On his former profession as a realtor
: “I did that for awhile. I was a realtor and we did more land acquisition stuff. And probably after my career is over, that’s always a way to try to make cash. I was pulling in some alright cash and a lot of people asked, ‘Why are you giving this up to fight?’ They didn’t understand that either you got competition in your blood or you don’t. I don’t want to be on a bar stool down the road saying, ‘I could have done this, I could have been that.’ So I said, (expletive), I’ll try it out.”Regarding his experience on The Ultimate Fighter
: “To me it was like jail. You can’t get away; that’s the worst part about it. You can’t take a break. You can’t have telephone calls … it’s an equation for drama, and that’s what a TV show is about.
I didn’t know what I was signing up for, but it was a foot in the door to the UFC and that’s all I cared about. I wasn’t going on there to say, ‘Look at me I’m on a show!’ or to do crazy stuff. It was a chance to get into the UFC and where I’m at. I thought it was weird how people (other fighters) acted when a TV camera came around. They would act normal and when the TV camera comes around they start acting like a goofball. People love that and want to hear you talk s--- and do all this crazy stuff, but that only lasts for so long and when it’s done, they want to make fun of you. All of these reality TV stars are going to be absolute jokes in a couple years. What’s that dude’s name? … Vanilla Ice. He did some cool stuff and now he’s a joke to everybody. If you want to act like an idiot, people are going to enjoy it at the time and say “Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that dude is so crazy!” And then as time passes, you’re going to be known as a joke. You’re going to be a laughingstock. For me, that’s not what my career is about. I want to be known for being a champ.”
On allegations that he and Frankie Edgar lack the superstar star charisma that fans crave and gravitate toward:
“People don’t really know us. What are you trying to have? Watch a fight. Why don’t you like fights? Are you watching this sport for personalities, or are you watching it to watch fights? I’m here to fight. As a personality, me and him haven’t had a chance to get out there yet. The media is so powerful and they can make you look however they want. If you’re on TV enough people will jump on board.”Serious fighter, serious traveler
: I always travel with my Dr. Dre head phones – those are good because it cancels out all noise. I take an ‘IMask’ and a neck pillow. You could carry a gamer but it gets to be a lot of stuff, so a laptop is always good. Old boxing videos, I like to watch (Miguel) Cotto and a lot of other guys box. I might bring a book to read a little bit; it puts me out (to sleep). An avid studier of the sweet science:
I like Marco Antonio Barrera a lot, (the late, great) Salvador Sanchez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Diego Corrales, he was always entertaining to watch. Jose Luis Castillo-Diego Corrales will get you hyped up, so if I want to get pumped up I’ll watch them fight. But then you’ve got slower scraps where the technique is just unbelievable. Boxing styles that have influenced him
: Body shots I learned watching (Antonio) Margarito. I love Miguel Cotto, he’s always fun to watch. I love Ricky Hatton and the upjab that he used. Floyd Mayweather (Jr.) is just unbelievable with his composure and nobody can take him off his game. He has it all. There are so many guys you can learn from and add to your game. (A side note: Maynard admits to spending more time studying boxing videos than MMA fights). Who owns the best wrestling skills at 155 pounds?
“I like to think that I’m the best hands-down. Maybe I’m the best in the game at applying what I know to MMA.”You are the only pro fighter to beat Frankie Edgar. Are you a bad matchup for Frankie Edgar?
“I’m a bad matchup for a lot of guys because I can keep the fight standing, I can box, I can take ‘em down. As far as him, our last fight was two and a half years ago and it wasn’t too hard, even though I broke my hand in the first round and had some eye problems. You can’t ever tell how it will go again, you just plan on him coming 100 percent and prepare for a fight that has a good chance of going the distance.”Still unbeaten after 9 fights in the UFC. Yet Maynard is glad he didn’t receive a title shot sooner.
“It’s a process and I didn’t mind taking a long time to get here because I thought I could beat everybody. I feel that I’ve gone through all of the top guys and I’m proud of that. I’ve never asked for an easy fight, I took the ones that nobody wanted to take.”Who were the first people telling you that you were going to be a world champ some day?
“A couple of people told me that a lot: Phil Baroni, Greg Jackson, Mark Hominick
– he was always a big believer – and I appreciate it.
But I really needed to concentrate on the day in, day out stuff. When you concentrate on the long term goals you tend to not take care of day to day stuff that you need to do. I’m not there yet so I need to concentrate on every day.” What do you consider your greatest achievement in life?
“Just being a guy that is always trying to learn and pursuing the top. I’m not content with just having a shot at the belt. It is awesome, but I want the belt. I want to be the top guy in all aspects of my life. It took a long time to learn how to learn. I always try to be around people that are good at what they’re doing, whether it was real estate or wrestling. I wanted to be around them and pick their brain. A lot of people don’t want to hear if they’re doing something wrong, but I’ve always been one to ask, ‘Hey, let me know if I’m doing something wrong.’ Basically I’m a thief.” (chuckles). You’ve lived in both Ohio and Las Vegas. Where is home in your heart?
“Probably Vegas, where I live and I have my aunts and uncles. I went to high school in Ohio and it’s a great place, with great people, but I moved here to Vegas when I was about 10. It’s a small town and I’ve known people here for a long time.”
Tops In the Nation:
“I went to high school in Nevada until my junior year of high school. I knew I had to move to a state where wrestling was good, I wanted to test myself against the best, so I went to an all-boys Catholic school in Ohio and ended up living with my aunt and uncle. My dad had been a two-time state champion in Ohio. Our team, St. Edwards, ended up being ranked No. 1 in the nation and it was a great experience. I took states in Nevada in 10th grade, and I won a state title in Ohio in the 12th grade. I also won an (individual) national championship in high school.”
One thing I like about this wrestling
, is you do great and achieve a goal and then you wake up tomorrow thinking about the next goal. You can only pat yourself on the back for a little bit of time. That transfers to MMA really well.”What was more difficult, a high school wrestling practice back in Ohio or your average MMA practice now?
“A high school wrestling practice. Those were some of the most grueling practices of my life. But you can do that when you’re a kid. You can’t keep that up for your whole career. It was just a lot of hard drilling and live sparring. There were times when I would lose 12 pounds during a two-hour workout. It was extremely tough.”On winning over 100 matches at Michigan State University but failing to win an NCAA title:
“Devastating. Devastating. From the time I was 12 I always wanted to be NCAA champion. That was my goal. I thought that was guaranteed. I think in college I focused too much on the long-term goal and not enough on the day to day. So I took a long hard look at why? What happened? What did I do wrong? You either change or make excuses. I learned to concentrate on the day to day. No excuses.” Interests outside of MMA:
“Outdoors stuff, wakeboarding, mountain biking, hiking, going to a nightclub occasionally.”