SPORTFIGHT Tonite: Catching Up With SEAN SHERK
Submitted by: Keith Mills
Posted On 09/23/2004
Reno, NV-On September 23rd Sportfight travels to Reno for a very interesting card with a main event featuring UFC and Pride: Bushido vet Sean Sherk against Rage In The Cage champion Brian Farber. For fans who haven’t seen Sherk since his loss to Hughes in the UFC he has been working hard to reinvent himself by incorporating more submission skills into his arsenal and trying to break from his reputation as ‘just another ground-and-pounder’. Even when he does resort to GnP he is one of the most explosive and dominating fighters in the sport, a strategy that has earned him a 31-1-1 record and top rankings in most MMA polls including ADCC News’ #3 ranking. With this being arguably the highest-profile show Sherk has had this year could this be the chance we have been waiting for to witness the ‘new’ Sean Sherk?
KM: You have been off since the last time I saw you about three or four months ago. Seems like that has been one of your longest breaks in the past couple of years. What have you been up to? SS: Actually I fought last weekend here in Minnesota. I don’t think they have it on there (internet databases). I fought a judo guy. I submitted him in about two minutes, side choke. I’m just scheduling fights for myself and trying to stay busy. After this fight I have fights in October, November, and am looking for fights in December.
KM: I missed another one of your submissions. Last fight I saw of yours was Extreme Challenge, your only TKO in your last eight fights. I remember right before that one we talked about working on your ground game and submissions, becoming more of a well-rounded fighter. Looks like I caught the one wrong fight of yours to catch that angle! Can you tell us how your fights have been changing? SS: I’ve been training submission for a long time and consider myself to be fairly good at submissions. Now it’s just a matter of going out there and putting it to use because for a long time I just relied on my wrestling, my biggest strength. That is what I was comfortable doing. Now that I’m fighting in the smaller shows I’m kind of using that to try out a lot of different things. (In his last fight) I had this guy’s back and I went for an armbar from on his back instead of just pounding him out as I would have normally done. I went for an armbar, I missed it, I actually had the arm straight but he wasn’t tapping on it…I was on bottom going for the armbar and then got a quick reversal and then I got the side choke from there. There were a couple good scrambles in there and submission attempts. It was good and what people can expect from me from now on. I’m going to go out there and go after it every time from now on.
KM: And this was against a judo player too. SS: A judo guy.
KM: Was that more of a sense of accomplishment then it would have been against somebody who didn’t have that background? SS: Yeah, He had a brown belt on, so that is why I wanted the submission more than anything. Going out there and pounding out a judo guy isn’t as satisfying to me as getting a submission on him when the guy is a brown belt.
KM: So your next one is in Sportfight. What are thoughts on your opponent Brodie Farber? SS: To be honest I don’t know anything. They told me he is sambo and wrestling. I’m going to do the same thing I always do. I’m in great shape (and) I’m going to come out at 110 miles per hour until the fight is over.
KM: On the one hand he is the Rage In The Cage champion. This isn’t in RITC for the belt or anything but does taking on a champion mean anything extra to you? SS: Yeah, I want to fight some really good opponents and I’m always asking promoters to give me the best they can. I’m glad he is the RITC champion. I believe he is also a 185er too. We are fighting at 175 so I’m going to be coming up a little bit. I weighed about 168 this morning. I’m going to be giving up some size too. I hope it is a good fight, that is what I want.
KM: What does that size difference mean to you? SS: It doesn’t mean anything. Everyone I train with is 15-50 pounds heavier. It’s just not that big of a deal.
KM: On the other hand he has as many fights in his entire almost two year career as you have had in the past six months. SS: I got a little experience on him. I’m not really too worried about the size difference. This will be my 33rd fight, I got a lot of experience and I’ll definitely use that.
KM: How has your mental gameplan changed since picking up so much experience? SS: It’s really awesome because I am able to focus a lot more and get into a routine, I know what I need to do before every fight because I’ve doing it for so long. This game is really a mental sport, you don’t have it mentally you aren’t going to be as successful. That is one thing I’ve gained definitely on all my opponents.
KM: This card also has Dennis Hallman, Chael Sonnen, and many more. It’s a step up in attention compared to your post-Hughes fights. Does the rest of the card mean anything to you as far as your career as a whole? SS: Yeah, I want to fight on the best shows. UFC know who I am so it’s not going to be anything new for them to see me fight. I hope they are there actually because I’m going to put on a great show for them and let them see I’ve reinvented myself. I want to get back into the UFC and Pride and am trying to stay busy in the process. I’d like to fight in the best events out there.
KM: You are still #4 on the Full Contact Fighter top 10 and #3 on the ADCC News top 10. The feedback I’m getting is nobody wants to fight you despite the opportunities. SS: That is true. I’ve been telling promoters to get me the best guys out there and they are telling me these guys are turning down the fight. Top guys. It’s really frustrating for me because I don’t fight for the sake of fighting. I like the sport obviously but I want to be a world champion. I don’t like fighting in B-level shows against B-level guys, I want to fight the best guys out there in the best shows and that is just not happening. It’s frustrating but like I said before I’m not going anywhere for a long time, so all you people you can turn your heads all you want but I’m not going anywhere. They are going to have to recognize I am still here.
KM: Last thing about Farber himself…he has been isolated to Arizona, Mexico, and a little in California. You have had a greater diversity of opponents. Does that mean anything? SS: Yeah, definitely. That comes with the factor again of experience all over the place. I know I’m going to be traveling and it’s 70 degrees in Minnesota right now and it’s probably 105 in Vegas so I’m going to be prepared for whatever happens. It definitely becomes a factor.
KM: Are you coming off your peak training right now? SS: I’m training hard still. I’m doing or three days now, not doing the huge workout where I was doing four days. Shape and conditioning is not going to be a factor.
KM: Anything else you want to get across to the fans before this fight? SS: I’d like to give a big shout out to the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, that is where I’ve been training since day one. All my training partners are really really supportive and really awesome. I’ve been struggling the last year and a half ever since the UFC let me go and the fans aren’t letting them forget about it. They are bringing up my name constantly and I appreciate that so I’d like to thank them and tell them to keep up the good work.
KM: Sponsors to thank. Anything change? SS: Full Contact Fighter obviously and Joel Gold. I’d like to thank Doctor Nash, he is the guy that has been working on me. Fightingstars.com, that is the site Doctor Nash runs.