At Friday’s Ultimate Fighter Undefeated TUF 27 media day, the undefeated athletes of the new season of The Ultimate Fighter, and their coaches for this season, were on deck to discuss thoughts on the upcoming show, talk about their opponents, and give details on their fight preparations.
Among those present were UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, and heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, and Featherweight contestant Mike Trizano and Lightweight contestant, John Gunther.
First, I was able to interview featherweight fighter Mike Trizano and lightweight fighter John Gunther.
Q: How do you feel about being paired against other undefeated fighters from all over the world during this season of TUF? How have you been physically, and mentally preparing yourself for this?
Mike Trizano: This is what I’ve been waiting for. Having the opportunity to prove myself against other undefeated fighters, and to show my skill set to others.
John Gunther: It’s all undefeated fighters, and that’s why I wanna be in the UFC. You’re fighting the toughest guys in the world, so here we have the opportunity in a short period of time, to fight the toughest guys from all around the world, and then hopefully win it, and then go on into the UFC. It’s incredible.
Q: In the TUF house, hearing testimonies from other fighters we know it’s very isolated. You’re not allowed to take certain things, such as music devices, books, etc. on top of not being able to have contact with the outside world. What will be your way to deal with this, on top of the stresses of prepping for your fights?
Mike Trizano: Quite honesty, it doesn’t bug me. It gives me the opportunity to fully focus on training. Even back home, I’d go out in the woods to escape for a little bit.
John Gunther: chuckles I don’t miss home. I was living in my van in Cleveland and it’s like freezing there, so I was like “yes! It’s warm!” So I don’t miss it right now, but being on the show it’s not bad. I feel like I’m kind of made for it, because I could just be in my mind thinking of things. I’ve just been asking myself a thousand questions. I don’t need a lot, I do kind of miss listening to audiobooks and stuff, and not having that input kind of stinks, but hopefully I’ve accumulated enough that I can just be thinking about stuff, and so far I’m good. I haven’t gone crazy yet, but we’ll see.
The light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has his sights set on making history. He is looking to become a title holder in both the light heavyweight and the heavyweight divisions, as he eyes a return to go against the record breaking heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic.
If Cormier is able to defeat Miocic this may put Cormier in talks for being considered the greatest of all time. I was able to get his thoughts on being a coach, and his feelings on his upcoming fight this summer during International Fight Week.
LISTEN TO DANIEL CORMIER INTERVIEW BELOW:
How do you feel becoming a coach for these fighters? Are you confident in guiding them towards their goal? “I’m excited about coaching these guys, and trying to help them, and play a part of their journey. I do coach, but my coaching staff does it. They made me, they made Cain, they made Luke. Why can’t I give these guys the same thing? I talk from a fighter’s perspective, a coach’s perspective, but I trust my coaching staff to help me prepare these guys.
How do you feel you match up with Stipe?
“In the heavyweight division I’ve always been faster. I think that was my biggest attribute, just being faster than the heavyweights. Stipe’s a big guy who’s only fought heavyweights. He’s never fought light heavyweights. It’s going to feel different. I’m going to move different. These heavyweights seem to tire. If i can take a guy down over and over, I can do that shit for hours.”
Also Cormier noted, “I can move, I can create angles that most heavyweights really can’t, and that’s why I’m going to cause him some issues, and I also have the ability to really go hard for 25 minutes. I mean he fought a great fight against Ngannou, but he was on top, and they both seemed too tired. If I can take a guy down over and over, I can do that shit for an hour. I don’t get tired when I’m on top. I’ll get tired if I’m just having to stand with guys, having to get up from the bottom and all of that.”
Regardless of the outcome of the fight do you plan to stay at heavyweight or will you return to Light Heavyweight?
“No, I’m going back down to 205. I believe Cain will win his next fight, and he’ll be in line for a title shot, and I’m not going to fight him, so I’ll probably vacate the title.
Stipe Miocic, who after his recent victory over Francis Ngannou has now broken the record for titles defended in the light heavyweight division. He sees an interesting fight with Daniel Cormier, however his expression in his chair as he talks exuded confidence to the crowd, stating he “loves to prove people wrong,” and “doesn’t care what people think,” keeping a majority of his answers short, and to the point.
STIPE MIOCIC INTERVIEW AT TUF 27 – ULTIMATE FIGHTER UNDEFEATED MEDIA DAY
What is your mindset going into this season of TUF? You will be handling a team, while balancing your own training, preparing for DC. Do you think that this may be the toughest challenge you’ve had to date?
“It was a tough one” in reference to his wife’s pregnancy. We talked about it, and she’s okay with it. In fact, she comes in tomorrow so I get to hang out with her, which is great, and she’s not too far along. She’s due in the summertime.
When asked about the challenge DC presents he stated:
“Oh I think he (Cormier) is an amazing fighter. Great wrestler of course, tough and a fast striker. He’s strong and a great matchup for me. I think we matchup very well.”
Are you nervous about becoming a coach? Will this be new to you, or do you feel your experience outside the mma world as a firefighter will make the transition easier?
“No, I’m not nervous because as I’ve said before, I have amazing coaches. We all work together you know? We have one goal, and one dream this season.”
Stipe also indicated that even though this season may help his marketability and give him more exposure, he won’t change his personality, like bigger stars such as Ronda Rousey, or Conor McGregor. It’s too “exhausting to pretend to be something I’m not.”
The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated will air every Wednesday, on FS1 premiering on April 18th, and the season finale will be during International Fight Week (July 3rd-7th.)