PRO MMA exclusive interview: Rex Richards (part 2)

Last week we brought you PART 1 of our two-part PRO MMA (http://promma.info) exclusive interview with former Indianapolis Colts NFL linebacker turned pro MMA fighter, Rex Richards.

Rex has fought in Strikefore, King of the Cage, and the Art of War organizations. In part two, we learn where Rex will have his next bout as well as what he needs to do to achieve his goal of fighting in the UFC.  He discusses how he matches up with the current UFC heavyweights, including the only man to ever best him, Shane Carwin.

Rex also  talks about his school in Abilene, Texas and the very competitive sales industry he works in. It has been said, “it’s the age of the super heavyweights” and Rex Richards is helping lead the charge in the evolution of MMA. 

PRO MMA: What’s the name of the organization and where is it?
REX: South Texas Fight League. It’s going to be in Odessa, Texas, out here in the sticks.

PRO MMA: I’ve heard the UFC scouts have expressed interest in you. Did they speak directly to you or your management?
REX: Yeah, that’s what they said. They talked to my management. I don’t ever speak specifically to any organization I fight for.

PRO MMA: Do you know what they had to say?
REX: “Keep up the good work.” Obviously they want to see me fight at heavyweight at least once before they sign me. So the minute I heard that I got on the treadmill, changed the diet, and no longer want to be top ten in the world at super heavyweight and only fight a few times a year. Being top ten in the world at anything should seem like a big deal but being top ten in the world at super heavyweight doesn’t make me feel like a legitimate fighter so being top ten in the world at the real heavyweight is something I’m aiming for.

PRO MMA: When is the last time you were at 265 lbs?
REX: 17 years-old. That goes back to the difference in MMA and football training. In MMA you want to get as light as you can so you can be the strongest guy in your weight class and football, ya know, I got up to 345 lbs. I could still run a 4.9 – 40 at that, I was still very fast. You wanna have the power, you wanna have the pop.

PRO MMA: What weight do you walk around at now?
REX: My goal by February is to be walking around at 280 lbs. and then I’m supposed to fight again in April for a company called Shark Fights and that’s going to be my first heavyweight fight.

PRO MMA: Have you ever had experience with cutting weight and how do you plan to approach that?
REX: I’ve practiced it several times to see how it would feel because this isn’t a wrestling part of the country, it’s football. So we go the other way, we wanna be heavy. I’ve done the pro sports. I’ve got the determination. Some of the things that bothers other first time fighters on big shows won’t be there. I’ve competed in front of millions. I know how to compete professionally. I know how to have composure when times are tough. The only thing we’re gonna have to see is how much weight I want to cut. Cause if I’m walking around at 280 lbs., for a guy that’s 6’5″ is nothing, ya know. It’ll be nothing.

PRO MMA: Where are you doing the majority of your training?
REX: I’m doing it at my school here in Abilene, Texas. But if I get blessed with the opportunity to fight for the UFC, I’m going to go try a couple of camps out. I want to do it legitimate.

PRO MMA: It’s your school?
REX: Yeah, it’s mine and a guy named Jeremy Henderson.

PRO MMA: What’s the name of your school?
REX: Gracie Barra Abilene.

PRO MMA: You have a 7-1 record in professional MMA competition with your only loss being to UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin. What is your opinion of Carwin and do you think he could be a UFC champion? (would you like to fight him again some day?)
REX: I’m one of his biggest fans. Before I die that is one of the fights I have to get back. At the time I think we were both great fighters and still are. I hadn’t had any training with a cage and we were fighting and the fight was going pretty good and he put me in a guillotine and I’ve never had any issues getting out of a guillotine before, it’s usually a fairly simple submission to get out of but I had never fought off a cage with it so I got stuck with it. The best guys in the world lose. I really think Shane Carwin is going to be a big wig in the UFC. He’s gonna be…he is a monster and I can’t wait to get back in there and get that fight back.

PRO MMA: How do you think you match up with the current UFC heavyweights? (what do you think of Brock, etc.?)
REX: I think in the in two years Brock Lesnar is going to be hard to deal with. Right now he’s just a big monster. He’s the champ and you gotta respect him but I think in two years when he’s got something besides wrestling and he really starts working on the submission game and really starts working on the muay thai game besides just throwing heavy bombs, but really working his strikes, he could potentially be a future Hall of Famer. If he’s satisfied with where he is now, he’s going to lose and he’s going to lose a lot. I think Frank Mir’s got his hands full. Brock’s an athlete. He’s a big big monster and he’s not sloppy. I think I’m going to do well in the UFC. They need big explosive heavyweights that are multi-talented. The sport’s grown to far to just have a striker or a wrestler. They want guys that can do it all and I think that’s what I bring to the table. I’ve got years and years of muay thai, I’m getting close to my Gracie Barra black belt, and I’m a natural athlete. I think I’ll be a pretty good fit for that company.

PRO MMA: It’s going to be interesting if Fedor ever gets matched up with some of these big athletic guys like yourself and Brock and Carwin.
REX: I think guys like me, Brock, and Carwin are going to change the heavyweight weakness that has been out there. It’s kind of been over the years just big guys that were martial artists there whole lives ya know. There’s nothing wrong with that but now you’re gonna have guys that were pro athletes, their bodies are very powerful and they are really working on their technique will be the future of the UFC and the future of MMA period. That’s where people are going to want to be. It’s already getting viewed more than professeional baseball, basketball, golf, you know. This is the sport to be in right now. I retired from a successful football career because it’s time, I could see it coming.

PRO MMA: As Rogan said in a recent broadcast, “It’s the age of the super heavyweight.” The 225, 230 lbs. heavyweights aren’t going to be able to compete with these guys, I don’t think.
REX: No. I don’t think so because size does matter. You get with somebody that’s got fifty more pounds behind each punch, how long can you survive?

PRO MMA: You think eventually they will have to put another weight class in there?
REX: I think so. I think so cause you’ve got some of these guys that can’t make 205 lbs. but can’t get above 240 lbs. so there’s really not going to be a career for some of those guys down the road. It’s gonna be tough fights ya know. If you look at Brock Lesnar there’s probably not a lot of guys out there 230 lbs. who can handle just his rush you know?

PRO MMA: I understand you are a medical sales rep. What is that like, I have heard that is a very competitive business?
REX: It’s very competitive. It kind of feeds my…the problem with me being in competitive sales with me being a fighter, I kind of just want to kick the other guys’ asses. I haven’t beat up another medical rep yet, but things are getting close. It’s fun. The cool thing about being a medical rep as opposed to a pharmaceutical rep is you’re in there watching the spine surgeries go on. You get to learn how everything works, where they put the medical screws and things like that, it’s pretty cool.

PRO MMA: Would you like to get to the point where you could make a nice living fighting full time and not have to work the day job?
REX: No that is not a dream, that is a reality and I’m gonna do it. I love medical sales but I like fighting a lot more. Either way will give you a pretty nice life but I like coaching. I like going in my MMA gym and showing my guys it works. I want to be the UFC Heavyweight Champion. I want guys in my position right now to look at my picture in the magazine and say, “I can kick this guy’s ass” and all these guys are training to beat me because I’m the champion. That’s my goal. That’s what I’m doing right now, I’m training to be the champion.

PRO MMA: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us Rex. I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming fight on February 20th. Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share or anyone you want to thank?
REX: Thank you. I just want to thank all my fans, I’ve got more support than I probably deserve, and my friends and my family, people I talk to online. 2009 is going to be a huge year for me and it starts February 20th with whoever it is I’m fighting.

You can view Rex Richards and Jeremy Henderson’s Gracie Barra Abilene website at www.graciebarraabilene.com or visit Rex’s myspace page at www.myspace.com/rexafl Be sure to go back and read PART 1 of this two-part PRO MMA (http://promma.info) exclusive interview with Rex Richards.

By: Jack Bratcher

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