Having fought since 1999 in such organizations such as UFC, PRIDE, Pancrase, and the WEC, 43-year-old Ron “H2O” Waterman (16-6-2) is a seasoned MMA who has been locked in cages with some of the biggest and toughest men on the planet.
Some of Waterman’s most notable fights include victories over former UFC champions Ricco Rodriguez and Kevin Randleman. Most recently, he defeated Mark “The Bear” Smith via second round arm triangle in Nov. 2008.
In addition to being a BJJ black belt, Waterman is also an ordained minister in the Christian faith, and often travels with Team Impact, a group of strongmen who share their faith by performing impressive feats of strength. Mirko Cro Cop once stated Ron Waterman was the strongest man he ever faced.
Recently, Ron took time to speak with ProMMA.info staff writer Dusty Adams about his next fight, what current UFC heavyweight contender he helped get started in MMA, what he thinks about the future of TUF 10 competitor and ProMMA.info blogger Justin Wren, and what message he gives to students when he speaks at schools.
PROMMA.INFO: Ron thank you for taking time out to speak with PROMMA.INFO. How are things going for you?
RON WATERMAN: Very good Dusty, training, selling Real Estate, traveling with TI and being a dad.
PROMMA.INFO: I know you were scheduled to fight Bobby Lashley on Oct. 15th but the fight was cancelled. Has that fight been rescheduled?
RON WATERMAN: No, I really don’t know why Lashley hasn’t signed. It was supposed to be moved to the Strikeforce card on Nov. 7th but now I don’t know what’s going on with it.
PROMMA.INFO: You and Bobby both have been a part of the WWE. Did you know each other then and have you ever trained together since you both live in Colorado?
RON WATERMAN: Bobby came in long after I had been gone. I have seen Bobby at a few MMA events in Colorado but I have never met him or trained with him.
PROMMA.INFO: Many of the new fans to the sport may not know that you fought four times in the UFC (2-1-1) from 1999-2000. Are you surprised at how far the UFC and MMA in general has come since those days?
RON WATERMAN: I always envisioned the UFC exploding in popularity in the U.S. It’s funny how many American MMA fans don’t know about any fighters that aren’t currently fighting in the UFC.
PROMMA.INFO: Have you ever talked with the UFC about coming back?
RON WATERMAN: Not in a long time. I would consider it now that I am training so much. The UFC hasn’t seen me fight recently I don’t believe. My stand up has evolved from back when I fought for them. They typically like stand up fighters who are going to bang it out on their feet. I was a little surprised to see them sign Mark Coleman to another contract.
PROMMA.INFO: How much longer do you see yourself in the sport?
RON WATERMAN: I really don’t know how long I will continue to fight. I still train hard and can compete with anyone, so I guess the answer to your question depends on how long my body will hold up.
PROMMA.INFO: TUF season 10 contestant Justin Wren writes a blog about the show for PROMMA.INFO. He has been training in Denver and has mentioned you as a training partner before. What are your thoughts on Justin and his future?
RON WATERMAN: Justin is a great guy and very talented. I worked with him on Tuesday and his hands impressed me. I knew he was a good wrestler but didn’t think his hands were as good as they were. I’m excited to see him continue to climb the ladder.
PROMMA.INFO: Speaking of Justins, both of your son’s Justin and Austin are both solid amateur wrestlers. How would you feel if they wanted to do MMA, and have they mentioned it before?
RON WATERMAN: They are both very good wrestlers, my youngest Austin is a freshman this year and will probably be a 215 lbs. wrestler for Greeley West High School. Justin, my oldest is showing some interest in MMA and may start training this winter. He trained with Shane Carwin and Rory O’Farrell a couple months ago. He could be an amazing MMA fighter if he really wanted to pursue it seriously. I of course would rather see both of my boys finish their college education before going the MMA route.
PROMMA.INFO: For those who don’t know, you are the one who got number one UFC heavyweight contender Shane Carwin started in MMA. Are you still a part of his training camps these days?
RON WATERMAN: It’s been exciting to see Shane evolve as a top MMA fighter and remain unbeaten. I drive to Denver with Shane twice a week and train at the Grudge Training Center. It’s an amazing room with some of the Top MMA fighters there are today. It’s impossible not to become a better fighter in that room and with that training. I have come a long way with my own game in the last three months after training with Grudge.
PROMMA.INFO: You have also spent time with Brock Lesnar when both of you were in the WWE and I know you have been asked a thousand times, but who do you feel has the edge in their upcoming fight?
RON WATERMAN: Brock and I haven’t spoken in a couple of years, but at one time we were pretty good friends. He is an amazing athlete and has similar physical qualities to Shane. I introduced the two about six years ago when Brock was in Greeley with me training at a gym with me. They had several common wrestling opponents in college and spoke briefly. Amazing that they would be squaring off in the Octagon six years later for the heavyweight title. It’s going to be a great fight. Both I’m sure will be ready to go. Shane has been training very hard and has come a long way since he started training with me. He is a well rounded fighter and has skills in every position. It will be a fight where whoever plays their cards right will win. It’s not a one-sided fight. It will be an explosive one where anything can happen.
PROMMA.INFO: I know this is an MMA Interview but I am a huge pro wrestling fan too so I got to ask, who is the better amateur wrestler Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar? I heard that Kurt got the better of Brock one time when they rolled.
RON WATERMAN: I never saw the two wrestle. I would have to give Brock the edge. He’s the one who’s much bigger and explosive than Kurt. Kurt was always a good and classy guy when I was around him.
PROMMA.INFO: You were fighting in PRIDE around the time Fedor first started dominating that organization. Were you ever offered a fight with him and do you think he is the best heavyweight out there?
RON WATERMAN: There have been talks about it, but never a contract. I was supposed to fight him in PRIDE and again just a few months ago I was one of the fighters that was considered before the event was cancelled. I would love to see him against Shane or Brock. It would be a much different fight than he has ever had and I think much more difficult.
PROMMA.INFO: You are an ordained minister in the Christian faith who was a member of Team Impact Ministries who share their faith by doing impressive feats of strength. Are you still a member and do you travel with them still?
RON WATERMAN: I am doing this Interview as I am on a trip with Team Impact in North Carolina. I’m not full time with them as I have been in the last five years but I do still travel with them at least one week a month. It’s an amazing opportunity for me and a blessing to get to use my background to tell others about Jesus. I would do it full time but I just can’t miss my boys’ sporting events through High School. You only get one chance at that.
PROMMA.INFO: You are also a motivational speaker who goes to schools around the nation to speak. What is your message to students you speak to?
RON WATERMAN: I have different messages for different age groups so my school assemblies are age appropriate. In all schools I share my story and the obstacles and challenges I had to overcome to find success in my life. In High School I faced more serious issues like peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, moral dilemmas, academic excellence, and abstinence. Real life examples are part of my story and message. My grandfather was killed by a drunk driver so it’s a subject that is close to my heart and one I want students to hear. If I can get just one student to change a destructive path they are on, I have done my job. I hope to do more public school assemblies in the future, it’s so rewarding for me.
PROMMA.INFO: Thank you Ron for taking time out to speak with PROMMA.INFO. Are there any shout out’s or thank you’s you would like to give?
RON WATERMAN: I always like to promote my fight manager Phyliss Lee who has been with me from the start of my career. Also need to thank ISS Research for being a great supplement sponsor for me over the last eight years! You can stay on top of my career at www.ronwaterman.com and www.team-impact.com. If you would like information about booking me for any speaking opportunities you can call 970-978-6205.
PROMMA.INFO: Thank you Ron.
RON WATERMAN: Thank you Dusty
By: Dusty Adams