Dave “Pee Wee” Herman is a freak. He is not right. He’s the type of guy who does flips off of cliffs. He’s the type of guy to knock his opponent out with a heel smash when they try to kneebar him. He’s the type of guy to knock out 14 opponents and then decide one day he wants to win by omoplata.
He’s the type of guy who after 22 fights, has been to a decision once. He’s the type of guy who only started really training MMA after his 16th fight, which incidentally was his first, and only “real” loss.
Like I said before, he’s a freak.
After leaving a trail of heavyweight rubble the past couple of years through such promotions as Elite XC, Sengoku and Bellator, the UFC recently decided to add the 26-year-old, 6-foot 5-inch “Pee Wee” to their roster.
ProMMAnow.com‘s (www.prommanow.com) Jack Bratcher spoke with Herman (20-2) on Thursday about his signing with the UFC and to get his thoughts on Rob Broughton, the opponent he will face in his debut on June 11 at UFC 131 in Vancouver, Canada.
Herman also talked about his new camp, new manager, his motivation for fighting and even a little philosophy.
PRO MMA NOW: Your last fight was in Sengoku with “Kiss” Nakao. What is going on over there in Japan and why is everyone leaving?
DAVE HERMAN: I’m not sure, as far as I know they’re still having fights. I just kind of wanted to get back to fighting in the U.S. and pretty much to be in a contract with the UFC you can’t be under contract with anyone else. So that was why I left. If I could do both, I happily would’ve.
PRO MMA NOW: Did signing with the UFC come sooner in your career than you expected or about as you expected?
DAVE HERMAN: Well, I didn’t really have a choice. I’ve been kind of busy and had stuff going on for the last year-and-a-half so I didn’t really have a chance even if I wanted to until now. But, I’m not really disappointed about it. It gave me a little bit of extra time to get better. I still haven’t been training that long, actually it’s now starting to look like I’m a real fighter.
PRO MMA NOW: I talked with you right before you were leaving to Japan and you said you were going to celebrate New Year’s there. What was that like?
DAVE HERMAN: It was a lot of fun. Actually we went to the DREAM show on New Year’s which was pretty cool. We didn’t even make it to the bars until like 12:30 a.m. or 1:00 a.m. And it seemed like we were there for an hour or two and walked outside and the sun was up. So I don’t know. We literally got an extra hotel room, threw our bags in it, left, came back, picked up our bags and went to the airport. I don’t even know why we got a room.
PRO MMA NOW: You’ve got a new manager now, Shu Hirata, how did you hook up with him?
DAVE HERMAN: I’ve been working with Shu since my first fight in Japan. But just for Japan. I really liked everything he’s done for me, get along with him well, he’s a good guy. And I’ve been looking for a new manager for probably about nine months now, kind of in the market, looked at all my options and think he was my best choice so that’s what I went with.
PRO MMA NOW: When did you realize that you might sign with the UFC and how did that come about?
DAVE HERMAN: Shu was talking to them. I think it was like January or something, I don’t really remember. He contacted them and I guess they were interested so… great.
PRO MMA NOW: You were training in Nashville, then you were moving around a bit. Have you settled down in one place yet?
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah, I’m in Temecula, California working out with Team Quest.
PRO MMA NOW: Okay, how’s that going and who are you working with out there?
DAVE HERMAN: I really like it. Actually, I’ve been working out with like Sokoudjou and Dan [Henderson], and a bunch of other guys. It’s pretty nice. The weather has been really great so far. Definitely could get used to this.
PRO MMA NOW: So you think you’re going to stay out there for awhile?
DAVE HERMAN: That’s the plan.
PRO MMA NOW: Alright. Sounds good. How big of a deal is this for you, has it been a dream of yours to one day fight in the UFC?
DAVE HERMAN: I think that’s kind of… the UFC’s the biggest promotion out there, so basically that’s the end goal no matter where if you want to keep stepping forward. But I don’t know, I’m not really that concerned. Just want to keep fighting, working. The UFC’s pretty great and they definitely have the market cornered with the most publicity, put on the best fights. They’ve got the most known fighters. You can’t really compete with that.
PRO MMA NOW: Do you feel comfortable at that level? You’ve had a lot of fights, but do you personally feel confident you will be able to compete with the guys there?
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah, to me it’s all about the same. I probably won’t approach it any different than if I just showed up drunk at a smoky bar and I’m fighting some guy for $500 bucks.
PRO MMA NOW: Do you think being in the UFC will give you more motivation to work and train harder?
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah for sure. There’s a little more on the line, a little more reason to work hard. Plus, the UFC does have great bonuses if you do do well; one more reason to work a little extra hard.
PRO MMA NOW: Yeah, some of those knockouts you’ve had probably would have earned you a big bonus there.
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah hopefully. Maybe I can get some more.
PRO MMA NOW: You have a quote that I think is really funny that says, “Hard work is the crutch of the talentless.” Where did you get that?
DAVE HERMAN: It’s actually from a TV show, East Bound and Down.
PRO MMA NOW: Alright. Well, let’s be honest, you have kind of developed a reputation as someone who might not love to train or who maybe doesn’t take it as seriously as some people would like you to. What are your thoughts on that?
DAVE HERMAN: I mean, I just like to have fun. Is training and practice the first thing I would like to do? No, it’s not. Sorry I’m honest. There’s tons of things I’d rather be doing. But at the same time, it’s not that bad.
PRO MMA NOW: Well, it has been working for you so far.
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah, why fix it if it’s not broken? That’s probably why I started training though. After I lost my first fight I was like “Aww crap, I’m actually going to have to s tart working out. This is gonna be terrible.” But, it’s not that bad.
PRO MMA NOW: What would you say is your main motivation for fighting?
DAVE HERMAN: Uh, not having a real job.
PRO MMA NOW: Yeah? So, make enough money so you don’t have to do the 9-to-5 thing?
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah, basically. It’s a job sort of, but I don’t feel like I’m really working.
PRO MMA NOW: That’s exactly my motivation too, so I can relate to that.
DAVE HERMAN: If you love your job, then you’ll never work a day in your life.
PRO MMA NOW: That’s it man.
DAVE HERMAN: I don’t feel like I’ve worked yet.
PRO MMA NOW: That’s awesome. So, you’re making your UFC debut at UFC 131 on June 11 against Rob Broughton in Canada. What are your thoughts about Broughton and how much do you know about him?
DAVE HERMAN: I don’t actually know that much about him. I know he’s from England. I’ve been told he’s kind of a brawler which is cool, that should make for a more exciting fight I think. But other than that, I haven’t really looked up anything on him yet.
PRO MMA NOW: You’ve got a little bit of time.
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah, people are like, “Are you excited for your fight?” I’m like, “It’s not until June. How am I supposed to get excited for that right now?”
PRO MMA NOW: Are you somebody that likes to watch tape? Do you think you’ll study him on Youtube?
DAVE HERMAN: I’ve never really actually watched tape. My last ever how many fights I don’t think I’ve watched any tape on the guys. Usually like a buddy or somebody will and they’ll tell me or whatever.
PRO MMA NOW: Are you a fan of the sport? Do you keep up with it and watch what’s going on and stuff?
DAVE HERMAN: A little bit, but not probably that much. Most of the time, it’s like Saturday and they’re like, “There’s fights on tonight.” I’m like, “There are? Sweet. Who’s fighting? I just didn’t know.” But, at the same time, I haven’t had TV in like three or four years. So I never really know what’s going on.
PRO MMA NOW: Do you keep up with the UFC heavyweight division? Do you know any guys in there you might like to match-up with?
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah usually if there are some name heavyweights fighting I will usually try to watch just to get try and get an idea of what other guys are doing. But nobody really I want to fight. Anybody’s fine. I’ll probably end up fighting them all eventually. The order doesn’t really matter.
PRO MMA NOW: Have you thought about what it will be like going out into the Octagon for the first time; you’ve had a lot of fights but do you think you may have any nerves or first time jitters to deal with?
DAVE HERMAN: Not any more than normal.
PRO MMA NOW: Thanks for talking with us Dave, is there anyone you want to thank?
DAVE HERMAN: Yeah I’d like to thank Team Quest for having me out. I’ve been enjoying training there so far and looking forward to a lot of good things to come.