MMA fighter, Eddie Sanchez, who currently holds a 9-1 record, will face Soa Palalei at UFC 79 on Saturday, December 29. Earlier this year he lost to Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 67 but later defeated Irish heavyweight Colin Robinson by TKO at UFC 72. Sanchez is excited to get back in the Octagon and show the world that he can be a top heavyweight contender. He spent some time with BuddyTV the other day to talk to us about his career and his predictions on his upcoming fight.
Read the full interview transcript and listen to the mp3 audio file below.
BuddyTV: Hi, I’m Rob with BuddyTV, and I’m here with Eddie Sanchez today. How are you doing Eddie?
Eddie Sanchez: I’m doing great. It’s a pleasure to meet you over the phone.
Nice to meet you as well. It’s really great to have you as an interview guest, and I’m definitely looking forward to watching your upcoming fight against Soa (Palalei). Where have you been doing all your training for this fight?
I’ve been training with the North County Fight Club, the premiere training facility, and I train with another UFC lightweight contender Jason Lambert. He’s one of my main training partners. We train out here in North County here in Southern California, so it’s pretty good.
How’s training going? Are you feeling good going into the fight? Are you 100 percent?
Oh, I’m in the best shape right now, I’m ready to go, and if the fight was today that’d be awesome. But I have to wait a couple more days and get ready to lay down the law seriously.
So how much do you know about Soa?
I know that he’s training with my old training team, Team Quest. He’s training with Dan [Henderson] out there in Temecula. I know he’s a big guy, strong, and he’s the New Zealand type so they’re tough. It’s gonna be hard to knock him out, but I think he hasn’t fought anyone with as heavy a hand as I have, and I’m going to be pushing the pace. A lot of guys that I’ve seen him fight, they always wait and wait and wait, and then once he gets off it’s all him all the way. I’m gonna get off first, really push the pace, and I’m gonna sprawl and brawl.
What’s your prediction for the fight? How do you think you’re going to finish him?
I’m looking at a three round grinder, it could be in the beginning of the third round. I’m gonna still wear him out, TKO. Or I’m always looking for a knockout, I’m a knockout type of guy, but I can’t wait to show what I really have like I did in my first fight against Mario Neto. Then from there it was injuries and fighting my idol, which creates conflict when you’re in the fight game. You have to get over these humps and really show your true colors, so that’s what I’m hoping this time. That’s what will happen.
After this fight is there anyone in particular that you’d like to meet in the Octagon?
You know, whoever they want to really match me up against is always good. I always want to fight the top guy, so whatever they would like to throw at me. I’m always going to be ready for whoever they want to throw at me. I just want to be one of those world class guys, one of the top 10 guys in the UFC.
What about a rematch against Mirko?
Oh man, are you kidding me? At the drop of a hat. I came in there, it was his UFC debut, I just had my UFC debut, I had a knockout against Neto so I was coming up high, then having to fight my idol on a come main event card was a big jump for me. You either deal with it or you don’t, and I guess I did the best I could, but now I know. I wish I could have done it then, but you know, woulda, coulda, shoulda. At the drop of a hat I’d take the fight against Mirko again. I know what he has from him fighting Gonzaga and also fighting Cheick Kongo, so you learn a lot from watching him get beat by those guys. I’d love the rematch, I’d love it if Dana would set that up again. I’d come full force, really go about the game plan the right way, and really let those butterflies out the window because I have faced the number two guy in the world at the time. It’s a different fight now.
You said you love rematches, and I think the fans definitely love rematches as well. I’d definitely like to see that fairly soon.
Yeah, I also thought Mazzagatti stopped the fight kind of early. I don’t know if he saw my fight in Ireland, it wasn’t televised, it was a dark match, but I got mounted unfortunately by Colin Robinson. It was unfortunate I had an injury, and no excuse to still win the fight. But I got mounted and was getting dealt with for about 30 seconds to 45 seconds to a minute of just getting pounded on. And Herb Dean didn’t stop the fight, because he knows I’m a tough guy. I was clearly getting hit, and it was more than Cro Cop hit me in that fight, and Mazzagatti stopped it early I thought. But you know, that’s how fights go, and we’re all professionals and we learn from that. I can’t wait to see what happens after this next victory I have.
I’m looking forward to it. There’s also another big fight on December 29, and that’s the Wanderlei Silva versus Chuck Liddell fight. What’s your prediction for that?
Wanderlei Silva, that guy’s probably one of my favorite fighters even before he got in the UFC, and that guy’s a killer, you know? I’ve seen an unfortunate loss against him, I was with my old training partner Dan Henderson, and that was unfortunate, but this guy, he’s coming to make a mark on the UFC and trying to get that belt around his waist. I definitely want Wanderlei to win. Nothing against Liddell, he’s a great competitor and whatnot, but he’s on his way out due to age. Couture is a phenom, that’s why he’s in there so long, because he’s doing it right. I’m not saying that Chuck isn’t, but I’ve seen what he has left, and I think he’s out the door kind of.
Do you have any rituals or things you do for good luck before all your fights?
You know, I’m not the most superstitious guy, but I’m a Catholic and I always pray to God and hope he can send an angel down to carry me throughout the fight, whether win or lose. I’m just gonna try my best, try my hardest. Any wacky ritual I do would have to be visualization. I don’t think that’s so wacky as such a ritual, but I think that’s definitely needed. Anyone that fights pretty much does that, but that’s a big part of the fight even before getting ready. Mentally preparing, walking out, visualizing, whoever the referee is saying “Get it on” or whatever, starting the fight and executing the game plan to the very best that I can. So no wacky rituals, but just simple and real.
It’s definitely nice talking to you today, because the frame of mind you’re in and how excited you’re sounding generally leads to really good fights. I think you’re going to be in a great frame of mind stepping in there.
Thank you, I appreciate that. I’m ready to go man.
So we talked a bunch about fighting. What’s your favorite thing to do besides fighting? Do you have any big hobbies?
The biggest hobby in my entire life just happened about seven and a half weeks ago: I had my first child, a baby boy. It’s the greatest thing ever, it’s so much more motivation in this fight game now because I have something really to fight for, even more than I did before. Not just for the fun of it and how I love to fight, but now I have to feed my son, now I’ve got to clothe him, so there’s a lot more motivation. I feel like a different person overall, you know? It’s great. Other than hanging out with my son, hanging out with my girlfriend, hanging out with some friends, and reading books. I love to read books.
Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fans?
Oh yeah, definitely. I just like to thank the fans for all the appreciation they show, and hopefully we can really get this out to Mexico to back my people up, since I’m from Mexican decent. I can’t wait to fight in Mexico. It was supposed to happen last year, but we’ll see if it happens. I want to thank all my fans for all the support. I’m a dark horse in this heavyweight division, and I can’t wait to show them what I really have so I can be one of those top heavyweight contenders like the Arlovskis or whoever. I can’t wait man, I’m pumped.
Alright Eddie, we really appreciate your time today, and from all of us at BuddyTV, we wish you great luck and success on December 29. Thank you for the time today.
It was a pleasure meeting you, thank you for having me on.
-Interview conducted by Rob Symington
(Image courtesy of UFC)