Benji Radach is on cloud nine following the biggest win of his career this past weekend on CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights over Murilo “Ninja” Rua. Stepping out of the ashes of a career that has been riddled with injuries and setbacks, it is hard to blame him. The fight was a wild back and forth affair that saw both men hit the canvas before Radach was able to capitalize on a mistake made by Ninja to earn himself the knockout victory.
Radach seems to have turned a new page in his promising career and with all the attention that comes from such a high profile win, the sky is the limit for Benji right now. Wasting no time in figuring out who his next opponent will be, Benji has confirmed with PRO MMA that the next fight on his quest for EliteXC championship gold will most likely be against Scott Smith in February with the winner to face whoever survives the upcoming clash between Robbie Lawler vs. Joey Villasenor.
PRO MMA: First of all, congratulations on your big win over Ninja this past weekend! How are you feeling right now physically? Are you nursing any injuries from the fight?
Benji: My wrist is pretty sore but other than that everything’s pretty good. I’m feeling pretty solid, you know, I didn’t take too much abuse. I have a couple lumps on the back of my head from when he was elbowing me when I was on top of him. I’m feeling pretty good though considering how tough of a fight it was.
PRO MMA: That was a crazy fight man! Did things play out like you expected?
Benji: You know I knew it was going to be a tough fight but I didn’t expect to have the best fight of my life and really I couldn’t have picked a better time to have the best fight of my life. Man, I’ll tell you what, Ninja is a tough, tough dude. He was so tough I couldn’t believe it. I was hitting him hard and he was coming right back. I’d have him staggered and I would try to finish up with a shot and I would miss him and he would have his bearings back that quick, you know, and it was just like “Wow!” he was a tough dude.
PRO MMA: Have you had a chance to go back and watch the tape from the fight and if so what are your thoughts on your performance?
Benji: I haven’t really had a chance to dissect it. I was just starting to watch it here when you called but I watched the end of it. I’m just really happy. I’m on cloud nine right now because of how good the fight was and how intensely we threw down that first round. I remember thinking to myself, man, “Is this still the first round?”. I mean it was getting close to the end and I was thinking “You’ve gotta be kidding me!”, you know, because I threw so many power shots, every punch was just 100% and I threw so much that in the second round I had to kind of sit back and let him dictate the pace for a little bit so I could get my breath back because I really threw it all down in the first round. I had to really sit back and kind of chill out and regain some strength so I could come back and win the end of the round. So I just let him dictate the pace and he started throwing those flying knees and I could see his mind working because he started setting it up and I knew I couldn’t take too many of those and it just worked out awesome. He slipped or I hit him or something and put him on his back and those last three shots were just hammers. You know it was a really tough fight I was really happy with it. There was a couple things that I could have done differently but the fact that it was on CBS and everything I wouldn’t want to change a thing because it was such a bad ass exciting fight.
PRO MMA: Yeah that fight was great for EliteXC, great for the sport, obviously for yourself and Ninja as well. Sure he lost the fight but he put on a great show and that’s what the people want to see.
Benji: Yeah it was great for him. He was tough! He was in great shape and he looked better than he’s ever been. They say he trained harder for this fight than ever before and I believe it because I hammered him and he would just come back. I mean punches that would have ended other fights, you know, where a lot of people would have been hitting the deck, he was just eating them and he would come back fast. He was just really tough that night. I had to work really hard and I put everything I had into that win. It was a big win for me for a lot of reasons. One is the fact that I took that fight on five weeks notice. It was just a big opportunity so I got some good training in with Mo Lawal and just got it all together and everything just worked out perfect. I really did a lot of different things with my training. I balanced things out differently like just getting my rest and getting my recovery time and it really paid off.
PRO MMA: At one point it looked like you guys were both partially out of it in the first round before you regained your senses. Were you truly rocked or just off balance?
Benji: Yeah, I just saw that and it looks like right before the camera changes he was throwing something and I think he caught me with something. It looks like we caught each other and we both fell. From watching the video it looks like I was hurt and he was hurt too so it looked like we were both out on our feet. It was like a double flash knockout and it looked like I came to just a little bit sooner than he did. It was amazing (laughter), that was crazy!
PRO MMA: Would you say this was your toughest fight to date?
Benji: I would say this was definitely my toughest fight to date for sure. You know I’ve fought a lot of tough guys but he was just tough. I can’t say that enough about him. He earned my respect ten fold, for sure.
PRO MMA: Maybe it would be a possibility that you guys can do some training together later on down the road.
Benji: Yeah, that would be cool. I’d enjoy that for sure. You know, he does a great job of trying to intimidate you before the match but I think it makes me fight better. I don’t think his intimidation worked for him in my case. I get scared and full of energy. I get scared and pissed off and I can direct my energy really well. He definitely had me a little nervous and ready to go in this fight. He’s a dangerous dude.
PRO MMA: Have you heard anything about your next opponent? Are you hoping for a shot at Lawler after such a big win?
Benji: I’m down for whatever. I’m want to fight the best guys and that’s what I’m doing. Everything’s great. I’m really happy and whatever EliteXC wants me to do I’m cool with. It sounds like they may want me to fight Scott Smith next and go on from there. So I’ll be fighting Scott Smith in February and the winner of us will be fighting the winner of Robbie Lawler/Joey Villesanor.
PRO MMA: Well Scott Smith, that will be another crazy fight, both of you guys love to stand and bang.
PRO MMA: How good does it feel to step out of the ashes from the Horwich defeat, a terrible string of injuries and a year’s layoff and right back into the limelight?
Benji: It’s incredible. I’m really on cloud nine. I’m just so happy and really just blown away by everything. It was just the perfect timing and I couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to fight on CBS. I’ve just got so many calls from friends and the people who saw it and it was just really huge for me. I read on the Underground and they’re saying mostly good things about it. You know there’s always shit talkers out there and it seems like mostly guys are saying good things about it so it’s really cool.
PRO MMA: Have you heard anything else about MMA Agents possibly obtaining the right to the aborted robbery video where you play the role of the hero?
Benji: You know what, I just talked to CBS today and they’re really trying to get it. It just seems like if it’s out there they should cough it up. It’s just such a great thing for the sport. Society today is so nuts and to have someone do something that’s good is a cool thing.
PRO MMA: Hey Benji, thanks so much for your time man. Any sponsors you wanna give a shout out to before I let you go?
Benji: Yeah definitely Tapout, for sure! I had a big list but I don’t have it with me right now so a big shout out to Tapout! They pulled through at the last second and hooked me up and also thanks as always to MMA Agents.
PRO MMA: Alright man well thanks for your time and take care.
Benji: Alright thanks brother.