Seth Petruzelli – Return of the Silverback – PRO MMA Exclusive Interview

Seth Petruzelli

The Ultimate Fighter season two cast member, Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli is poised to make his return to the cage after a year layoff when he wages battle with Aaron Rosa on the undercard of CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights on October 4th. Seth had to focus on setting up a major franchise in his hometown of Florida during the last year because as he so truthfully put it, “You can’t fight forever.” All that time off has done nothing but fuel this light heavyweight contender’s hunger to return to the cage and do some serious damage in the light heavyweight division.

PRO MMA had the chance to catch up with Seth just days before one of the most important fights in his career and talk with him about possibly being the first man to knock out Aaron Rosa, training with Greg Jackson in New Mexico, the toughest SOB he’s ever fought and the absolutely hilarious true meaning behind his nickname.

Seth Petruzelli audio:

PRO MMA: Thanks for taking this time with PRO MMA Seth, we appreciate it. So how are you feeling physically right now in the days leading up to your fight?
Seth: Actually I feel really good. I went out to New Mexico to train with Greg Jackson’s camp and trained with Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans and all those guys. I just got back so I’m feeling really good. My cardio is up and my technique is on, so I’m feeling pretty confident.

PRO MMA: So you said you were training with Greg Jackson who is known as the master of the game plans, did he help you come up with a solid strategy for your fight against Rosa?
Seth: Yeah definitely. I had a game plan going in there and I kind of let him know what it was and he said it was a good idea so we just started to work on it. It’s no secret, I’m just going to stand up with him, get on the inside and go for the knockout.

PRO MMA: What do you know about your opponent Aaron Rosa and how do you feel you guys match up?
Seth: Not much. When I first heard his name I didn’t know who he was but obviously I’ve researched him on the Internet and saw a couple of his fights. He’s a decent striker, he likes to throw knees and he’s got a good right hand but besides that there’s not much else to him. I think I’m definitely a lot more well-rounded, I’ve been in the game a lot longer and strength wise I think I’ve got him too. You know even on the feet, I think I have better hands than him so I’m feeling really confident and I’m going to knock him out.

PRO MMA: So you’ve won most of your fights by knockout and your opponent has never been knocked out. Do you think you will be the first guy to put Rosa on his back?
Seth: Yeah I’m definitely going to test his chin. I saw in one of his fights with EiteXC that he got dropped, but he’s never been knocked out. But then again, he’s never been hit by somebody that can punch like me either so I definitely want to try to knock him out for the first time.

PRO MMA: This will be your first fight back in nearly a year. Do you anticipate any ring rust or do you think the time off will work in your favor?
Seth: To tell you the truth, this year off has given me the drive to want to get back in there. I think it’s made me more hungry than ever. I took a year off to try to get some other things started for myself. You can’t fight forever so I opened up a Smoothie King Franchise with my wife and we got that going really good so now my hunger and my drive is definitely back for fighting so I don’t think it’s going to hurt me at all. If anything it just made me more hungry and motivated to get back in the cage more.

PRO MMA: Do you think an impressive win over Rosa on the undercard on October 4th will let people know that your career is far from over and force EliteXC’s light heavyweights to take notice.
Seth: Oh yeah, definitely. I know I still have a few fans out there but I’ve been out for a year so my name has kind of gotten lost in the mix so I’m definitely looking to come in and make a big splash in EliteXC. It’s going to wake up some of those other light heavyweights in EliteXc and let them know there’s someone else here now that they’re going to have to deal with.

PRO MMA: So the goal is to become the next EliteXC light heavyweight champion?
Seth: Oh yeah, one hundred percent. They’re treating me really good at EliteXC, you know, they’re a cool group of guys. They’re treating me right and the contract is great so I’d love to stay with EliteXC and be their champion if they’d have me. I’d love to be their poster boy.

PRO MMA: So where did the nickname “The Silverback” come from?
Seth: (laughter) Do you want the truth or do you want the one that I make up?

PRO MMA: No, I want the truth dude.
Seth: Well there’s a couple actually. The one is when I’m really tired in grappling I walk on my knuckles and knees and my belly kind of sticks out. People call me pasta belly as well so I’m known to have a protruding belly so when I walk on my hands and knees going from person-to-person in grappling on my knuckles and knees it looks like I’m a silverback gorilla crawling around on the ground. The other one, well a lot of people don’t know this but the silverback actually has the smallest penis-to-body ratio in the animal kingdom so I don’t like to say that that’s one of the main reasons why but it’s probably the main reason.

PRO MMA: That’s hilarious. Do you still talk to any of the guys from The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 at all?
Seth: Oh yeah, like I said, I still talk to Rashad and Keith. Keith definitely like on a weekly basis. Mike Whitehead, I talk to him all the time and Brad Imes, I talk to him all the time as well. So definitely all four of those guys, we all stay pretty close.

PRO MMA: Have you seen this season of The Ultimate Fighter at all and if so, who are some of the light-heavies that have impressed you with their fights?
Seth: Yeah, to tell you the truth, this Tom Lawler guy, I heard he’s just a big clown and I heard that he’s a big nobody and that he’s just horrible. No, he’s actually my training partner. We just met up last night and watched his fight. He just choked some guy out to make it on the house. So me and Tom are really good friends, we’re the best of freinds, we train together all the tim and stuff like that so that will soon have to be reckoned with for sure.

PRO MMA: So any plans on returning to K-1?
Seth: I’d love to go back to K-1.Obviously stand up is where I started since I was six or seven years old and I’ve been in Karate and kickboxing my entire life so if K-1 would have me back I’d love to go back there. Maybe after a couple wins via KO with ElieXC, EliteXC would be nice enough to let me go back to K-1 and have a couple fights there too.

PRO MMA: Who was the toughest SOB that you have ever fought?
Seth: Oooh…that’s a good question. I’ll tell you what, Dan Severn, even though he was older and stuff like that he was still just a really tough guy. I kicked him in his head, I thought I had him knocked out, I thought I had him choked out and I just couldn’t finish him but he’s a tough bastard. Also my recent loss to Wilson Gouveia. He’s a good fighter and he’s really tough. I was hitting him with some pretty good shots in the first round, you know, I thought I was winning that first round and he ended up catching me in a guillotine so I would say he’s a really tough opponent too.

PRO MMA: So I’ve heard that you opened up your own Smoothie King Franchise in Florida. How’s that going?
Seth: It’s been going great. The hurricanes didn’t help a few weeks ago but besides that it’s going great. A lot of people recognize me from the show which is kind of cool to them that I’m making them smoothies. So yeah it’s going great, we’re opening up our second location in the downtown area in a couple months so we’re doing really good with it.

PRO MMA: Are there any sponsors you would like to thank before I let you go?
Seth: Yeah, Social Menace Clothing, they’re my main sponsor, I want to thank them. If anyone is in the Orlando area the Sunday after the fight on October 5th, Vintage Night Club is where the after party is going to be. If anyone wants to go to Vintage Night Club in downtown Orlando that Sunday night October 5th, that’s where the party’s going to be.

PRO MMA: Alright Seth thanks for taking this time with us and good luck on your fight!
Seth: Awesome, I appreciate it, thank you very much.

by: Cory Brady

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