Andy Wang was defeated, somewhat soundly, by Brandon Melendez on last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 5. However, regardless of the result, it is hard to look past Andy’s potential ability. His one fault throughout the fight was not sticking to his game plan and taking Brandon to the ground, where Andy would have had a significant edge. It was a tough loss to take, but Andy was kind enough to talk with us at BuddyTV this morning about his time on The Ultimate Fighter.
Below you will find both the written transcript and the full mp3 audio of the interview.
BuddyTV: First off, can you tell us a little bit about how you found yourself on The Ultimate Fighter 5?
Andy: I fought professionally in 2000, turned pro and then I moved to Taiwan and opened up a school there for a couple years. And when I came back I heard about the show and some people encouraged me to send in some tapes of my fights and things like that. So I went ahead and did that. And yeah, I didn’t expect much from it. They called me back and said they liked the fights and that they wanted to interview me and see how I did in front of a camera. So there was a series of testing; medical tests and exams and you know, some interviews to see what my personality was like. I’d like to say that me being tall, dark, and handsome is what got me on the show but I think it was other factors such as the fighting and the fact I was a loud mouth in front of the camera.
When you initially got into the house and saw all the guys, met all the other guys, what were your initial thoughts? Was there anyone who impressed you? What did you think of the competition?
Yeah. When I first walked in I could tell that everybody had some kind of skill that made them dangerous or else they wouldn’t be there. But right away some of the guys you know that jumped out were guys like Joe Lauzon. There were some other guys that I looked at in practice. The first couple of days we did fighter evaluations where we worked out with each other with both coaches. You could tell these guys had been working, training for a long time and right off the top of my head guys like Robert Emerson who a lot of people haven’t heard of yet, first time I trained with him I was like, “Wow you’re talented.” And I would go over to Corey Hill and was like “Man I’ve never seen a guy…so tall.” You know things like that. So all of them, they kind of impressed me one way or the other. That’s the amazing thing about being a martial artist is you can’t ever underestimate your opponent. You should always see what some of these guys’ strengths are. Everyone’s got strength there and you’ve got to be aware of it.
When you got picked to fight Brandon Melendez last night what were your first thoughts on that match up? Did you think had a pretty good shot going in?
Yeah, absolutely. I went in to the show very confident in my chances. I knew there was going to be some good competition there but I just know that if I just do my best…good things will happen. So when Brandon picked me it was actually ironic because BJ, early on, like when we first got together, he asked us out of our team who we thought we’d match up pretty well with. And I had mentioned both him and Brian Geraghty as good matches for me because I thought I had the edge against them on the ground. So when Brandon picked me I was so anxious to fight by then, by that time I was already a couple weeks in the house and every time the fight selections came up I was like, “Am I going to fight, am I not going to fight?” So just having Brandon pick me got the uncertainty out of the way, it felt like a relief really, I was excited to fight. I knew Brandon was a good fighter…so I knew it would be a good fight. I knew he would push me. I don’t think they showed it on the episode but I actually went up to Brandon before our fight, like the day before, and told him, “Hey, man, no matter what happens in the fight I respect him, I know he’s a good fighter and we’re going to push each other so you know I’m glad you picked me.” I knew it would be a good fight.
Was it tough to watch the episode last night? You’re losing and your teammates are yelling at the sideline to get Brandon to the ground and then you kind of broke down a little and cried after the fight. Is that just hard to watch in general?
I wouldn’t say it was hard to watch. It was a learning experience. During the fight I could hear B.J. telling me “Take him down, take him down.” But to see it like that where every ten seconds he’s like “take him down” and I didn’t do anything that he told me to do, it was more embarrassing in the sense that I’m capable of so much more. I’ve spent all these years honing my skills, in particular my ground skills and I didn’t even use one shred of it. So I felt embarrassed for B.J., I felt embarrassed for myself. He put all that time into us and for me to blow off everything he went over with me, you know, I felt bad about that. The fight itself, yeah, you know you learn a lot from a loss man. I wish of course that things could have been different; I could have used my head a little more. But I got to learn from it. The only thing I can do now is move forward with my career. Watching was tough because I know I’m capable of so much more and I didn’t display any of it. So that’s what was tough about it.
What have you got in store for the future? I assume you’re still fighting right?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m waiting to hear from the UFC on what’s going to happen in the future, if I have some opportunities there. But I’m planning on fighting. I’m 29 years old right now, and I only showed a fraction of what I was capable of in a fight so I know there’s a lot more I can show, a lot more I can prove. And hopefully the fans, a lot of them they’re watching, that’s their first impression, that’s the first time they’ve seen me fight and they’ll come to see that I am an emotional fighter, but I’m always going to give it all I have. I’m always going to fight with everything I’ve got. Hopefully down the line all the people that are criticizing me now, they’ll become a fan later on.
(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)
(Image Courtesy of SpikeTV)