The Rebirth of the Monster ? Kevin Randleman signs with Strikeforce
By Dave Carpinello
PDG: Is your contract with Strikeforce finalized?
Randleman: All I have to do is fax in my signature, so it will be done in the morning. The contract is for three fights and I couldn't be more excited to return. It has been a long time since I have trained this hard for such a great opportunity.
PDG: It has been about a year since you were training for an upcoming fight; how does it feel to be back training full-time?
Randleman: Good and I feel great; especially since I have no more pain in my shoulders and I am able to throw strikes without having any pain. After so many years of tweaking so many body parts I was unable to follow through on my punches until now. I have got power, I have got technique and I am going to be ready to go very soon.
PDG: You have to be excited about fighting in the U.S. again.
Randleman: I'm very excited but don't get me wrong, I love fighting in front of the Japanese fans and I will continue to do so. Although, it is nice to know that I will not be flying 13 hours for my next fight. I don't feel any pressure going into my next fight and for the first time in a long time I am very comfortable with my surroundings. I have been training extensively in expanding my mixed martial arts knowledge for the last three years and so I can't wait to get out there and give the fans what they deserve.
PDG: What led you to sign with Strikeforce?
Randleman: Scott Coker. He is a great guy and I was going to work for him free years ago before my injuries started to occur. Nothing against any other organization out there but Scott is definitely a top-notch guy. He doesn't try to be anything that he is not and he is satisfied with his piece of the pie. He respects all of his fighters and has always come across as an honest guy.
PDG: Since you are going to be returning at light heavyweight; unlike the many rumors that had you at 185 lbs. What match-ups in Strikeforce intrigue you?
Randleman: [Laughs] Sometimes people will print anything. Whoever Strikeforce has at 205 lbs, then that fight has my interest. The bottom line is that one of the best 205 lb fighters in the world is ?Babalu? Sobral and he has the belt in Strikeforce. They have fighters of great caliber in Strikeforce and to be honest I am just getting my bearings straight. I am completely healthy now and I am able to do things physically that I have not been able to do for many years.
PDG: So then what is your current training schedule?
Randleman: Four to six hours per day but I am making sure that I take adequate time off to heal and recuperate between workouts. I am not going out there trying to kill myself because that is what led to the string of injuries that I have had over the last few years. I am always in the gym early getting my conditioning and strength training done and then throughout the day I am working on different aspects of my technique training. Some days I get four workouts in but it is not hard-core for every session. It can include drilling, conditioning, weights and a combination of other workouts. I am working on everything and I have a real good team that knows what to expect from me at each workout. They are pushing me harder at each training session but it has been gradual so that I can get my body ready to fight again without being injured.
PDG: While training for your debut in Strikeforce, are you going to be training primarily at Xtreme Couture?s or are you going to work with different gyms?
Randleman: The beautiful thing about Vegas is that Wanderlei Silva is out here and he has already extended an offer for me to come and train with him and his strength coach. All fighters are proud people and I don't mind getting my ass kicked in practice. As long as I am ready when it comes time to step back in the cage, so I am going to bounce around a little bit and work with the people that are going to best prepare me for my upcoming return. I have been and will continue working with Robert Drysdale. I would have to say I am no longer a pink or white belt in BJJ but I have a lot of work to do. So for the people out there that say I am unwilling to change the way I fight and train....guess again.
PDG: So are you looking at returning on Strikeforce?s May card?
Randleman: I am targeting my return for whenever Scott Coker tells me that it is my turn. All I know is that I have some time to get ready for my first fight. If that day comes in May then that will be the longest period of time in my career that I've had to prepare for a fight. Right now the only thing that I am worried about is getting my work in. It is not like I am reinventing the wheel, I know how to fight. I've been working on my cardio, boxing, jui-jitsu, submission defense and overall fighting. There will be doubters about certain parts of my game including submission defense but I am putting an emphasis on those things that will keep me out of those situations. I have been putting a lot more time into working leg locks.
PDG: Wait a second, leg locks?
Randleman: You never know what position you will be in during a fight. I don't want to just know how to pass the guard; I want to take advantage of the positions that my opponent will put himself in when I do. There are four limbs and a head, why not try to utilize every one of them.
PDG: What would you like to tell all the fans that e-mailed Strikeforce on your behalf over the last few days?
Randleman: To everyone that e-mailed Strikeforce....what can I say? I would love to be able to respond to each and every single one of them individually. That was a great show of support by the mixed martial arts fans and my heart and prayers go out to them. Anyone that likes me has obviously been a fan of the sport for a long time because I have been around for quite some time. There are a lot of new fans in the sport of MMA that haven't quite caught on yet and then on the other end of the spectrum you have the fans that have been watching since before they had gloves. All fans of the sport are great but the fans that have been around for a long time know the Monster. No matter whether you're a new fan of the sport or a long time hard-core fan, I want to give my utmost thanks for all of your support.
PDG: Is there anything else that you wanted to add about the Strikeforce deal?
Randleman: Don't expect anything less but expect a lot more! Don't expect anything less then you have heard or seen of me in the past but be prepared to expect a lot more than you have ever seen.
PDG: Outside of Strikeforce and into the rest of the world of mixed martial arts; I have three questions for you. What did you think about Ken Shamrock testing positive for steroids?
Randleman: It is bad to hear but just like with every sport you have the negatives and positives. I wish him the best and I hope that this doesn't bring him down. Hopefully he is able to go back and train his fighters to be the best fighters that they can be and I honestly think that his students still have a lot to learn from Ken. Regardless of this situation.
PDG: You're going to be at the Robert Drysdale All-Star BJJ camp in Las Vegas from March 16th through the 26th. What will your role be with the camp and how much involvement will you have with the students?
Randleman: I plan on getting choked out, tapped out and submitted it in other various ways several times each day. Knowledge is power but if you are not willing to use that and work with other people than it does you no damn good. There are a lot of things that I do well that I can explain very easily to fighters and it goes the same for me when BJJ experts teach me. Talk to me like I am a fifth grader, it's fighting and the basis is supposed to be simple not complicated like some kind of MIT math equation. When I am at that clinic for 10 days, I plan on taking advantage of all of the fighter?s knowledge (Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros, Andre Galvao, Bruno Frazzato, Abmar Barbosa, Cameron Diffley, Ramon Lemos, Rafael and Guilherme Mendes, Gilbert Durinho, Sonny Nohara and Michelle Nicolini, Joe Stevenson, Martin Kapman, Phil Baroni and Frank Mir) who are in attendance and I will take the time to help anyone there that can benefit from the skills that I bring to the table. I am looking forward to the camp because I will get a chance to work with many fighters that I have not yet crossed paths with in my career. I also think that I will be able to bring a certain wrestling technique that will benefit the fighters that are at the clinic.
PDG: You had a long-standing relationship with the guys from Tapout. Charles "Mask" Lewis died earlier today in a car accident; what are your thoughts on someone who had been with the sport for so long?
Randleman: I am almost still speechless. To the people at Tapout, my heart and my family's deepest condolences go out to you guys. Anybody that knows fighting knows that Tapout was there when I was there. They were there when nobody gave a f**k about the sport. They never changed their logo or their principles, which were all about the fighters and the sport. If you really are a true fight fan, you should send your condolences to the Tapout website because I know from personal experience that the letters that fans send can make a big difference. Those guys deserve the respect of MMA fans and all of the success that they have achieved so far. When there was no money in mixed martial arts, the Tapout guys were selling merchandise from the trunk of their car. My heart goes out to them and it is a sad day when ever you lose a fan like that. No matter what the circumstances were.
PDG: Thanks Kevin and I can't wait to see you in Strikeforce.
Randleman: Thank you and thank you to all the fans. When I come back in Strikeforce, fans are going to see a different Monster. After everything that I have been through the last three years (surgeries, injuries, legal and near death) it would be impossible to replicate the Monster of old. Fighting is a lot more simple without the anger!