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UFC 36 Evan Tanner

Pre fight interview

evan tanner - the self trained UFC star

Evan Tanner

Interview & photos by Jim Burman for SFUK


  • Light Heavyweight, 6' 205lbs
  • Age/DOB : 31 - 11 Feb 1971
  • Style : Freestyle Fighting
  • Trainer: Randy Couture & Matt Linland

Evan Tanner Interview

JB. Evan Tanner, an interesting fight for you on Friday, Elvis Sinosic. What are your thoughts for the fight?

Evan Tanner : I think it's going to be a good fight. He's coming off that loss to Tito so I think that Elvis has got something to prove. Even though I won my last fight against Homer Moore I still have something to prove. It's going to be a good fight because of that , we're both going to go out there to take it to the other one and try to make a statement.

JB. One thing that a lot of people are talking about now, and what I see as a change in the sport is that fans want to see entertaining fighters who go out to finish the fight as opposed to just win. Fighters who lose well can still gain a lot of respect from the fans. Does that affect the way you approach your fights?

Evan Tanner : It's definitely an important thing to consider. The fight game is changing, especially now that it's getting more public notoriety. It's on pay-per-view now again, which is great. Y'know it's showbusiness basically, you have to be a cross between a showman and a fighter. You can't just be a solid fighter there are a lot of great fighters out there yet the fans want to have to see you fight so it's important to put a good show on for the fans. Fighters like Matt Serra who's explosive goes out there and goes for it and he may have lost one or two but the fans want to see him fight because he puts on an exciting fight. I believe that putting on a good fight and making it entertaining for the fans is actually more important than winning or losing in this game.

JB. You've been training with Randy Couture and his guys, how's that been for you?

Evan Tanner : It's been great. My fiance and I moved out there permanently in January so I definitely made the permanent move to train with these guys for good and I think it's going to do me a lot of good. I hope that I can help them out some too, they're a great bunch of guys to work with. They're intense, they train hard and it's great to be around a bunch of guys like that.

JB. It's interesting with the three of you (Evan, Randy Couture and Matt Lindland) fighting on the same card. Has that affected you guys in any way? Have you been trying to take care of yourselves as opposed to helping each other or do you think it's spurred you on a bit more?

Evan Tanner : I think the fact that the three of us are fighting has really increased the intensity. Instead of everybody just focussing on one guy we're working with each other. It just increases the overall intensity of the room, makes it a better atmosphere to train in. I really like that we're all on the same card.

JB. The first time that I saw you fight was, I think UFC 18, where you fought Darryl Gholar. Now he's a guy with strong wrestling skills who took you down, you weathered the storm and won a great victory and now you're training with guys who are well known for their wrestling skills. I understand that John Lewis came over for a week, did you get to train with him at all?

Evan Tanner : I worked with just for a few minutes one day but he was mainly focussing on Randy and Matt. They've got the seniority in the gym, when a guy comes in like that they get more of the attention, which is fine. I stayed off to the side and watched techniques, watched him teach. I leared a lot just by watching but he mainly worked with those guys. The time I did get to work with him he showed me some techniques that I think are really going to improve my game.

JB. Have you got any message you've got for your European fans out there?

Evan Tanner : I hear that one of the next UFCs is going to be in London and Iv'e never been there.

JB. (laughing) You want to get on that trip.

Evan Tanner : I want to get on that trip. To fight for the fans over there, that'd be great. I just want to tell everybody to watch out because I'm coming out strong. I haven't really taken it seriously up until now. I haven't had the great sparring partners or high level fighting coaches or instructors. I have that now, great sparring partners, great instructors. I'm coming on strong and looking to take the light heavyweight title eventually.

JB. I heard that when you first came out yu were pretty much self taught. Is that right?

Evan Tanner : Yeah, absolutely. I started out at a grass roots show in Texas. I really had no intention of fighting and when I did decide to fight in one of those shows I started studying the Royce and Rorion jiu jitsu videos. I had a high school wrestling background, I added some submission holds into the wrestling and was successful with it to a point. I even made it into the UFC being pretty much self taught. But the sport has evolved so quickly I realised that I was getting left behind and that to compete at this level you're going to have to have a high level team.

JB. What got you motivated into doing this in the first place? I know sometimes after I finish training I do think 'why the hell am I doing this'. What got you into this?

Evan Tanner : (laughing) I think the same thing sometimes after practice 'why am I doing this, god this hurts'. I started back in Amarillo Texas. I had no intentions of fighting ever. Some friends of mine were in one of the local shows in Amarillo, I thought I'd check out the show, watch them and check it out. I guess a lot of people knew me from high school wrestling and were saying 'Evan you should do this' and I'm like 'no,no I'm way beyond that, I don't have anything to prove'. I watched the show and it really appealled to me. Later that week it was eating away at me and I was kind of arguing with myself 'no, I'm not going to do it'. Finally I decided I was going to go for it once.

JB. Next thing you know you're fighting in the UFC.

Evan Tanner : Yeah. I was going to go for it once and check it out, thought maybe it would be a neat story to tell my grandkids, get some neat pictures or something. Hopefully I'll have grandkids some day. I ended up winning the heavyweight tournament in the USWF and I've been doing it ever since. Like you say, nect thing I know I'm in the UFC. Never expected it, never planned it, it just took on a life of it's own.

JB. It's funny how these things just happen, isn't it. Evan thanks a lot.

Evan Tanner : Thanks.

Interview conducted 20th March 2001.


Related links:

Other UFC36 Interviews by Jim Burman



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