Joe Stevenson “The Daddy Talks Title”
PDG: Since your victory at UFC 74 over Kurt Pellegrino what have you been doing?
Joe: I have been training hard and getting ready for my title shot.
PDG: Where are you currently training and with who?
Joe: I am training with the same crew from the Cobra Kai Laimons School. Staying in my own element. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken.
PDG: You have been in Big Bear, California training right?
Joe: Yes, I have been up there doing high altitude training. To be honest though it is more for the seclusion because no one goes to Big Bear to party. It is the complete opposite of training in Las Vegas, Nevada.
PDG: What is your current training schedule?
Joe: I am training about six days a week. I am going early morning, afternoon and then again at night. I have been doing a lot of power lifting and technique training.
PDG: Has the UFC told you if the fight will be for the actual title as opposed to the interim belt?
Joe: I am waiting for that call. Yesterday, when they said that there was going to be a big announcement on the Ultimate Fighter Finale I was like awesome they are going to surprise me. It was cool that they were talking about Forrest Griffin being one of the next coaches but it wasn’t the announcement I was looking for. It was still cool all the same.
PDG: That should be a great season of TUF with him and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as the coaches.
Joe: It is going to be very interesting with two coaches and two very different training strategies.
PDG: If they follow the past model. Forrest and Rampage will be fighting at the end of the show. If that is the case, who is your pick?
Joe: I think that it is going to be a great fight as both of those guys are game. I can’t go either way and it is going to come down to who has the better day. That is how fighting is nowadays.
PDG: Being a former star on the Ultimate Fighter. How did you see this season going as far as talent and Mac Danzig winning the show?
Joe: Danzig has a lot of experience and he has been in and out the cage for a while. I thought he had the edge going into the fight and it showed that size doesn’t matter. As far as people commenting on the talent level in TUF, I think it is just jealousy. The only difference this season was the experience that Danzig brought to the show. That doesn’t mean that the other fighters weren’t any good. They just didn’t have the experience. A lot of people think that they can get off the couch and go in there and do it. Maybe they can win a 15 second fight but what happens if it lasts 15 or 25 minutes? Are you ready and prepared to be hit and come back like Roger Huerta did yesterday?
PDG: Let’s get back to your title fight with BJ Penn coming up in January. What do you see as your strengths and his weaknesses’?
Joe: I think that both of us are very strong and it would be hard to find weaknesses in either of our games. The fight is going to come down to who is better prepared on the day of the fight. There is nothing negative that I can say about BJ, he is one of the best fighters out there.
PDG: Some fans have said in the past that Penn doesn’t always train 100% for his fights. Does that opinion hold any merit?
Joe: He trains very hard for his fights and he fights at 155lbs so I don’t think that cardio is going to be a factor for him. Obviously BJ will have to be in shape to make the weight.
PDG: You have been training with Cub Swanson for his upcoming fight against Jens Pulver. How is he doing?
Joe: He has been in Big Bear with us the whole time and we are going back to Vegas today to get ready for his fight on December 12th in the WEC. I have been friends with Cub for a long time going back to our KOTC days.
PDG: What do you see as Cub’s strengths going into the fight on Wednesday?
Joe: He is definitely better looking. Cub has a lot of tools in his arsenal that Jens has no defense for. It doesn’t matter where this fight goes, we will be prepared. The way the game is now you have to be well rounded and be prepared to fight stand-up or on the ground. He is well prepared for victory.
PDG: Back to your career. Your first professional fight was at 16 yrs old and you had a submission victory. Don’t you have to be 18 yrs old to fight professionally?
Joe: Not back then if you were fighting on an Indian Reservation in California. I actually had my mom sign a waiver.
PDG: You started off well until you fought Pulver.
Joe: That will happen when you are 16. Your manager picks a tough fight for you and you don’t know the fighter that well. Back in the day there wasn’t nearly as much media coverage and scouting so you really didn’t know what your opponent’s style and strength’s were. Jens was tough then especially for a 16 yr old. I went into that fight really nervous as I had talked with him at the hotel before hand and I was kind of like WOW. Then during the fight he helped me out with a right hook to the face that broke my orbital bone.
PDG: You are only 25 yrs old and you have 40 professional fights so far. Are you going to try and slow down a little to preserve the future of your career?
Joe: I want to stay at two or three fights per year and concentrate on the new school that I am opening the week after my fight with Penn in Victorville, California. I am planning on building for the future. The new school will be a Cobra Kai gym with great instructors from the Mark Laimon charter. It will be a good atmosphere where I can bring what I have learned in Vegas to another desert.
PDG: As you are fighting for the interim lightweight belt against Penn; what are your thoughts on Sean Sherk, Phil Baroni and steroids in general?
Joe: Some fighters are just incompetent and don’t think about the long term affects on their careers [not in reference to Sean]. There is no main sanctioning body in MMA and not only do the fighters suffer these positive tests but the organization that they fight for also suffers. As far as Sean & Phil I think that it is good lawyers. I think it is bad where you have someone like Hermes Franca who tells the truth and throws himself on the mercy of the court and he doesn’t get a reduced sentence.
PDG: As far as your career has gone. What was your best fight and your worst?
Joe: The best has to be against Kurt Pellegrino as you are always remembered for your last fight. He was a great competitor and athlete. The most disappointing fight was with Josh Neer. It was a gut check and he was hungry and I was under prepared.
PDG: Thanks for your time Joe, is there anything else you would like to add?
Joe: Thanks and make sure you check out www.joestevenson.com for updates on my career and other cool stuff.
*****Later today it was announced that the BJ Penn vs. Joe Stevenson would indeed be for the LW championship*****