Gray Maynard Interview
Thank you for taking the time to sit down with MMABay and answer a few of our questions:
MMABay - Firstly, you’re scheduled to compete in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 19 against Roger Heurta. How has your camp been, and how are you feeling in the run up to the fight?
Maynard - I feel great!! Camp has been good, I train year round though. So I feel prepared.
MMABay - Roger is a tough opponent with an impressive record; do you think a win here would leapfrog you into title contention?
Maynard - I don't know about that. I'm just focused on Huerta, we will see what happens after that. I'm not in a rush for anything.
MMABay - Roger caused some controversy recently with his decision to quit MMA and focus on movie roles for the foreseeable future. Do you feel like you are defending the honour of the UFC in this fight; is there any pressure to send him on his way with a few lumps and bumps?
Maynard - I stay out of any of issues like that. This is my job and business is business. I would approach any fight with the same mentality and preparation. Whatever goes on outside of my job is none of my business.
MMABay - With a movie career in the back of his mind, do you think he will be fully committed and 100% prepared for you ?
Maynard - I always prepare for my opponent to be 100%, I don't gamble with any speculations or “What Ifs”.
MMABay - Whats your gameplan for someone as determined, gritty and full of heart as Huerta is?
Maynard - I just like to control every situation and fight “My Fight”. But I'm prepared for whatever happens.
MMABay - We saw in your last fight some vast improvements in your stand up game; is that something we can expect to see more of against Heurta?
Maynard - I've been working with my boxing coach Gil Martinez for a little over a year and a half. It's always a work in progress. Stand up is a big part of the game, I feel confident and prepared to stand if that's where the fight goes.
MMABay - What makes Shawn Tompkins such a great coach? Does he have magic powers?
Maynard - Shawn trains a lot of guys at Xtreme Couture and usually runs the pro practice sparring. There's a couple different coaches in the gym. Like I said my striking coach and main coach is Gil Martinez, my ju jitsu coach is Robert Drysdale, and my strength and conditioning coach is Jake Bonacci. Xtreme Couture has a ton of great fighters and we push each other everyday. With all the coaching and workout partners it really is a melting pot of styles and a great gym to be apart of!!
MMABay - You are undefeated in nine professional fights, what stops you from becoming complacent ?
Maynard - Going up against the best, not only in competition, but in practice too. I spar a Gils gym with really good boxers, Drysdale's gym with really good ju jitsu guys, and of course at Xtreme Couture's I put it all together for MMA. I'm always being humble because of the talented people I train with. There's no room to be complacent when your being pushed to your limits everyday.
MMABay - You shot to fame in the eyes of UFC fans as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter. Many fighters have said that being on the show was a life changing experience...what’s your take on it?
Maynard - Yeah, it was a great opportunity to get into the UFC. It definitely was a tough experience at the time, but I'm better off because of it.
MMABay - You made it to the semi-finals before losing to Nate Diaz by choke. Nate has had some mixed success, while you’ve gone undefeated in the UFC since. Do you want another crack at Diaz to avenge that loss?
Maynard - Again, my main focus is Huerta on Sept. 16th. We will see what happens after that.
MMABay - You made a second appearance on the show as a wrestling coach for Forrest Griffin during Season eight. What was it like being on the coaching side; do you think your experience as a contestant gave you a better insight into the challenges the guys in the house faced?
Maynard - Coaching was definitely an easier experience. Mostly because I was able to go home everyday!! But, I just tried to help whenever I could and give advice that I thought was useful. Mainly I told them just to stay focused and keep their eye on the prize. It's very easy to get distracted during the time in the house and taping the show.
MMABay - Obviously the next question has to be...how would you feel about coaching ‘Team Maynard’ on a future season of TUF?
Maynard - I haven't even thought about that!! I'll cross that bridge if it ever comes. I try to focus on what's going on today.
MMABay - Some people won’t be aware of this, but TUF was not your only TV experience...you appeared on an episode of Supernanny, helping a kid with its anger problems through taking them out on the mat rather than at home. How did that come about and do you think that more kids could benefit from training some sort of MMA or wrestling as a method of discipline?
Maynard - I think kids need to be involved in activities for sure!! Whether it's sports or whatever, kids need to have outlets and goals for their energy. If not, that's when they start getting in trouble and being “complacent”.
MMABay - You’ve already achieved many thing in your athletic career; you were ranked 11th all-time in wrestling at Michigan State University, you have one of the fastest KO’s in UFC history against Joe Veres; how important is getting that lightweight title for you to round things off?
Maynard - Obviously it's always in the back of my head and a long term goal of mine. But as an athlete I need to stay focused on what I need to do today to get better!! Then everything should fall into place. There's always going to be bumps in the road, you just got to deal with the ups and downs as they come.
MMABay - Speaking of title shots, how do you see the fight between BJ and Diego Sanchez at UFC 107 panning out ?
Maynard - I'm not really good at predicting fights. They both looked really good in their last fight, but BJ is going to be tough to beat. I think it will be a good fight though.
MMABay - Finally, you’ve been a student of Randy Couture for a number of years. Because of that, and because of your particular fighting style, you have drawn comparisons to MMA greats like Dan Henderson, Matt Lindland and of course Randy Couture himself. Do you think those comparisons are justified?
Maynard - I think the sport has changed so much since those guys first started. They were definitely the ones that were able to evolve with it though. They are great competitors and legends of the sport. I just need to keep getting better and learn from their accomplishments and mistakes. Most importantly enjoy the ride of being able to train and fight for a living!! It's really great to be apart of this sport!!
MMABay - Thanks for taking time out to talk to MMABay.co.uk and good luck on September 16th!
(An exclusive interview for MMABay.co.uk)HTML Comment Box is loading comments...