hoping that since fight he knows me now.

Q: After the fight, the aggressiveness really started to come out. You seemed to yell at him a little bit. What were you saying?

HA: You know a lot of people thought that was disrespectful of me, but no one said that about (Muhammed) Ali in the 60’s when he used to do that. The adrenaline was flowing so I just told Jardine to get up. I didn’t want the fight to be over yet. There was no disrespect to him. My adrenaline was just flowing, and I couldn’t contain myself. What no one knows is that I called Keith’s camp a few weeks later to make sure he was ok.

Q: Do you think Jardine would ever want a rematch?

HA: I don’t know. I’ve spoken with Keith a couple of times. It’s all love between the fighters. It’s professional. If the UFC sets us up again, we’d go at it again. I’m pretty sure if the UFC makes the fight, he would take the fight.

Q: Is it ever hard to become friends with another fighter after being so ultra-aggressive towards them?

HA: You know it’s not. If you’re a professional, then you should act like a professional. I consider myself a professional. I don’t know the guy personally so we can be friends with no problem outside of the ring – just not inside the ring.

Q: Going back towards the start of your career, we’ve heard some stories that you’ve had hundreds of unofficial MMA fights. Is that true?

HA: Yes. I’ve definitely had a few. I’ve been fighting for about seven years.

Q: About how many fights do you think you’ve had?

HA: I’ve had over 200 fights. Sometimes I’ve fought five times in one night.

Q: Five times in one night?

HA: Yes, it’s hard to believe but ask the people up in Sioux City, Iowa. They’ll tell you.

Q: Is that hard for you? Does it take a long time to recover?

HA: It depends on the individual I am fighting. Usually, the fights don’t last that long. So if they don’t last that long, I can go another round. All you have to do is replace the person.

Q: With 200 fights, what do you think your record is?

HA: I’ve probably won 95% of those.

Q: When the UFC contacted you for the Jardine fight, what were you up to? Were you surprised to get the call?

HA: I actually got a call from my manager, Monte Cox. He’s a very well respected guy, and I had entered one of his Extreme Challenges cards. I had to fight heavyweight in it. I fought two guys that night and won it. I actually thought the call was for a Pride contract, but then he said, “How would you like to fight in the UFC?” The answer was a pretty quick yes.

Next, Cox said would you like to fight Jardine, and I said, “who?” I actually didn’t know who Jardine was at first. I didn’t watch that much UFC. I was just doing my thing in the Midwest. It was a fluky situation, but I was ready.

Q: As a fighter, why wouldn’t you watch more UFC?

HA: Maybe because the few fights I saw, I actually thought I was on the UFC guys’ level. I was thinking I might never get an opportunity to prove that. When the opportunity came, I jumped at it because I knew I could compete.

Q: You mentioned the name Monte Cox and obviously Cox has been in the news an awful lot recently. What are your thoughts on his M-1 promotion?

HA: It’s great for the sport. With competition out there, salaries for the fighters will grow. Everyone knows Monte is a smart guy. He’s in that position for a reason. The reason is to get the fighters as much money as he can.

Q: That would be great for the fighters. Maybe Cox can help get the salaries more in line with boxers.

HA: Yes, that’s true. The sport is growing very quickly. I believe we are the second most viewed fight in the world so why not pay the fighters what they are worth?

Q: Seeing that you and Cox do have a relationship, an obvious follow-up question would be has Cox contacted you about possibly coming over there?

HA: No. No one has contacted me yet. I’m not ready to jump ship anyway.

Q: Being that you came to the UFC later than most other fighters, do you think age will be a factor?

HA: I don’t think age will be a factor. All I have to do is mention two words: Randy Couture. He’s probably in better shape than a lot of those guys. He’s probably mentally stronger, and that’s an advantage us older fighters have over the younger guys. We are mentally stronger. I don’t let anything rattle me. The fight is 80% mental and 20% physical.

Q: A guy you must have your sights on in the future is Rampage Jackson. What are your thoughts on him?

HA: Rampage is good for the sport. He’s a very charismatic guy. He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve been around. He takes his job serious but not necessarily life.

Q: You’ve looked extremely impressive in your last two fights. One of the big questions on everyone’s mind – how good is Houston Alexander?

HA: We’ll see. I try to always rise to the occasion and my opponent. If my opponent is aggressive, I like to be more aggressive. If my opponent punches, I like to punch more. If he kicks, I would like to kick more. I like to take it up a notch. If anyone is expecting to fight me, they better expect me to bring it more than they are bringing it. I don’t quit. I don’t give up. I would rather pass out than tap out.

 

 

 
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