Evan Dunham (8-0) is a 27-year-old undefeated professional fighter from Oregon. His first fight in the Octagon was against Per Eklund at UFC 95 in England. Evan won the fight by TKO just a little over two minutes into round one.
This Saturday night at UFC 102, Evan will be taking a huge step up in competition as he faces Marcus “Maximus” Aurelio (18-7). Aurelio has been fighting professionally since 2002 and has been in the cage with most of the world’s top lightweights.
Evan spoke with PRO MMA (promma.info) on Thursday and talked about how it feels to be fighting in Portland, what his mindset is as he gets ready to face a veteran like Aurelio, who has been helping him prepare for this fight, and much more.
PRO MMA: What are these last couple of days like for you leading up to the fight?
EVAN DUNHAM: My final days before the fight are for letting my body heal, getting my weight down and mental preparation.
PRO MMA: Your last fight, your first UFC fight, was in England. How much nicer is it to have the fight this time in Oregon? This is your home state right? How far did you grow up from Portland?
EVAN DUNHAM: I was born, raised and still reside in Eugene which is about two hours south of Portland. It is great to be fighting back in Oregon because the fans out here are great.
PRO MMA: How did you end up at Xtreme Couture and how long have you been there now?
EVAN DUNHAM: I ended up at Xtreme when I helped a friend named John Gunderson relocate to Vegas from Reno. He introduced me to all the guys down there and I trained there for a couple of weeks to try it out. Since then I make the trip to Vegas in preparation for all my fights. The coaches and training partners are great so I spend as much time as possible in Vegas. I started training there towards the end of last year.
PRO MMA: So you’re still traveling back and forth to Eugene?
EVAN DUNHAM: I travel back and forth for now but the majority of the time recently I have been in Vegas.
PRO MMA: What does it mean to you to be able to fight a veteran like Marcus Aurelio who has basically seen it all?
EVAN DUNHAM: I think that it is great to be given the chance to test my skills against a guy with such experience.
PRO MMA: How do you prepare for a veteran like Aurelio? Are you at all intimidated by his experience?
EVAN DUNHAM: I prepare just like I always do, no difference. I am not intimidated because I know I train with guys every day that are above his level.
PRO MMA: How do you think you match up with Aurelio and how do you see the fight going?
EVAN DUNHAM: I match up great with Aurelio because my over all game is strong so I am comfortable wherever the fight plays out. I think that it will come down to who wants it more. I know I plan on push the pace because I want it more.
PRO MMA: Who are some of the guys who helped you get ready for this fight?
EVAN DUNHAM: Martin Kampman, Jay Hieron, Grey Maynard, Tyson Griffin, Sam Stout and many more from Xtreme.
PRO MMA: Could you tell us a little about your background, how you ended up in MMA, and what it was like when you finally found out you would be fighting in the UFC?
EVAN DUNHAM: I was a wrestler in middle and high school who started BJJ right after high school in 2000. I started fighting a few years later and loved the sport. When I heard I would be fighting in the UFC I was very happy and excited to be able to compete at such a high level.
PRO MMA: We wish you the best of luck Saturday night. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us Evan. Do you have any final thoughts and is there anyone you would like to thank?
EVAN DUNHAM: Thanks to all my training partners at Xtreme Couture, Legion BJJ, Team Megaton and especially Shawn Tompkins and Jake Bonacci. Thanks to my sponsors Cage Fighter and Oneshot.
By: Jack Bratcher