36 Pete Williams
& photos by Jim Burman for SFUK
fighting up and comer Frank Mir on Friday, what's
your thought on the fight?
Williams : My thoughts are that
I'm going to take the fight to him and test
(him). He's only had three or four fights so
I think I've got some ring experience on him.
I'm going to make sure that he knows he's in
a fight and I'm going to try and take him out
of his game. Get in his head, y'know.
understand that you've been working with Maurice
Smith for this fight.
Williams : Yeah, I went up to
Seattle to train with Maurice.
did that go?
Williams : It was good, just
some different training. I like to go and see
how other people train and I'd heard a lot of
good things from Randy Couture, Ricco, a lot
of guys who've gone up there or got training
advice from Maurice and they've had really great
improvements from one fight to the next.
interesting that there seems to be this, kind
of, pool of people like Maurice and John Lewis
that people are training with. Do you find it
unusual that in a competitive sport such as
this a lot of you guys are often seeking advice
from the same 'mentors' over and again?
Williams : Yeah, it's actually
very unusual if you look at other sports such
as boxing or anything like that because it's
very competitve but I think it just shows the
nature of the fighters and that everyone here
is just sportsmen. It's such a young sport now
it's hard not to run into each other or train
with someone that you're opponents trained with
or even train with your opponent.
first time I saw you fight was UFC 17 when you
had that incredible knockout of Mark Coleman.
That fight catapulted you into the limelight,
do you think that was the best way to come into
the sport or do you think that you should have
slowly built up your rep as a fighter?
Williams : I thought it was
a good way to come in, a wins always better
than a loss. I would've much rather won by knockout
than lost by decision or anything else. They
put me in there, to lose I think, and I proved
a lot of people wrong. I think the upset showed
that it's not always the biggest guy. It's not
strenght and it's not size, it's skill, the
skill of the fighter and conditioning.
stepped up to that fight last minute didn't
Williams : Two weeks.
always enjoyed watching you fight but you've
had a couple of tough losses recently. What
would you put that down to?
Williams : Fighting, like I said
it's not always the strongest it's the fastest
guy, it's on the persons conditioning and it's
also more mental than anything and if you're
not there in the fight to win, if you don't
have that competitive edge and someone else
has that on you that could be the fight right
there. If you're equal in other fields. I just
don't think I've been the same fighter mentally
in the ring that I have been in previous fights.
And that just comes from outside things, anything
from injuries to personal lives. You've got
to learn to separate the two, outside the ring
and inside the ring.
things with the Lion's Den at the minute?
Williams : The Lion's Den, we're
still good, we're working up as far as our locations.
We're not the same central, unified Lion's Den
that we used to be. Everyone's in Dallas or
in San Diego but we're still up there at the
top with everyone. The sport has become so competitive
that no one team can dominate like they used
you think it's also a fator that there's so
many events nowawdays and the sport has become
Williams : Well the talent
base is a lot wider and there's a lot more,
and a lot tougher fighters, a lot more schools.
The sport is growing exponentially. There's
new organisations sprouting up, all these guys
are now training for these so almost every martial
arts school nowadays is no longer katas and
karate, they're teaching grappling, kickboxing.
They're teaching UFC style fighting.
If I could just ask a couple of questions
about some other UFC fighters. there was a post
on the underground a while back about fighters
people would like to see make a comeback and
Jerry Bohlander was mentionned quite a few times.
What's Jerry up to nowadays?
Williams : Jerry, I've known
him forever, we went to high school together.
He's back in Northern California, where we're
from, and he's just training and doing his school.
I don't know what his plans are as far as making
a comeback. He just had problems y'know, back
in the day with the old management and just
(doesn't have) that competitve edge, that drive
to go out there and train 6, 7 hours a day and
do all that stuff that it takes to compete.
you've got to really want to do it.
a shame because I remember first seeing him
in UFC 8 and I've enjoyed a lot of his fights.
What about Mikey Burnett?
Williams : Mikey, he went and
did a little stint in pro boxing, had some fights
there. Now he's a family man, he's married,
has two kids, he's teaching at his school, he's
got a school of his own. So as far as him coming
back I wouldn't say unlikely but right now (pause)
I haven't heard him telling me 'Yeah, I'm going
to come back','I'm going to do it in six months'
or whatever. I'm not saying he's out, he's one
of the, at his weight if he were to come back
he'd be fighting for the belt.
super strong isn't he?
Williams : Yeah, he's so
strong in all areas. Strength, speed, boxing,
wrestling, he's got it all really and I would
love to see him come back.
you got any messages for your fans, especially
the UK and European fans?
Williams : I hear there's
a UFC going over to London in Summer and I hope
that they come out and support the event. Anyone
who's a fan of mixed martial arts needs to support
us and get the sport moving forward. Fans are
the complete sport, if it wasn't for them then
we wouldn't be on TV beating each other up (laughing).
Wherever, in the gym.
You'd be doing it somewhere else, like a garage
Williams : Exactly
a lot Pete.
conducted 20th March 2001.
UFC36 Interviews by Jim Burman