TRAINING: While in Texas, I hit the gym with Jesse James Leija in the mornings for my boxing training. Then in the afternoons, it's Gold's gym for conditioning and weight training. In the evenings I will train with a few of the guys from Sinlapa Muay Thai for some light MMA until I head to Boston for my official training camp with Mark Dellagrotte, Kenny Florian and Sityodtong Boston.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I actually started my fight training at an early age. I was boxing for the Boys Club when I was just 8 years old and then football, basketball and track kind of took over my life. Training for MMA started when I was in college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University back in 1998. I basically wanted something to keep me in shape and then it fell into a profession for me.
What ranks and titles have you held? I was the GSE World Middleweight Champion back in 2001. The company is now owned by the UFC's Rich "No Love" Clementi, whom I fought for the title back then. I have held a couple of ISKA US titles as well and am a former Dallas Golden Gloves Champion.
Do you have any heroes? I have a few heroes but my main hero is my Grandmother/Mother Ruth Spratt. She is one of the strongest human beings I know. She adopted me when I was 10 years old but raised me like her own from birth. She even raised my twin little brothers for a time in their lives. Can you imagine a 70 year old woman raising twin 12 year old boys until they were 16? She is my hero. Other heroes....... Maurice Smith for the knowledge, wisdom and guidance he's given me in this cutthroat game. Randy Couture for being that guy that transcended this fight in his late 30's and early 40's. He kind of messed it up for guys like me at 35 years of age. I can't say that I am getting old now! Muhammad Ali for all that he did for boxing and believing in himself. Roy Jones Jr. I have followed his career since the Olympics and he has never let the game control him. His career was predicated on what he wanted to do and the roads he wanted to travel.
What is your favorite technique? I really don't have a favorite technique. Basically whatever wins the fight.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It means the world to me to be back in the UFC. Not often do you get a second chance to become great. With being a cast member on TUF 4, I have that chance again. I look at how well the young guys are doing from the previous seasons and it just gets me excited. I will take full advantage of this second opportunity and make the most of it. I want to finish my career with the UFC. I want to be the second coming of the likes of a Randy Couture. I want a successful UFC career, win a couple of titles, have the respect of all my peers and then retire into greatness and maybe be one of
those guys to be blessed into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma. Famous alumni include NBA star Dennis Rodman, MLB star Brett Butler, WNBA star Crystal Robinson and UFC star Pete Spratt. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Safety and Health. Can you believe that? Quite a contrast with how I make my living.
What was your job before you started fighting? The last full time job I had, I was doing Restaurant Management recruiting while pursuing my dream of professional fighting.