UFC light heavyweight Jason Brilz hasn't fought in almost a year (last competing at UFC 114 in May of 2010), but is coming off of a very controversial split decision loss to veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Many oberserves, fan and expert alike, believed Brilz had done enough with dominant positions and threatening submissions to earn the hard fought victory. The judges cageside didn't agree, but Brilz earned himself visibility and respect for putting on a spirited performance in a fight few ever considered to be noteworthy.
Brilz returns to action this weekend at UFC 129 against another veteran, this time the wrestler in Vladimir Matyushenko. In this exclusive interview with Othello Bouchareb of 106.7 The Fan in Washington, DC, Brilz talks about how his game plan never changes, why he can't leave being a full-time firefighter, his loss to Elliot Marshall, and the joy of fighting professionally. Full audio below, partial transcript after that:
3:25 - Is game plan more important than being sure that you're in shape for a fight: 'Not for me, I guess my gameplan has never changed....Go out there, try to take him down, beat him up on the ground. I don't think it'll ever change, I'm a wrestler at heart and I love the ground game. If you look at fights, its always pretty basic play that's going to win. If you're good at basics, you're going to win 95% of the time....'
5:35 - On problems he faces in the octagon ‘You know your adrenaline is dumping, you're trying to finish the fight.....I have a tendency once in a while to hold my breath and I'm like ‘Gosh Dang! I was holding my breath there' and then I just forget about it and get to the fight....'
7:00 - On what it's like being a professional fighter ‘This is just fun.... was never this great athlete, so to be able to go out there and do the things I'm doing. I get to travel, I'm fighting in the UFC, I get to fight all these big names, I'm on pay-per-view, all this cool stuff is enough for me........Wow, I'm just this bohunk from Omaha, Nebraska. I'm not supposed to be going in there with these guys....I've been enjoying the heck out of it.'
8:17 - On his loss to Eliot Marshall ‘I was frustrated with that fight, that was a tough one for me. Initially I thought I lost because I couldn't take him down. I went back and watched the fight and was like man, I was pressing the action....at no time during the fight did he try to finish it...at one point he had double underhooks on me...and just backed out of it. For me, it was a little frustration because I like to get in there and mix it up. For the fans it was a horrible fight, it was very lackluster.'
11:15 - On why he doesn't want to fight full-time ‘Well, one I love my firefighting job and two, I quit a job once years ago and I was like you know what I'm going to just fight full-time now, and it lasted about 3 months. It was just horrible....Now I have all this pressure that I HAVE to win, maybe I'm fighting for 1,000 bucks and if I won another 1,000 bucks and I was like ‘man, if I don't win I'm out 1,000 bucks.' .....and a lot of these guys, you can only train so much a day....in reality I'm only getting a good solid hour and a half, 2 hours of a workout there. Anymore and you're just killing your body...'