Efrain Escudero is the 155 lbs. winner of Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter season 8 reality TV show. He defeated Phillipe Nover in the TUF 8 Finale last December to win a coveted six-figure contract with the UFC.
Escudero was originally scheduled to fight Jeremy Stephens back in April but had to pull out due to a rib injury. Now healed up, Escudero is ready to make his second Octagon appearance on Sept. 19, 2009 against the very technical Cole Miller who has finished his last two opponents.
PRO MMA (promma.info) spoke with the 23-year-old undefeated 11-0 Mexican lightweight on Tuesday about his upcoming bout with Miller, how he thinks he matches up with Magrino, and how he’s feeling after the rib injury. He also told us “his hips don’t lie” but we weren’t sure what that meant.
Efrain Escudero interview (audio):
PRO MMA: All right, Tim Thompson from PROMMA.INFO. I’m here with Efrain Escudero. Efrain, how are you?
EFRAIN: Pretty good, just here at my house, just got done training.
PRO MMA: Very good. How is training going?
EFRAIN: Going actually really good. I have a lot of good guys in my gym, and we just like, you know, beating each other up.
PRO MMA: Very good. You used to wrestle at Pima Community College where you were an All-American. A lot of people, thanks to Ultimate Fighter and thanks to the Inside MMA, they get to see how hard training for MMA actually is, and what they don’t know is how hard training for wrestling is. What do you think is harder, training for wrestling nationals or training for an MMA fight?
EFRAIN: Well, I believe, you know, they both have their differences, but you know, if I was to say which one is harder — as a sport individual, fighting, you know, ’cause you’re getting hit, but training wise, I don’t know. I would have to say they are both pretty hard in their own ways.
PRO MMA: All right, now your next fight is against Cole Miller, at UFC 103. You said you were training for him. What do you think is going to happen in that fight?
EFRAIN: You know, he’s a well-rounded guy. He’s a very talented guy, but you know, this is a sport, you know, so I have to study his weaknesses, his strengths. You know that day we have to see who did more homework.
PRO MMA: Now Cole’s last fight was actually against Junie Browning, someone you had quite a bit of experience with when you guys were on The Ultimate Fighter. They had a few choice words for each other. Cole kind of went off on him after he won. What do you think of all the antics after the fight?
EFRAIN: Well, you know, those will always happen, you know. It depends on the fighter. I don’t know. I really don’t consider that very sportsmanlike conduct, because, you know, you beat the guy already, you demolished him in the first round, you know. There’s no time for you to like sit around and be talking smack.
PRO MMA: Alright, now Cole is on a — he’s on a two-fight win streak. He had that great fight against Jorge Gurgel and the fight against Junie, both by submission. You are a wrestler. You showed great skill on the Ultimate Fighter. How do you see the whole fight going?
EFRAIN: I believe — I see it going my way, you know; otherwise, I would not be getting ready for this fight, but hey, you know what, I see this fight being an exciting fight. I’m not training for a one-round submission, you know. Nobody has pushed him to the limit for a while, and I’m training for an all-out war. I’m training for fifteen minutes non-stop, you know. No matter if he beats me, he’s really going to have to come in there and really beat me, ’cause I’m not going to give him an easy win.
PRO MMA: Alright, it was just announced this past week, actually, Affliction is now done. They are back sponsoring the UFC. Who knows what’s going to happen to those fighters and their contracts. We might know within the next week here. Is there anyone in that organization or anyone else that you would like to fight?
EFRAIN: I don’t know, really. I really haven’t kept up with that organization, but you know, I will fight anybody, just so — totally to fight.
PRO MMA: Now, coming up at UFC 101 is B.J. Penn against Kenny Florian for the lightweight title, your division. Who do you see winning that fight?
EFRAIN: Oh, man, that’s a tough one. I’m just excited — I know both guys, and I just expect a great fight from both of them. I’m not really going to take sides, but I’m really going to sit back as a fan and watch it, and I know it’s going to be a great fight, because I know both guys are working hard.
PRO MMA: Going into the Ultimate Fighter finale, Phillipe Nover was a pretty big favorite, and you just came in and implemented your game plan perfectly. Was there a big mental thing that you had to get over going into that fight, or did you just train as normal?
EFRAIN: You know, I just trained as normal. You know, I believe — I hate losing. I’ve always hated it my entire life. I’m sure nobody likes to lose, but I take it very personal when I lose, even in practice if I lose I just admit it. Even in wrestling, wrestling taught me this ethic order. If I get taken down, you know that means I was slacking, I wasn’t training hard enough, so I have to press myself harder and harder. You know, going into the fight, I knew if I stuck to my game plan, you know, I could beat him.
PRO MMA: There are a lot of different opinions of fighters coming out of the Ultimate Fighter house. A lot of people say it didn’t bother them. Some people said they wouldn’t do that again in a million years. What are your thoughts on the house itself?
EFRAIN: I mean if it had something else to offer me, yeah, I would, but as of right now, I don’t know. I would really have to consider it.
PRO MMA: Alright. You were supposed to fight Jeremy Stevens, and then you came down with a rib injury. What exactly — how are the ribs doing? Anything still bothering you?
EFRAIN: My ribs are actually a hundred percent. I was out for a month completely, you know, I was just like I’m gonna let it heal right. I stayed away from the gym, and yeah, now I’m completely healed. I’m ready to go. I mean I did apologize to Jeremy, you know. I’m sorry he lost his fight, and I know he was getting ready for me, but oh well, you know accidents happen, and there’s a difference between being injured and being hurt, you know. Now my rib is completely healed, and hopefully it won’t bother me in this fight.
PRO MMA: If you get past Cole Miller, who is next for you in the UFC?
EFRAIN: Don’t matter, whoever jumps over the fence, like I said earlier, you know. He’s (Joe Silva) the big man. He knows his job, you know. Just like I wouldn’t want anyone tell me how to fight my fight, I wouldn’t want to tell him how to do his job.
PRO MMA: Alright, now the other big fight at UFC 101, Forest Griffin against Anderson Silva, Anderson Silva is going up in weight. That’s a fan’s dream right there. How do you feel about that as a fighter, seeing a guy go up in weight?
EFRAIN: I mean he’s walking through everybody in his weight class, he really wants to be the pound-for-pound champ, so I really wouldn’t blame him if he wants to go up a weight class.
PRO MMA: How do you see the fight against Forrest going?
EFRAIN: The same way as every other fight.
PRO MMA: Alright, now just a few other questions for you. When you are not training, and you are not on a diet to cut weight, what’s your favorite food?
EFRAIN: Mexican, anything.
PRO MMA: Okay, and what about your favorite movie?
EFRAIN: My favorite movie? I don’t know, probably I like America Me.
PRO MMA: And is there anything on your I-Pod or a CD in your car that people wouldn’t expect a fighter to have?
PRO MMA: You’re going to blame it on your little sister, huh?
EFRAIN: Yeah, I have to take this one.
PRO MMA: Are there any sponsors or anything like that you’d like to thank before we let you go?
EFRAIN: Oh, just want to thank everybody for supporting me, first of all, you know, most of all my fans ’cause those are the people that make me. I want to thank all my sponsors, Bud Light and Team Tapout, Royalty and Zappa and everybody else at MTX Audio, everybody, my manager, my fans, my training partners and even you for doing this interview.
PRO MMA: Well, thank you. The pleasure is definitely all mine. Hopefully we will be talking to you soon, and hopefully we will be talking to you after your hopeful victory against Cole Miller at UFC 103.
EFRAIN: Thank you very much.
PRO MMA: Once again, Efrain, thank you very much. This is Tim Thompson from PRO MMA (promma.info). Thanks a lot, Efrain.
By: Tim Thompson