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FLD EXCLUSIVE - Nick Catone: "I’m not happy with just making it here, I believe I can be one of the best fighters in the MW division."

Author : Ben DeWalt

Thursday, 23 July 2009 11:48

Today at the Lockdown, we feature an exclusive interview between our own Ben DeWalt and UFC MW Nick Catone. After making a successful debut against Derek Downey at Ultimate Fight Night 17, Catone suffered a submission loss to TUF alumnus Tim Credeur. In this interview, Nick talks about what he has learned from his first career loss, what it’s like fighting in ‘the big show’, and his upcoming fight against Mark Munoz at UFC 102.
Ben DeWalt (BD): First of all Nick, I just wanted to thank you for doing this interview with FightLockdown, we appreciate it.
Nick Catone (NC): “Thank you, I appreciate you guys having me on.”
BD: In your last fight you suffered a submission loss to TUF7 veteran, Tim Credeur. Were you surprised by the explosiveness of his submission attempts, seeing as it was something he hadn’t really shown prior to his fight with you?
NC: “Yeah, I was definitely surprised with his explosiveness. He definitely improved a lot since the show. He took me off my game right away and I felt like I was on the defense the whole fight on the ground, after I fought off that first arm bar attempt.”
BD: You were doing pretty well standing at the start of the second round. Do you regret taking him down at all? And what would you do differently in a rematch?
NC:  “Yeah, I felt like I was doing well on my feet during the second round, but my corner was yelling for me to take him down. I'm a wrestling and jiu-jitsu guy, so the ground is where I am naturally comfortable and I've won almost of my prior fights there, so that was the game plan going in. But I think if I had the rematch, the game plan would be different, and after the first round and my team and I need to recognize things like that during the fight, and be able to make those adjustments. So I feel it's an experience thing for me and my team, so I have definitely learned a lot from the loss.
BD: Many fighters have claimed that they experienced “pre-fight jitters” that impacted their debut performances. Did you experience that same feeling, and did your UFC debut live up to your expectations?
NC: “For my debut fight against Downey, I was a little nervous, but once I go in there everything goes away and I block all that out. I feel that my wrestling experience helps me out a lot, having been in front of large crowds throughout my whole life. I have only been in the fight game for two years, so I didn’t expect to make it to the UFC that quickly, but it was definitely a big goal of mine. I’m not happy with just making it here though, I believe I can be one of the best fighters in the middleweight division. I love the challenge of getting to fight the best guys in the world in the best organization in the world.”
BD: At the start of your UFC career you were matched up with Amir Sadollah, twice. Was it frustrating having him pull-out of your scheduled fights both times?
NC: “Yes it was definitely frustrating having the fight called off twice. You train for a certain style for months and then have to train for a totally new guy last minute. I was looking forward to being on the main card and showing everyone what I’m capable of, and getting bumped to undercard is kind of a set back, but I just take things one day at a time and try to stay focused.”
BD: The UFC MW division is comprised of mostly strikers and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters. Do you feel that with your strong wrestling background you can bring a different kind of threat into the cage?
NC: “Yes, I feel with my wrestling background I can bring a different threat. The wrestling background is nice because if I’m up against a striker, I can take it to the ground, or if I’m facing a great ground guy, I may want to keep it standing. So I feel that being a good wrestler. I can dictate where I want the fight to go.”
BD: When you’re preparing for a fight, who do you train with and what weight do you cut down from?
NC: “I have a lot of different training partners. My BJJ instructor, Bill Scott, is a Ricardo Almeida Black Belt. I train with the Miller Brothers, Jim and Dan. Jamal Patterson, a Renzo Gracie Black Belt who fought for the Pitbulls in the IFL, as well as, Kurt Pellegrino and the guys from his camp. I do my Muay Thai and stand-up training at Impact Martial Arts and I still train my wrestling at Rider University. And of course, I train at my camp, Shore Academy, where I have a lot of great training partners as well. I usually float around anywhere between 205 and 210 pounds before making the cut.
BD:  I know you’ve worked with fellow UFC MWs Dan Miller and Ricardo Almeida in the past, but if it came down to it, would you be willing to fight them?
NC: “ I probably would never fight either one of them. I have a lot of respect for the both of them and I would rather not if had the choice. “
BD: You have an upcoming fight at UFC 102 with another former D-1 Wrestler in Mark Munoz. What are your thoughts on Mark and the fight in general?
NC: “Of course, Mark has a great wrestling background and is coming off a loss as well, so he will be hungry just like I am to get back on the winning path. I think it is going to be a great, high paced fight for the fans.”
BD: Coming off a loss, how big of a fight would you say this is for you and for your UFC career?
NC: “This is probably my biggest fight yet, besides my UFC debut. There are so many great fighters out there, so you need to produce when you get your opportunities and prove to UFC that this is where you belong.”
BD:  Before we finish the interview, I’d like to ask you if you have any final messages to your fans, or any sponsors that you would like to thank?
NC: “I hope to get back on track this fight and I plan on keeping my fights exciting for the fans. I would like to thank Good Sports, Tokyo Five, Firefly Nutrition, and all my previous sponsors for supporting me.
BD: Thanks again Nick, everyone at the Lockdown wishes you the best of luck with your training and upcoming fight at UFC 102.
NC: “Thank you.”